These topwater lures swim in a smooth, side to side wobble action that causes a wake on the surface. This, of course, is how these baits got their name. As they swim along, the wake they create on the surface is a very natural looking to a bass.
Wakebaits are designed to mimic some kind of prey swimming slowly on the surface, whether is be a fish or some kind of rodent. Since these baits are slow movers, they are a great choice for when fish are active enough to be hitting topwater but not active enough to be chasing fast moving lures.
The most common type of wakebaits are the ones that have a body similar to a crankbait, except with a much smaller lip. But when some anglers refer to a wakebait, they could be referring to a waking swimbait. If that’s what you’re looking for then visit the swimbaits page. The wakebaits discussed on this page are much smaller than a waking swimbait.
And if you’re looking for a really good specific wakebait, then take a look at the LiveTarget Wakebaits. These baits look so natural, and mimic a baitfish struggling along the surface perfectly.
You want to treat a wakebait with the same rules of thumb that you would any topwater lure. Meaning optimal times are low light conditions like dusk, dawn, and in cloudy conditions. Ideally you want somewhat calm conditions, not flat calm but calm enough so that the bait is going to be noticed.
This is because a lot of times wakebaits are run on the surface in a slow and steady retrieve, attracting bass with their natural swimming action. Drawing bass out of cover by running a wakebait alongside objects like docks and lily pads patches can be very effective. And these baits are great at creating enough noise and water disruption to urge fish out of those areas.
Another perfect wakebait scenario is fishing them over submerged cover, like grass or hydrilla that isn’t grown all the way up to the surface. These baits are usually equipped with two treble hooks so they are far from weedless, but when there is enough water above the weeds for a wakebait to wobble over it can be a deadly tactic.
But if there is a lot of chop on the water the bait is hardly going to get noticed fishing it this way. This is when burning a wakebait slightly below the surface can be a very effective. You can control how deep the bait will dive by raising or lowering your rod tip during the retrieve. Also by the speed of the retreive, the faster you reel the more they will dive.
These baits are not meant to dive deep though, and most of the time will only get down a couple of inches. But that can be deep enough to draw a fish out of cover just below the surface. And they make them with rattles too if the water is really choppy and you need some extra noise.
Like with all topwater lures, wakebaits perform their best when fished with monofilament line or braid. Both of these types of line float, which will help keep the wakebait on or close to the surface and running true.