Foreword: This is one in a series of tips forthcoming in the summer of 2022. These helpful suggestions are borne out of thousands of hours of on-the-water experience in pursuing white bass and hybrid striped bass in Texas using the in-line spinners in the MAL Lure family. With tens of thousands of the MAL Lures now in use (and most of those in Texas!) I want to help give current and future MAL Lure users their best shot at catching fish by sharing what I've discovered 'the hard way' in hopes of reducing your own learning curve. These tips are in no particular order.


First and foremost, be courteous. Do not be the guy/gal who motors into a group of boats already working topwater fish, throw your boat’s wake over those fish, and ruin for everyone, including you, what could have been 45-60 minutes of easy fishing.
Instead, cut the outboard 100-150 yards out, then use your trolling motor to close the distance.

Remember, white bass, striped bass, yellow bass, white perch, and their hybrids (which are all of the fish in the temperate bass family) prefer feeding under low-light conditions. Do not sleep until 8 a.m., get to the lake at 9:30 a.m., and expect to get into topwater fish. On a grey, cloudy day you may find some scattered fish still around by mid-morning, but 30 minutes either side of sunrise and sunset are absolutely key.

Try not to chase the fish. Rather, observe where they are headed, and try to get ahead of them. This way you can throw to them as they are coming toward you, while they are all around the boat, then as they are heading away, all without having to move your boat.

Using the lighter 5/8 oz. Original MAL with a white tail (for clear water) or a chartreuse tail (for stained water), make long casts over as many fish as you can to ensure that a maximum number of fish see your bait during the retrieve. For fast hook removal, consider clipping one of the treble hook's three tines off completely, and then mashing down the barbs on the other two remaining points.

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CAPTION: This MAL Original (the lightest in the MAL Lure family) is modified for topwater action. I've clipped off one tine, and mashed down the two remaining barbs for super-fast unhooking.

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CAPTION: A closeup of the modified MAL treble hook with one tine removed and the barbs mashed down with needle-nosed pliers.

Remember, the gamefish are oriented on the surface where the bait is, so, don't let your bait sink very far after your cast hits the water. As soon as the lure hits the water, close your bail and immediately begin a fast, steady retrieve. To effect this, I actually keep my hand on the bail as the lure sails through the air during the cast, snapping the bail shut the instant it contacts the water. I then begin reeling quickly.

Keep your rod tip pointed down low toward the water's surface to keep the lure from skipping out of the water as you retrieve quickly.

Do not jig, jerk, juke, or jive the MAL Lure. Just reel it straight back in with a "plain Jane" retrieve. Excessive movements only make it harder for the fish to catch your bait.

Do not set the hook when fishing for topwater fish. There are enough fish present that you will hook a fish a greater percentage of the time if you just keep reeling in straight and fast until a fish hooks itself. This is especially true if you use zero-stretch braided line.

By setting the hook the instant you feel a sensation, you will likely miss the fish that struck (because the pressure wave it pushes ahead of itself caused a change in the rhythm of your spinner, not because the fish had the bait in his mouth yet).

By setting the hook you will also pull the bait farther away from the other pursuing schoolmates, thus reducing the chances of a second, third, or fourth strike on that same retrieve.


If you have tips of your own, feel free to respond to this post, or send a private message. I will give credit where credit is due!

Last edited by Holding The Line; 06/20/22 10:34 PM.

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Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411
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