By Jonathan LePera
Special to BassFan
(Editor's note: This is part 2 of an occasional 5-part series about pro anglers' favorite topwater techniques and the details behind them. To read part 1, click here).
Does it walk? Does it spit? What if it does both?
There’s something special about a hybrid topwater bait. Finding one that has a single quality that performs flawlessly is tricky enough, let alone one that incorporates multiple qualities. Elite Series angler Brett Hite believes he’s found a diamond in the rough with the Evergreen Shower Blows.
Why it Works
Anyone who's fished this bait surely appreciates the insane casting distance that can be achieved with minimal effort. That is a definite asset when fishing clear water and needing to get the bait away from the boat or targeting a fish busting on the surface that would be just outside of casting distance for most baits.
There is a large tungsten ball inside the bait that rolls to the rear of the bait on the cast, allowing for easy, long-distance casting.
“It’s obviously a big walking bait, similar to a Super Spook, but it really doesn’t act like it,” Hite said. “It’s skinny in the front and bigger in the back so it’s a little different than a lot of topwaters since it has a cupped lip in the front.”
What is most interesting about the bait is the degree to which it can be walked. In fact, you could probably fish walking it at a 180-degree angle quite easily and walk it in its place if you need to tempt an apprehensive fish.
“It walks really easy whether it is in super-calm water or in a chop,” Hite said. “You can get real aggressive with your twitches and make it throw a lot of water or you can make it act real subtle, too.”
Hite believes the post-spawn to be one of the best times to fish a topwater bait, but the bite will carry through early fall. The bait excels in clear water lakes, like Lake Mead or the Great Lakes and natural lakes up north, as it can call up fish deeper in the water column, even when the water has some chop to it.
“The other nice thing about the bait is it sits very flat in the water, so the hook-up ratio is very good,” Hite said.
The Shower Blows can be a lethal topwater tool, especially on schooling bass.
As well, he noted it is one of the few baits for its size that comes with three hooks and is ready to fish out of the package.
“When they are on it, you’ll catch them all day long,” Hite added.
He doesn’t buy into the “early in the morning or late in the day” logic associated with throwing topwaters. If the bite fizzles out, he’ll use a Senko or a dropshot rig to get the fish fired up again and then he’ll go back to throwing a topwater.
Cadence and Rhythm
Hite always lets the mood of the fish dictate his retrieve. Dead, slick-calm water and high skies often mean that the bass will be less aggressive.
“If I’m just fishing open water it’s a steady rhythm, but if I’m fishing around some sort of structure like a boat dock or a piece of brush, I’m going to pick up the pace,” he said. “When I get to that piece of structure, I’m going to slow it down. But when it is leaving it, I am going to speed it up because bass have the tendency to chase that bait away from it.”
Schooling fish offer yet another great opportunity. Hite looks for chances to fish the bait since it is so simple to get it to walk from side-to-side with a fast or slow cadence. He always works the bait with the rod tip down.
The majority of the time, Hite will have the Shower Blows 125 tied on, but will upsize to the 150 model when bigger fish are feeding heavily or want a bigger bait.
His favorite color choices include bone, translucent colors for clear water, and anything with chartreuse in it. Bluegill patterns can also work well when largemouth are targeting them.
For open water, Hite fishes a 7-foot, 1-inch medium-action Evergreen USA Combat Stick graphite rod that has an action similar to that of a fiberglass crankbait rod.
“The rod has a lot of give so you don’t jerk the bait away from them,” he said.
When fishing heavier cover, he’ll step up to a 7’3” medium-heavy Evergreen Super Triumph model. Both rods sport a parabolic action that absorb the power of surging fish.
He pairs both with a Daiwa Tatula SV casting reel that has a 7.3:1 gear ratio. In clear water, he’ll spool the reel with 30-pound Sunline TX1 braided line and he’ll add a 2-foot length of 20-pound Sunline Super FC Sniper fluorocarbon line as a leader. He scoffs at anglers who protest the use of fluorocarbon leaders for topwaters.
“The line isn’t sinking at the bait, it’s sinking half way back to the boat,” he said.
He will also use Sunline Shooter Defier Armilo Nylon Line as leader material. All of his leaders are joined to the braid with an Alberto knot.