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For some reason, over the past few years, I seem to have gotten myself sidetracked onto focusing on mainly plastic worms and spinnerbaits for bass. These certainly work and always will, but are perhaps not always the best lures for every single situation.

This summer I have been trying to step outside my self-imposed rut by rediscovering the joys of topwater poppers for bass. There's a huge thrill in actually getting to see the fish come up in a big swirl and grab your lure. That will get your pulse rate up like nothing else.

I just want to mention three lures I've been playing with, and see if anyone wants to offer comments on their favorites.

Arbogast Hula Popper
This lure design has been around for more than 50 years, because it works. I like it next to weed beds, and over shallow water. I have never caught a bass over more than 6 ft. of water with a Hula Popper, although perhaps you have. The Hula Popper makes probably the noisiest "glug!" of all the topwater poppers when you twitch it forward. (Not as noisy as a Jitterbug, but I don't really think of that as a popper.) I like the frog pattern, although they make a black one that comes in a close second.


Rapala Skitter Pop
Rapala's version of the topwater popper can be hard to find. In the Ft. Collins-Loveland area, Sportsman's Warehouse does not carry it. I found a few at Discount Fishing Tackle in Ft. Collins. (Don't be misled by the word "discount", though.) The Skitter Pop -- the most expensive of the lures I've tried -- has a round, clear plastic bib in front that tends to make more of a spitting sound when you twitch it, rather than the loud burble that we usually expect. This is a nice lure, and for some reason smallmouth will hit it, as well as largemouth. I like the shad pattern (S), but the fire tiger (FT) produces, as well. Rapala wants you to tie this lure on with their so-called "Rapala Knot". If you like to put a snap swivel on the end of your line to facilitate changing lures, do not do so with this lure; it actually does degrade the action.



Storm Lures Chug Bug
This is kind of a different lure from the others. It has a rattle in it, and it also has a weighted tail for longer casting, which makes it hang tail down in the water when at rest, as opposed to the level position most poppers take. When you twitch it forward, it comes up to level and makes a very satisfactory pop. So far this year, the Chug Bug has produced the most bass for me. I took one in the "silver w/ black back" pattern out to Boyd Lake a couple of days ago, and landed 12 bass in about an hour and a half; all of them hit it hard, without hesitation. None over 15 in., but I don't think that was the lure's fault. On an ultralight rod with 4 lb. line I can cast it farther than most topwater lures.


There are more poppers that I still want to try. XLS, Bomber, Heddon and Rebel all make models that look interesting. I would like to get your comments and experiences with topwater poppers. What have you tried that you like?

Regards, W. E.

P.S. I tried to add pictures of the lures, but ImageShack is misbehaving today so I don't know if it worked or not.
 

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I like the Berkley Frenzy.. I put a little skirt on the back usually white and a bleeding bait hook on the front and usually have a good time.
 

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Walking Eagle: You can actually find a good selection of those Rapala Skitter Pop's at Jax Sporting Goods just up College, quite a bit into Old Town, pretty much at the north end of it. I was just there yesterday and got one, so did a buddy of mine, they have a decent selection of them. A few different patterns in the 5 and 7 sizes, also some of the skitter props. Hope that helps :) I've actually just now started to like the top water action of bass fishing cause only til that post of the bass I got at Dixon I never used top water cause I never caught anything on them when I used them. That bass was the first fish ever I've got on topwater, but that sure did addict me to it. The last few days we've been over to dixon I've used a little rebel popping grasshopper, that hullapopper, an old balsa popper I've had for years, one of those rapala skitter pops, and floating minnows and I've had action on all of them. Guess anytime before I've tried them I either wasn't in a good spot or just not the right time cause its been awesome the last few days with them. Must say I like top water now and will also think outside of the standard lures I usually use.
 
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This is what I like to read about.

I've never used poppers, but will probably go out and buy one(today).

*hmmmm, another reason why my gf doesn't like me on this forum.

