Walking the Dog Lures: What are They?

Walking the Dog Lures feature image

You may have heard about “walking the dog” when fishing throughout the summer, but don’t really understand what it means. This is a unique bass fishing technique that can bring in some of the most aggressive trophy-sized bass the lake has to offer.

Walking the dog is a very fun technique to learn, and can end up putting more fish in your boat quickly. If bass aren’t biting your lower depth lures, try a surface walker and see how they react. Bass are normally very responsive to topwater lures as they make a lot of motion and noise to attract those hungry fish up from their cover areas.

Walk The Dog Lures Explained

In short, walking the dog refers to a fishing technique that has your topwater lure moving side to side at the surface of the water. The angler will get this unique motion in their dog lures by popping and twitching the fishing rod tip in a variety of different directions.

Walking the dog works great for covering a good amount of water and bringing bass up from the depths where they may be hiding under thick cover. The left to right action of the bait at the surface of the water helps bass take notice and zero in on the walker for their next strike.

In addition, almost all walking lures have a ball bearing inside to make noise. This noise travels through the water and these vibrations will grab the attention of fish. It’s not uncommon for more fish to react with speed and aggression to a walking baits when they are flat out ignoring other lures.

Best Walk The Dog Topwater Lures

Zara Spook

Zara Spook

Zara Spook
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Probably one of the most popular topwater walking lures you can cast, the Heddon Zara Spook is a hard plastic lure that is shaped somewhat like a cigar. The long and tubular body comes in a wide range of colors, and has reflective elements to help the sun reflect off certain elements to help make a big impact.

The Heddon Spook features three strong treble hooks so there is very little chance that fish can spit out the bait after they have made a grab for it. Plus, with loud rattles inside the Spook, it’ll be nearly impossible for fish to not notice this bait.

  • Loud rattles to grab the attention of fish
  • Three treble hooks to hold onto fish
  • Huge range of colors for any fishing situation
The Gunfish

The Gunfish

The Gunfish
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Almost as popular as the Zara Spook, the Gunfish is the topwater choice for smallmouth. This topwater lure is an outstanding mix of jerking and popping bait which helps anglers get quick strikes as soon as this bait hits the water.

Shaped in a smooth and slim design, the Gunfish glides easily across the top of the water. Anglers using this lure can easily give it a few pops now and then to make a splash and bring those pressured fish up from the bottom of the lake.

  • Great for attracting highly pressured fish
  • Outstanding walk the dog technique bait for smallmouth bass
  • Slim shaped body will walk smoothly through the water
The River2Sea Rover

The River2Sea Rover

The River2Sea Rover
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One of the newer walk-the-dog lures, the tuned Rover is a great choice to cast when targeting larger fish. Not only can you find the Rover in two or three hook designs, but you will also be able to choose from a huge range of custom colors and patterns to suit your fishing location and season.

It’s also a loud lure with multiple Tungsten ball bearings to grab the attention of largemouth in the area. Plus, with a weighted rear, you can not only cast the Rover to max distance, but you will also get an outstanding side-to-side flopping motion when retrieving it.

  • Features two or three treble hooks
  • Huge range of custom colors and patterns
  • Tungsten ball bearings make a loud rattling sound

The Rebel Lures Pop-R

The Rebel Lures Pop-R

The Rebel Lures Pop-R
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The Popper is a great topwater lure that should be your first pick if fish are being exceptionally stubborn or hesitant to strike. This lure creates a lot of sound, giving you an advantage when it comes to fishing in stained or muddy water.

In addition, the attention to detail on this crafted lure means you will see great results when jerking this lure back towards the boat. It’s well balanced and perfect for fishing in heavily pressured areas where fish are just not interested in anything else.

  • Great choice for fishing in heavily pressured areas
  • Crafting design makes this a great popping walker
  • Loud rattles are great for fishing in stained water

The Vixen

The Vixen

The Vixen
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While somewhat similar in shape as the Rover, the Vixen creates a much different higher pitched sound that can make fish go absolutely wild! Perfect for fishing in areas where fish are heavily pressured, extremely suspicious, or simply not striking anything else you throw in the water.

Vixen was once an extremely hard topwater lure to find, but recently has become much more widely available. As a result, no angler that walks the dog should be left without the Vixen in their tackle box.

  • Features two sharp treble hooks
  • Extremely popular walk the dog lure for pressured bass
  • Creates a unique high pitched rattling sound

Walking The Dog Fishing Technique

When just starting out learning to walk the dog, make sure you make long casts with your fishing rod. Topwater lures are have a slim profile, so should move through the air as easily as they glide through the water.

Once your lure is cast at maximum distance, start a fast action retrieval speed with your rod across open water that will make the lure immediately drift to one side. When it does, jerk your medium heavy rod tip and make the lure go in a side to side motion.

If bass are being hesitant to strike at the walk the dog action, you can let the lure sit undisturbed for a few seconds before you start to move your rod and walk the dog again.

Some bass may be more interested in an easy meal and will strike when the lure is still rather than when it is actively moving around on the end of your rod.

After a few seconds of remaining still, if bass still haven’t shown interest, start to slowly reel your topwater baits back in and repeat the walk the dog process.

You can also mix up how the lure moves and go from a fast and aggressive, to a slow and steady walk the dog technique. Regardless of your choice, many anglers will simply repeat a series of movements throughout the reel before casting out again.

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Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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