Popper Fishing 


  1. Popper Fishing 


  1. There is no correct or best reitrieve for a popper.  Some days letting it sit until the impact splash is totally gone and then giving it the tiniest of taps to make a fresh distrurbance is what it takes. Other days a quick steady retrieve is the ticket.
  2. The noise a popper makes when it splashes can make a difference in the number of strikes.  Sometimes a blub or splunk is the ticket.  Other days you need a splish with a light long spray in front of the bait.  For the most extreme difference you may need to change baits, but quite often you can make adjustments to the splash of your bait by simpley moving the knot up or down on the eye of the bait.
  3. Lots of folks will tell you to fish topwater first thing in the morning or late in the day during lower light conditions. That statement is true, but if you re-read it carefully it will tell you that time of day is not the key. Low light conditions. That’s right. On a cloudy day you might get a steady topwater bite all day long. That is still not the whole truth. Anytime fish can be found feeding on the surface or near the surface you should be able to catch fish with a popper. If you see busting bait fish within your casting range a popper in color patterns to match local forage would be one of my first choices.
  4. The line is a key part of the equation.  A line that tends to float a little more will help you to work the bait effectively.  This usually means monofilament or braided line.  Flouro is a poor choice because it tends to sink a little more. For poppers and walking baits I prefer mono because with the limpness of braid the bait tends to glide up over the line and tangle the hooks in it.  That can also happen with mono, but becasue of the slightly stiffer nature of mono it does not happen as often and is easier to untangle when it does.  Use the biggest size line that you can effectively fish the bait with.  For me the small poppers I prefer to cast that is often as small as 10 or 12 pound monofilament line.  For bigger baits I may use line as heavy as 17 pound test.  I also prefer mono because it will stretch a little acting as a shock absorber when a big fish runs. See the next section on rod chocie to see why this is important.
  5. The rod you choose needs to be able to give some when a fish surges.  The hooks and line used for popepr fishing are often not suitable for winching in a fish.  The small curve of  hooks on poppers will rarely bury deeply in the fish.  This means if you try and just crank them in hard the hooks will usually tear right out of the the fish.  I personally prefer a medium power spinning rod, but your choice needs to fit you and your fishing skills.
  6. Speaking of hooks, on many baits I like to upsize the hooks one size from what comes on most poppers.  This makes for better hookups and fewer missed fish.
  7. When a topwater fish smacks the bait:
    Don’t swing at the splash. Keep retrieving normally, and load the rod up firmly when you feel the weight of the fish on the line. Lets say that again. Load the rod up firmly. I think that’s the key to the best hookups on poppers. You aren’t trying to rip their lips off like when you are flipping.  Your are trying to drive the hooks in firmly without taking the bait away from the fish, bending the hooks, or tearing them out. If a fish takes your bait under water when its just sitting there you can set the hook the same way.  Load the rod up firmly. while the fish has your bait underwater.

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