How to choose topwater lure cover picture - Bozles stickbait in flyfish pattern

Topwater Success: The Lure Tactics


The thrill of a sea surface explosion, the sight of a fish taking your lure in a heart-stopping strike – topwater fishing brings a unique excitement to the angler's experience. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or just taking your first steps into this exhilarating world, New Zealand's waters offer ample opportunities to test your skills. But before you cast your line, let's dive into some essential tips to maximize your success - How to select the topwater lures?

Choose Topwater Lure Color

If dirty water, low light condition, brighter lures, or glow might stand out, while clearer waters might favor natural presentations. 

Topwater lure color might only do 10% of work of attracting the fish. Choose  the color to meet your aesthetics to suit the condition.

A grey topwater lure sitting on a sandy beach

Match the Hatch

Imagine a hungry fish! Choose lures that match the local buffet, like the slender pilchard or darting piper. Mimicking these tasty treats can seriously boost your catches.

The piper-shaped lure is a top dog for a reason! Its resemblance to the shore-loving piper makes it a predator magnet. Plus, structures near the shore are piper hotspots, increasing your strike odds.

So, ditch the generic lures and think local. This small step can lead to a BIG difference in your fishing success!

Offshore topwater casting throws down with bulky baits, designed to sound the alarm from afar. Imagine a kingfish cruising the vast blue, suddenly lured by the roar of a popper or the splash of a giant stickbait. It's an invitation they can't resist, drawing them in for an epic surface battle. So grab the heavy tackle, because when you go big offshore, the only thing bigger is the thrill of the catch!

Master the Retrieve

Don't just cast and forget it! The way you move your lure is crucial. For poppers, create a spitting commotion with sharp pops and pauses. Stickbaits come alive with erratic jerks and twitches, while pencil baits and poppers excel in the "walking the dog" technique, mimicking a frantic escape. Remember, a varied retrieve keeps predators engaged and guessing.

List of Best Retrieves Regarding to Types of Topwater Lures

Floating Stickbait

Walk the dog actions, a rhythmic series of short rod twitches, making the lure zig-zag across the surface in a way that mimics a fleeing or injured baitfish.

Fish Trippers Village Le Grand Tango 190 Floating Stickbait

Sinking Stickbait

Retrieving and Pause, begin reeling at a moderate speed, can be a continuous retrieve or a series of movements. Then, the pause, The most crucial element! Pause your retrieve for a few seconds (the length can vary). This creates the illusion of an injured or disoriented baitfish. A lot of time, predator fish strikes while lure pausing or just starting swim again.

Sinking Stickbait Little Jack Sayoris 182 on A Rock

Bubble Popper

Long Sweeps, Long, slow sweeps of the rod tip to give the popper a wide, gliding motion. It imitates a larger, healthy baitfish moving with less urgency. Most of the bubble maker poppers are much quieter than the big cup face popper. The bubble trail acts like a scent trail under water surface, leading predators to your lure from a greater distance by seeing and most importantly by feeling the bubbles pop. Hence, maintain a moderate pace to keep the bubble trail consistent is the key to success using this method.

KIKUCHI M. CRAFT Bubble Swimmer 180 in grey and blue colours

Cup Face Popper

The sharp twitch and pause technique for poppers works by imitating an injured fish, attracting predators and triggering their instincts. Short, sharp twitches of the rod make the popper splash and send out sound cues, drawing fish in. Pauses after these twitches create the impression of a weak, vulnerable target, often enticing hesitant fish into striking. This technique appeals to a predator's hearing, and their sense of prey vulnerability, making it highly effective for catching fish with poppers.

Atlantis Funky Soda 200 Flame Edition

These are classic retrieving actions for each type of lure, but they're just a starting point. As you gain experience on the water, you'll discover new and even more effective tactics to entice those big strikes


Topwater fishing in New Zealand presents an exhilarating way to experience the thrill of the catch. Remember, the key to success lies in understanding fish behavior and adapting your strategies accordingly. Choose topwater lure colors wisely, imitate the local baitfish, and inject personality into every retrieve. Whether you're battling piper-hungry predators near the shore or tempting kingfish with monstrous offshore presentations, topwater fishing promises heart-stopping action under the New Zealand sun. So get out there, hone your skills, and let the explosive strikes begin!

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