Surface strikes can be seducing.

A splish here -- a splash there -- a roll in the middle of a baitfish school; these sights are all virtually irresistible to topwater fishing fans.

No segment of the saltwater market is more passionate about their preferred methodology than surface pluggers. The opportunity to get an exciting “blowup” is what they live for.

Many anglers report they’d rather “catch one fish on topwater than 10 any other way.” Really? No…really?

A few fish striking at the surface can certainly signal a good topwater bite. “Walking the Dog” with a Walkie Talkie or Super Spook often gets the job done, but then there are times that fish simply won’t break the surface for a lure. In fact, it often fails miserably.

What is an angler to do? Simply walk-the-dog underwater.

Slow-sinking hard baits like the Badonk-A-Donk SS are created to be walked under the surface, and when done under the right conditions this technique can catch serious numbers of speckled trout and redfish.

One way of fishing these lures is to cast, let it sink to the level of the fish, raise the rod tip lightly and crawl it back to your position very methodically. This works great when making pinpoint casts to specific structure, however there are times when an angler needs to cover more water. That’s when “walking-the-dog” underwater comes in handy.

First, it is important to understand how to execute this unique technique. The key is letting the lure sink to the desire depth before beginning your retrieve, then hold the rod tip low and use your wrist to make a series of light, consistent jerks downward from about the 3 o’clock to 5:30 position.

One big factor is leaving enough slack in the line, and working the lure only when there is some slack. This will keep you from moving the plug too quickly and will create the side-to-side motion so effective for catching redfish and trout. Reel in the line very slowly as you make these twitching motions and make sure to keep slack in the line. The lure should be making left to right motions, and doing so with a consistent cadence.

It is easy to reel too fast and pull the lure up to the surface. Make sure you are reeling very slowly and letting the lure work under the surface. One advantage is wearing polarized shades so you can watch the action even from a distance in clear water. Pay close attention to what you are doing because a slight variation in the cadence might be what gets the strike.

This strategy can pay off any time, but the peak effectiveness centers on the aforementioned surface strikes that prompt you to tie on a surface-walking bait but result in no strikes. The presence of mullet below the surface, particularly in relation to shorelines and cuts, is another hint that subsurface walking may be in order.

Roseau cane, which has an intricate root system comparable to a miniature version of mangrove, covers the shorelines of hundreds miles of bay along the Gulf Coast. On high tides, cane stands hold plenty of baitfish, which hide from predators among the roots. Big trout and reds feed along the edges of this cane and quite often go untargeted.

Anglers should be mindful of making parallel casts along the shoreline tight to the shore. On the low tides, you can see there is some depth under the roots where the bait hides and the trout will sometimes feed right in there. Shorelines lined with rocks (riprap) can be fished the same way and are great in winter as the rocks retain heat and draw in baitfish (and their predators). The cuts funneling water from the marsh into bays is another productive spot, especially for reds on outgoing tides.

Another spot to consider using this method is in the surf, particularly near structure like bowls and guts that form around rock jetties and piers. On calm to moderate days it can be extremely effective.

“People tend to think that the surf has no structure, but it does if you look closely. Small details matter in the surface and identifying the different kind of structure can help anglers catch reds and trout,” said Marcus Heflin of Christian Surf Fishing Adventures.

The best way to fish a bowl area is to work the edges and pay special attention to the upper rims, or spots where the bowl makes a transition to a point. The center of a bowl can be productive, too, because these are often the deepest areas, and in shallow surf areas any break to deeper water usually means fish.

Troughs or “guts” are the long depressions or ditches running parallel to the shoreline and sandbars. Surf anglers often talk about fishing “between the sandbars,” which refers to fishing the troughs in the surf. The sandbars can either be the bottom between the troughs or an actual “bar” formed by current.

In deeper water, trout, redfish (and flounder) feed along the sloping sides of a trough, but in shallow surf they feed in the center. Sand bars, as we explained earlier, are parallel to the shore and often extend for great distances. Trout anglers should concentrate on first and second bar. Most surf-fishing experts agree that fish feed along the outer sloping front side of bar. These fish tend to gravitate toward the bottom where the sloping front of the bar ends.

“Mullet are the primary prey species and fishing a subsurface walking type lure (or even a topwater under the right conditions) mimics mullet and can catch big trout and even bigger reds in the surf,” Heflin said.

The great thing about the Badonk-A-Donk SS is its versatility. Yes, it sinks slowly and an angler can also make it “walk the dog,” but it also suspends. If you find yourself getting strikes but not connecting, simply let the bait sit a second after you feel a bump, and then move it. Work it a few feet and then let it sit again.

Walking-the-dog on top certainly does produce heart-stopping strikes, but on those days when fish are feeding shallow but not on top, a subsurface walker is the way to go.