by Angling Times |

Taking predators off the top is a spectacular way to catch perch, pike and even zander, so here are your best options for action...

When it comes to lure fishing there is nothing more electrifying than surface fishing.

Watching your piece of brightly coloured plastic wobble, pop and gyrate its way across the top of the lake before, in the blink of an eye and a flurry of water, it is violently snatched and you find yourself into a hungry predator.

With the water at its warmest, the prey fish are also close to the top and the predators have learned over the years that these unsuspecting fish make for a very easy meal at this time of the year.

Like all branches of lure fishing, lures that are designed to fish ‘on the top’ all have similarities, but each type of lure has slight differences, which means it is either fished/retrieved differently or it ‘fishes’ very differently.

Some are designed to ‘pop’, others jerk from side to side, while some move in an almost snake-like action.

And you never really know which one will be the ‘trigger’ on any particular day.

With this I mind, here is a brief guide to the main types of surface fishing lures.



At first glance these types of lure seem to offer the angler very little. There is no propeller, spinner blade or nose cone to create an ‘action’ in the water.

To get the most out of what is known as a ‘walk the dog’ lure, you need to work the rod tip back and forth while jerking the reel handle in time. It’s a difficult art to master at first but, once mastered, the lure will ‘walk’ across the surface in a pleasing zig-zag motion.

The other downside is that it is tiring on the wrists, but it is a hypnotic way to fish. A true walk the dog lure is best fished in relatively calm conditions, because they are easily knocked off their stride in choppy water.

They can be cast a long way though, so you cover a lot of water quickly and tend to be more effective when fished at a slow to medium pace.



This type of lure is characterised by the concave frontage. This sees it doing ‘what it says on the box’!

As you retrieve this lure, you also flick the rod tip down to exaggerate the movement and create the ‘pop’ as the lure’s concave part pushes the water.

Poppers make varying amounts of noise and disturbance and, as far as surface lures go, they are the most stable in choppier conditions.

Some anglers mistakenly believe that surface lures are to be used only when the conditions are flat calm, but a popper works best if there is a wind on the water and even the occasional white horse.

Its stability and relentless action can help bring the fish up to the surface and the accuracy with which you can fish them really helps to fish tight areas where the predators often lurk.

If the popper does not feel right on the retrieve and is behaving strangely, it has most likely turned over in flight and the trebles have caught your line. Wind in and check – this does happen from time to time.



Frog lures are far from being a new concept. And when it comes to enticing a bite from a hungry predator, they are simply unbeatable at certain times in and around particular features such as lily beds that are natural nursery areas for young frogs.

Loved by pike and perch alike, frog lures can also be particularly effective when looking to target chub.

This one has a hollow body, with the two hooks wrapping around the sides. This makes it weedless, so it is ideal to fish into any areas of heavy vegetation.

To fish a frog lure, you can either jerk it back in a series of hops, making quarter turns of the reel handle before briefly pausing, or twist the rod side to side, so you can fish in a similar way to a ‘walk the dog’ lure.



These unusual looking lures have a quite distinct wing-shaped nose. It is this feature that enables the lure to ‘walk’ and ‘crawl’ across the surface, resembling a distressed fish, frog or rodent.

Fished with a simple retrieve or a slightly jerky movement will see you catching pike, perch and even zander. The walking action makes a very distinct popping noise as it scurries across the top.

A lure like this can even be fished at night, as the combination of the noise, action and the fact its propeller frontage glows in the dark, makes it a very interesting and very often deadly lure.

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