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Topwater plugs are one of the best artificial lures to use during the summer. Snook, reds, trout mackerel and bluefish love to attack them.

The best action is during the early morning, sunset and overcast days. A plug with a rattle or propeller make noises that help fish find it even when they can't see it.

Target the dropoff of a flat along mangrove shorelines, over potholes and at the edges of bait schools. Lower the rod and wiggle its tip during a steady retrieve.

Propeller plugs must be popped hard enough so the blades spray water. Then twitch the lure while reeling up the slack in the line. When the line gets tight to the lure, repeat the process.

Grass floating on the surface can mess up a surface plug. Most fish won't strike a lure with grass. Get around this by using two rods. Remove the hooks from the plug on one.

Work the hookless plug until you get a strike. Then pick up the hooked plug and cast it where the fish struck. Wiggle the lure until the water explodes and the plug disappears. If the plug fails to return to the surface, set the hook and reel in your fish.

_ Doug Hemmer charters out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 347-1389.