Topwater strikes make anglers’ knees go weak, but the thrill of victory can quickly turn to crushing defeat when monster bass pull off.
And the current trend of using braid with topwaters contributes to those lost fish because of the lack of stretch inherent in the line.
“The line doesn’t stretch, and straight braid to your topwater bait, with those treble hooks, something’s going to give,” said bass pro Brock Mosley said.
Solving that problem is as simple as creating a shock absorber between the main braid and his lures.
“On my Bill Lewis StutterSteps, or any walking bait in general, I’ll put a mono leader on my braid,” Mosley said.
Mosley, who is from Collinsville, uses 50-pound braid to ensure secure hooksets on long casts, but he said that mono leader is vital to preventing him from pulling the lure out of fish’s mouths.
“The mono leader allows the fish not to pull off,” Mosley said.
The danger of losing fish is compounded because of topwater lures’ treble hooks.
“With treble hooks and that much pressure, it’s easy to lose fish,” Mosley explained. “This mono leader cuts down on your losing fish.”
And the leader doesn’t have to be very long — about 12 inches. In fact, Mosley said a long leader can actually be detrimental to success.
“It could be longer — it could be 18 inches, if you wanted,” Mosley said. “You just don’t want it to be too long where it’s catching the eyes on your rod when you’re casting because that’s going to weaken the knot (connecting the leader).”
He uses a Uni-to-Uni connection to secure the leader. And, while others use loop knots on walking baits, Mosley said he doesn’t trust them.
“Every fisherman is different,” he said. “A big thing is that you have to have confidence in your knots, and I don’t have confidence in a loop knot.”
It’s important to remember, however, that mono takes a beating and weakens when fighting fish — especially big girls.
“Mono, you do have to re-tie after a couple of good fish,” Mosley said.