Topwater Lures for Sea Trout
By Sam White
Using topwater lures to fish for spotted seatrout is hands down one of the most exciting ways
to target these speckled golden beauties. This one’s all about the bite, and they can be
downright explosive. A bonus: Topwater fish tend to be on the larger size as well. Knowing the
right conditions and having a selection of the right lures is key to success though.
In topwater fishing, the early bird gets the worm but don’t feel bad if you’re not an early
riser—the late bite just before and right after the sun sets can be good as well. Why? Only the
fish know for sure but it’s those calm, still conditions that are perfect for working a topwater
lure along an oyster bar, the edge of a grass flat or around a rocky jetty. As seen from below,
the lure presents an attractive silhouette for the fish to home in on, rather than being lost in a
lot of wind chop and other noise as it would be in windy or rough conditions. Plus, several of
the lures here have rattles, which can increase the attractive range of the plug by quite a bit.
Big trout rely on all their senses when feeding actively, and sound is a uniquely important one.
Their sensitive lateral line is another, allowing them to sense the vibrations of a crippled
baitfish—or a topwater imitation—from a distance well beyond visual range. Only as the trout
approaches does its keen eyesight take over. Here are five favorites that will keep you in the
bite all season long.
Halco Roosta Popper 105
The ultra-versatile Halco Roosta Popper.
Rear-weighted and long-casting, this winner from Halco weighs 1 1/3 ounces and is designed to
be a very versatile lure. By holding the rodtip at different heights, the angler can adjust the
retrieve. Hold it low and the lure produces more of a swimming action, with an enticing bubble
trail. A medium height gives it more of a classic popping retrieve, while a high tip gives it a
skittering action. Mix the retrieves with hard twitches to give it a stop-and-go motion, and be
ready, as big trout nearly always smash it on the pause. The classic red head/white body has
been a favorite with trout anglers for decades.
MirroLure Surface Walker 87 MR 21
MirroLure has been producing top trout lures for decades.
The name MirroLure is synonymous with some of the most popular spotted seatrout lures on
the planet, so it’s no surprise that their topwaters are known producers of big fish as well. The
Surface Walker has a semi-cupped face that enables an angler to create a pattern known as
walking the dog. By gently twitching the rod tip during the retrieve, the Surface Walker will dart
from side to side in a zigzag pattern that big fish find impossible to resist. It also has an internal
rattle to call in fish from a distance. The dark back and silver sides is a dead ringer for a finger
mullet, a trout’s favorite forage foods.
Heddon Original Zara Spook
When it comes to taking big trout, nearly every serious angler has a Zara Spook in their arsenal.
Since before the turn of the century, Heddon has been producing some of the finest hard baits
in fishing. When it comes to taking big trout, nearly every serious angler has a Zara Spook in their arsenal. This simple cigar-shaped cylinder has the line attachment point below centerline; when combined with a slack-line rod tip twitch, the lure darts enticingly in that walk-the-dog action that produces bites. Just be sure the line comes tight before setting the hook or you risk pulling the lure away from a fish on the strike. The all-chrome version picks up and reflects the light while also offering an amazing silhouette from below.
Bomber Badonk-A-Donk BSWDTL3
Fish the Badonk-A-Donk around mangroves and in off-color water.
Another rear-weighted beauty, the Badonk-A-Donk is acoustically tuned to produce a fish-
producing rattle in two frequency ranges: Low pitch for calm days and clear water, and high
pitch, for bumpier conditions in off-color water. For topwater, the low-pitch version is a go-to
lure, with a shape reminiscent of a small menhaden or shad. The off-white coloration with a
touch of color is also great for fishing in areas where scaled sardines are present.
Yo-Zuri Topknock Pencil
Yo-Zuri’s amazing 3-D finish.
This four-inch favorite from top luremaker Yo-Zuri has one of the coolest finishes on any
lure—a three-dimensional holographic prism created by the insert as well as the clear shape of
the lure itself. It’s keel-weighted with a rattle so it casts long with accuracy and produces fish-
attracting clicks with every twitch of the rod tip. There’s a slight cup in the nose with the line
attachment eyelet just below horizontal, so that side-to-side walk the dog action is definitely on
the menu. The silver-and-green color combination screams finger mullet, too.