Motivates me to fish and spend even more money!
 

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tbmanivong-Next time tell her you could be spending your money stuffing it down some girls g-string at the topless bar. ::) As hobbies go, girls should know that fishing is a heck of alot better than some others.
 

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The rapala skitterpop is one of my confidence bass lures. It is the best popper hands down I have used.
Whenever the weather is cloudy, and during morning and evening twighlight periods, the skitterpop is my go to lure for largemouth and smallmouth. I have caught them from 4" to 22" on this popper.
My best color is the frog, and also silver blue. I have literally been in bites where bass will hit the skitterpop every few feet.
 
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maybe im using poppers wrong but ive never had great sucsess with them ...Ive done really well on zara spooks and buzzbaits ....if you guys are using poppers why not get a hardwood dowwel and make your own .....I make my own walking baits and little frogs for bluegill its alot cooler to see a fish take something youve made ....
 

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i too never had success with these baits untill this sumer when it "clicked" i realized that you really have to work them real slow and eratic. the were most productive if you fish around weeds rocks or shallow water. also the hit always comes(for me at least ) after some eratic movement when its sitting or right after it hits the water. when it hits let it sit untill the rings clear be patient and if you haven't had success try these when you see topwater action going on cast well beyond your target area so that when you work it in the intial "splat into the water is gone"
by no means am i a pro at this but since i figured out how to work them i have not been out and used these and not got a couple hits. oh yea control youur adrenilin when the hit give them a sec or you will take it right out of there mouth. anyways long winded hope this helps 8)
 

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Working the popper depends on the mood of the fish. I do make a habit of letting the rings clear out but sometimes fishing wiper you want it to hit the water moving. I was fishing poppers in Kansas and the bass would only take it moving very fast almost no pauses. Top water baits are the most fun and I reccomend learning how to use zara spooks and throwing buzz baits. Propped baits can be heart stoppers mid summer on. Top water plugs are like fishing dry flys for trout, there is a time and place.
 

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I've had good luck with both the hula popper and the jitterbug. I dont fish bass that much and when I do its usualy worms or grubs.I used those when I was a kid but they still seem to work.
 

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I have found that you have to work them slowly and pretty subtle with long pauses up to 20 seconds or more. That really works great for bass around here. In fact I have so much sucess on poppers that during twilight or cloudy periods, they are my best technique.
 

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the first time i fished topwater for bass was with a hulapopper and the guy that took me made me cast it out to a likely looking stump put the rod down and grab another rod with a lure some sort of crank and make 2 casts with it then trade back to the poper give it a pop and switch again ussually on the second or third time i would go to pop the thing suct the slight twitch from picking up the rod would have a bass busting all over it this was on old farm and rock quary ponds in OK that day really taught me what it ment to slowly work a poper and you dont have to always pop the thing somethims a little twitch is all you need

man i need to get out and thru some topwater before the season is gone
 

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Discussion Starter #20
fishing3o3 said:
i cant find small poppers at wal mart, most of them are too big what are the smallest poppers out there?
Too big for what? Not too big for bass, that's for sure.

The smallest poppers are those made to be cast on a fly rod:

You would find these at fly fishing shops. They are good for bass and especially for big bluegills.

Next up might be the Rebel "Crickhopper Popper" series, made to resemble grasshoppers, crickets, etc. although I doubt that the fish care much what they look like. These are different from the Rebel "Crickhopper" lures, which are not poppers:

These are about 3/16 oz. and they are meant to be used with ultralight equipment. I have seen these at K-Mart and Wal-Mart. I have a couple of these but have never fished them yet, so I can't tell you if they are any good or not.

Going up in size from there, you get into lots of "standard size" poppers like the Rebel Pop-R, Storm Chug Bug, and the like. I have seen them sometimes in the discount stores but in your locality (I don't know where you are) you might have to visit a store more oriented to outdoor stuff and sporting goods.

Regards, W. E.
 
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