“Walk the dog” lures are one of the most effective topwater lures because you have so much control over the action. They are typically hard bodied baits that have a long and skinny profile. They zig-zag on the retrieve, gliding side to side as the angler jerks their rod tip. This action is referred to as “walking the dog.”
In order to get a nice uniform “walking” action you need to time up your jerks. You want to hold the rod tip at an angle down toward the water and jerk the line using just the action from your wrist. Slowly reel in slack as it works closer back to you. The lure will zig-zag left to right with each jerk, mimicking an injured fish.
By far the most popular walk-the-dog lure is the Zara Spook. Spooks are cigar shaped, hard plastic walk the dog lures that have been used by bass anglers for decades. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and you should do your best to match both with the local baitfish. Bluegill and shad patterns tend to be the most popular. If you’re looking for smaller versions of the spook then check out the Zara Spook Jr and the Zara Puppy. The Zara Puppy works best if you’re fishing with a spinning reel.
Fishing Walk The Dog Lures
There are different ways an angler can go about triggering strikes with these baits. Somedays some of these techniques will work better than others so you should give all of them a try on a day of fishing to see what bass are looking for. It’s always good practice to start with fast action and slow your retrieve down if you’re not getting bit as the day goes on.
The best method to start with is a fast and steady retrieve. This is done by jerking the rod methodically at a rapid pace. Keep your eye on the bait and as soon as it zigs one way quickly jerk the rod again and the bait will dart in the opposite direction. Continue to repeat this action so the bait “walks” steadily side to side throughout the entire retrieve.
If that doesn’t seem to be getting the job done try letting the lure sit for several seconds after the cast. Wait for ripples and any disturbance to subside before you start applying the action. This is a great technique with all top water lures. Bass will sometimes hit it even after a minute of the bait just sitting still.
If the steady retrieve isn’t getting bit then try to eradicate the action so that it is not the same exact motion for the entire retrieve. Make the lure zig and zag more and less aggressively at times. Put yourself in the shoes of a injured baitfish in a panic. Maybe give it three hard jerks then pause, two hard jerks then pause, two soft jerks then pause, one hard jerk then pause, ect. Try to keep it as random as possible and keep the pause times different as well, around a few seconds should suffice.