Buzzbaits churn across the surface with propellers that make noise and skirts to give the look of something alive. Cast and retrieve these baits parallel to the shore. The first cast you should use a quick retrieve. If this does not produce either a strike or a swirl of water, try slowing the retrieve on successive casts. Buzzbaits are often used to simply locate bass. Look for swirling water as you retrieve the bait. If you find bass are following the bait but not striking, change baits while continuing to fish the area.
Popping lures are top water lures with cupped faces. Cast to a spot likely to hold bass. Let the ripples subside from the lure's impact with the water. Give the rod a downward jerk. This will make the front of the lure dip underwater, giving off a popping sound. Continue to pop the lure every five to 10 seconds as you retrieve it. Another method is to pop the lure while using a steady retrieve. Finally, you can rip the lure across the surface.
Stick baits, including cigar-shaped baits, have no natural action. These lures require a bit of practice to master. Retrieve these lures by jerking the rod down and slightly to the side--first one side, then the other, alternating back and worth, down to the right, down to the left. Try varying the speed of retrieval. When done correctly, the lure looks like an injured fish trying to escape.
Frogs and Crawfish
Frogs and crawfish can be very effective when fished in dense cover like lily pads or scummy areas. Retrieve these lures slowly dragging them over the cover. When you get them to open water, let them sink just below the surface, then speed up the retrieval until they are back on the cover. Another way to use them is to fish them fast, then slow in an erratic manner.
These are not often thought of as top water lures, but plastic worms rigged weightless and allowed to swim on the surface will at times draw strikes when more conventional lures fail to produce.