For Bassmaster Elite Series pro Cliff Crochet, summertime fishing conjures up images of time out on the water as a youngster, making both early-morning and late-afternoon trips, and learning to throw a buzzbait with some parental input.
Despite the heat and blanket of humidity about to settle over the state for the better part of the next five months, it’s obvious Crochet, who hails from Pierre Part, still holds summertime fishing in high regard — and throwing topwater lures is his absolute favorite.
“There are certain things you look forward to every year, like when fish start spawning or you get that good spinnerbait bite in the fall. But summer topwater fishing is special,” he said. “Think about how many people go to the camp, get up super-early, make a morning trip until about 9:30, then come back and take a shower, chill out inside while it’s 400 degrees, then leave the camp again at 5 and go make an afternoon trip .…
“That’s what I like to do with my buddies around the house.”
The Cajun Baby offered up his Top 3 summertime bass lures, and it’s not surprising two of the three are topwaters:
1. Bill Lewis Outdoors StutterStep
Not much matches the excitement of a big topwater blowup, and Crochet said this lure is one of his go-to options on a typical summertime trip.
“I throw it a whole lot in the morning,” said Crochet, who named the silver surfer color as his favorite. “You can catch topwater fish all day long, but generally speaking that window is so small in the morning — that’s when the water temperature is the coolest.”
And yes, cloudy days are better for topwater action, he said.
“Any time you get a change in the weather it helps, but especially during the summer when you get some decent temperatures if it’s overcast and those fish roam a little bit — that can be the best days.”
2. Santone Lures Lake Fork Braid Buzzbait
“The reason I like this one is everything is beefed up,” Crochet said. “It’s got a real good quality hook — this one’s real sharp, real stout and has a bait keeper on the shank.”
A buzzbait is one of the best reaction baits ever, he said.
“The topwater is a stop-and-go retrieve for the most part,” Crochet explained. “But a buzzbait is a steady retrieve — there’s so much going on, so much commotion, it’s the perfect storm.”
He especially likes throwing one over grass, but said retrieve speed is key for buzzbait fishing.
“That first retrieve is as slow as you can retrieve it while keeping it on top the water,” he said. “The first two or three times might be a super-slow retrieve, and the next cast might be a little faster.
“Use different retrieves until you see some type of result.”
His favorite color is black, and he throws the lure using 50-pound Seaguar braid.
3. Luck-E-Strike Ringmaster
Crochet’s punching rig is a Duce Echo 7-foot, 6-inch medium-heavy rod rigged up with 65-pound Seaguar Flippin’ Braid, and he pegs a 1 ½-ounce tungsten weight to keep the creature bait buttoned up. His two favorite colors are black and blue, and green pumpkin.
What he’s looking for when punching is anything different that stands out.
“Anywhere in the state or anywhere in the world, I’m looking for irregularities,” he said. “You might be punching deep grass in Toledo Bend or shallow grass in the Basin: Look for differences in the type of grass, points of grass, pockets of grass or soft spots in the grass. Those are the types of things to keep an eye out for.”