Best Way To Retrieve Topwater Lures On A Kayak (Video)

Come out on top with these expert tips

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Topwater lures are exciting and fun to fish with, working across the water’s surface to drive fish wild. They can look like children’s toys—often brightly painted to resemble frogs, fish and insects—but retrieving a topwater lure from a kayak is not exactly child’s play. In this video, Tony from the Salt Strong YouTube channel offers tips to walk the dog in style from your fishing kayak.

How to Retrieve a Topwater Lure from a Kayak

A few different factors make it more difficult to retrieve a topwater lure from a fishing kayak. “You’re lower to the surface of the water, so you can’t really work the rod tip down too much, which you would typically do if you were higher up in a boat or even fishing from a shore,” Tony explains. Kayaks are also comparatively cramped and covered in gear that can snag your line as it twitches.

Tony from Salt Strong demonstrates how to retrieve a topwater lure from a kayak
Tony from Salt Strong demonstrates how to retrieve a topwater lure from a kayak. | Image: Salt Strong/YouTube

One useful strategy is to fish with a longer rod that can reach out in front of your boat, past any potential obstructions. More commonly, Tony suggests retrieving from the side of the boat opposite to your rod-holding hand. “If I’m holding the rod with my right hand, I’m going to have the rod to the left and popping the rod that way,” he says.

“Twitch-Twitch-Pause” To Fool The Fish

To get the perfect action on your topwater lure, hold the rod out from your body parallel to the water and bounce the butt against your forearm. “You’re not really using your shoulder, it’s all in the wrist to the elbow,” Tony says as he demonstrates. In calm conditions you can also use what he calls an “upward pop” retrieval, a motion “just like you would be bouncing a jig on the bottom.”

Watch the whole video for more topwater tips, including how to avoid getting a rod butt in the stomach when a fish explodes on your lure.


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