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The Devastating Secrets of Topwater Popper Fishing (the Rookies Method of Effective Fishing… No Matter How Uncoordinated or Clumsy You Are!)

A truly "no brainer" (yet usually overlooked) way to fishing topwater poppers... and... bump the amount of your catch-to-land ratio by 100% or more... automatically!

Topwater poppers have been used in bass fishing from the beginning and are considered one of the classics. They are among the earliest bass lure designs still in use today, and they still work well at catching lunker bass. These lures have developed into a variety of forms and designs throughout the years, but they always have a cup-shaped face on the front of the bait. This characteristic is what makes them “pop”, “split”, “gurgle”, “bloop” “chug”.

Poppers are a kind of topwater lure that, when used properly, produce a variety of sounds that attract fish to the surface. When the lure is pulled forward and its bowl-shaped mouth pushed against the water’s surface, it makes a splashing sound… kinda-like you were splashing your buddy in the pool with your cupped hands!   Although varied forms, styles, and sizes produce a variety of sounds, they are all intended to resemble a baitfish, frog, or some other small animal that is struggling on the surface.

Different Poppers

Despite the wide variety of popper lures available, most anglers  will divide these lures into separate stacks; Chuggers and Spitters.

On the surface, they seem to be identical, yet what defines them is the commotion and noise they cause.

Chuggers

The Hula Popper is a great example of this style up lure. This is an old-school bait and one of the oldest topwater baits invented, however it still remains to be very popular topwater bait. 

These traditional popper lures are designed with a giant bowl shaped mouth produce a big “pop” sound on the water’s surface.

Plowing the water’s surface and produce a big bubble or dome of water over the bait as they are jerked forward.

You can jerk this lure and pop it hard and it moves a ton of water creating a huge splash, or big ol’ bloop-sound noise. Best of all, it doesn’t move very far!… and that’s important because it stays in the strike zone longer.

The Hula Popper 2.0 has recently been upgraded with and it even more durable and will catch you more fish. 

The easiest way you can work this lure is casting or skipping it underneath cover likes overhangs and docks…  You’ll quickly see it will be one of your favorite places that you throw this bait. 

Shade lines along steep edges and bluff walls are also fantastic places to fish this lure. 

Its size is relatively small and it’s perfect for small ponds and even clear water lakes in the summer.

How To Fish a Popper

New anglers or kids really like fishing topwater poppers because they are among the simplest bass lures to fish.  They won’t need any advanced fishing skills, all they need to do is simply  cast it out and give the rod a good yank every so often to do a straightforward retrieve. You reel the slack line in while the bait is at rest. 

The lure should lie on the surface for how long? The wind speed and quantity of surface ripple, like with other topwater lures, will indicate how quickly you should be fishing a popper.

It’s really when you pause between yanks is when those fish are really going to key in and that’s when they’re going to blow up on it and eat it. 

Without a doubt, you want to fish a popper quickly if there is a strong surface ripple. A popper that isn’t moving and resting on the water in rough winding conditions won’t attract much attention from bass.

So, if your lake starts to get breezy or windy, put away your popper and go to a Whooper Plopper or a buzzbait.

Poppers work well in the mornings and nights of the summer, as do other topwater lures. You should fish them as closely to cover as you can without getting tangled up since they are far from weedless.

What is the Best Color for Topwater Popper Lures?

Choosing the color for your popper isn’t as simple as picking the prettiest one in the pack. You need to consider a few things when selecting the color of your popper, including water clarity, the geographic area you’ll be fishing in, and the forage species found native to the lake you are fishing on. 

If you’re casting into clear water (you can see >3 feet under the water), you’ll want to choose a lure that you can see through. On the other side of the coin, if the water you’re fishing is stained (you can see 1-2 feet under the water, then you’ll want to go with an opaque colored lure. 

If you’re fishing in open water, off a point, or if you see bass chasing bait fish on the surface in open water then you’ll want to have several shad colored lures on hand. These will mimic the prey fish of the area and will be natural colors, such as gray, white, or silver.

However, if you’re close to shore, if a structure consists of something such as boat docks, floating vegetation patches, or boulder piles you should have some bluegill or bream colored lures ready to be tied on.   These will mimic the prey fish of these areas and will take the color in tones of green, brown, yellow.

The geographical area and native forage species go hand-in-hand when choosing a popper color. In some areas, you’ll find that one or two colors perform much more effectively because it mimics the native forage species found in the region.

Helpful Tip: If you’re unsure what bait fish are in the lake you’re fishing, go to 2-3 different tackle shops that are nearby the lake you're going to fish... Be sure to support your local small business by at least picking up some tackle from them in exchange for giving you some help. They may even tell you about some secret spots!

Once you have put in the work to learn the feeding habits of the bass you are hunting and made adjustments for water clarity and the region you are fishing in, you’ll be able to quickly choose the best color for your swimbaits.

Best Topwater Popper Setup

Rod

It is strongly encouraged new anglers start topwater popper fishing with a spinning rod with a medium-to-heavy backbone and a fast tip, 6’6”-7’ in length. The backbone should be powerful enough to hook the fish, but the tip should be flexible enough to endure the bone-crushing topwater hits that occur with this kind of fishing.

As the angler advances, one should transition to medium light casting rod with a fast tip.  Using a casting rod gives you better accuracy which in important if you want to lure to land in a very tight spot. 

Reel

It’s crucial to have a sturdy reel with a smooth drag. As using topwater baits, it’s important to have a smooth, buttery drag so that it can keep up with the fish when it swims to deeper cover after it realizes it’s hooked. A big bass can easily break your line if your drag is bad, meaning if your  drag starts-and-stops as its being pulled on.

Line

It is strongly advised to use a 15-20-pound monofilament leader that is 6-10 feet long attached to a 20-30-pound braided main line. A braided backing floats, has exceptional casting ability, and won’t create line twist. Additionally, the mono floats, won’t get tangled in the front hooks, and has some elasticity, allowing me to serve as a shock absorber.

Final Thoughts...

Fishing a popper has to be one of the easiest and more enjoyable ways to fish for bass… best of all it doesn’t require a ton of special gear.  Just keep this final tips in mind.

  • Poppers work best in calm conditions.
  • Poppers are easy to use for kids and beginner anglers.
  • Have a variety of colors available. Shad colors in open water. Bluegill colors near structure.
  • New anglers should start with a spinning rod.
  • A good reel is defined as how light it is and how smooth the drag is. 
  • Braided mainline tied to a monofilament leader is preferred… otherwise monofilament will work. 

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