There are a variety of prop topwater lures on the market and most of them have one thing in common – a subtle presentation. Compared to walking-type topwater baits, poppers, buzzbaits and everything in between, prop baits are the tamest of the bunch.
The props create just enough commotion to get a finicky bass’ attention, but they aren't as overwhelming as a buzzbait. Their slender minnow-like profile is neutral, and they're a good option when fish aren't as aggressive.
A prop bait tends to shine during the prespawn and spawn periods when the water is cooler. During the prespawn, a couple of twitches and a long pause seems to work extremely well. During the spawn, subtle twitches with long pauses right on top of the bed drive bass crazy.
Don't rule this lure out when the water gets hot, though. Prop baits still work well during the summer months, especially on high pressure flat-water days. On days like these, I like to fish prop baits over grass or adjacent to docks. A couple of fast twitches and long pauses cause lethargic bass to bite, and the strikes are often violent.
Sluggo Soft Plastic
This was one of the first fluke-style baits on the market, and was what made the presentation popular. Compared to the plastics available today, the Sluggo is somewhere between a Senko-type worm and fluke.
I tend to fish a Sluggo weightless like I would a Senko or fluke. A couple of twitches will cause the bait to walk much like a fluke does, and it sinks with an enticing wobbling action like a Senko does.
I like to fish a fluke fast with short pauses. However, there are times when bass want a prolonged pause and this is where the Sluggo shines. A couple of short twitches followed by a long pause makes the Sluggo emulate a dying or injured baitfish.
If you're targeting schooling fish chasing shad and a fluke or walking bait isn't working, make sure you tie on a Sluggo. They've caught fish for me when other presentations do not. Given there are so many other options available, the Sluggo also gives the fish a look they've likely not seen in a while.
The Beetle Spin holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first artificial lures I ever caught a fish with. It's certainly old school and for one reason or another, easy to forget about.
Many fishermen in the Midwest still use this presentation to catch finicky bass. A presentation called the Ned Rig has mostly taken its place but there are times when a Beetle Spin shines over its counterpart.
When the water is stained or muddy, a black and chartreuse Beetle Spin works better than the Ned Rig given the Colorado blade provides vibration and flash. If I'm fishing a lake where conditions are tough and the water is not clear, the Beetle Spin gets the nod.
A simple steady retrieve on finesse tackle, fished just above the bottom is all it takes to catch lethargic bass. It can be difficult to detect a strike fishing the beetle spin. There is nothing bone jarring about the bite; the lure simply gets mushy. Try to get accustomed to what the lure feels like when retrieving it. If you feel something different, you're probably getting a bite.