How-To: Casting Big Topwater Plugs for Striped Bass

Spring has Sprung! In this video, we join Capt. Cullen Lundholm of Cape Star Charters aboard his beautiful 33′ Conch. There’s been a consistent topwater striper bite at the West End of the Cape Cod Canal, with lots of fish in the 40″+ range. This gave us a perfect opportunity to fish the new Charter Grade XL DogWalkers paired with the Hogy Hybrid Spinning Rod!

Our lasted addition to the DogWalker Series, The XL DogWalker offers classic “Walk The Dog” action in a through-wired Tuna Grade Body. Ideal for targeting various species feeding on oversized forage, this massive 9″ topwater draws fish in from a distance. Based on our popular 6″ Charter Grade DogWalker, this floating topwater offers easy-to-impart walk-the-dog action with slight rod tip twitches on a slack line.


  1. Make a series of long drifts adjacent to the structure the fish are holding on. In this case, a large boulder field sitting parallel to a deeper water channel. Make sure to turn your engines off to not disturb any of the ecosystem.
  2. Work your large topwater plugs on the edge of the structure to gain traction and pick apart the area thoroughly. Often times larger fish tend to sit on the edges of structure where bait is more vulnerable.
  3. Utilize a “fan casting” approach to cover as much water as possible. This will aid in leaving no stone unturned, or in your case, no hook-up opportunity missed!


The retrieve being used is what is called a “Walk the Dog” retrieve. This is a relatively simple retrieve to master, it just boils down to understanding the proper cadence and twitches of the rod that are needed to get that plug to “walk”.

  1. Rod Movement: Begin the walking the dog motion by using your rod. Hold it at a roughly 45-degree angle, pointing towards the lure. Use short, sharp downward twitches of the rod tip to create a zigzag motion. As you twitch the rod tip downward, reel in the slack line simultaneously to maintain tension. This will make the lure move side to side in a zigzag pattern, resembling a wounded baitfish.
  2. Rhythm and Speed: Establish a rhythm with your rod twitches, creating a consistent back-and-forth motion. The speed of your twitches will depend on the behavior of the fish and the fishing conditions. Experiment with different speeds to find the one that works best on a given day.
  3. Pause: Occasionally pause the retrieve for a few seconds during the walking the dog motion. This pause can trigger strikes that are following the plug.


*This is definitely your heavier duty inshore outfit. Keep in mind I switch hit this outfit with my lighter duty offshore fishing as well!


1. Make long happy drifts adjacent to structure. This will avoid blowing out and spooking any fish nearby.

2. Mix up the cadence of your “walk the dog” retrieve. Start slow with long pauses or fast and erratic. This will aid in determining the ideal retrieve for that day.

3. A heavier setup with beefed up gear is ideal when fishing around heavy strucuture. This weill help with abrasion resistance and also landing the fish faster before it get you hung up in the structure.

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