“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 zigzag during the retrieve, gliding from side to side as the angler jerks their rod tip. This side-to-side 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.
Best Walk-The-Dog Lures
It all started with the Zara Spook, by far the most well known walk-the-dog lure. Spooks are cigar shaped, hard plastic walkers that have been used by bass anglers for decades. They now come in a bunch of different versions of itself, with a variety of features, colors, and sizes.
Another very popular walker is the Gunfish. These are lighter weight and have a more subtle action on the surface. They are a great choice for clear water or targeting smallmouth.
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.
One of the best things about fishing these lures is how far you can cast them. They are shaped like little rockets and the move through the air similarly. Take full advantage of this and launch the bait as far out as you can.
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 topwater 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.