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Fishing with popping lures, otherwise known as poppers or popper lures, is an effective and exciting way to catch a variety of freshwater fishing species.
These lures are designed to create a popping or chugging sound on the surface of the water, mimicking the sound of prey fish that attract predatory fish like bass, and though they have their differences, pike and musky.
In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using popping lures and the different freshwater fish species you can catch with them.
There’s a reason that the number 3 error on our list of fishing mistakes is using the wrong lure. Don’t get caught up in that hubbub!
- Popping Lures
- Best Topwater Popper Lures for Bass
- How to Rig a Topwater Popping Lure
- How To Cast a Popping Lure
- How To Reel A Popping Lure
- Fish Species to Catch with Popping Lures
- Popping Lure for Bass
- Popping Lure for Musky
- Popping Lure for Pike
- Popping Lure: Final Thoughts
Popping lures are a type of topwater lure that create a “popping” sound and splashing action when retrieved.
They are particularly effective for catching fish that feed on or near the surface, when fish are feeding on surface creatures like flies or bugs.
Popping lures can attract fish from a greater distance due to their noise and action, but it does take some skill to master the technique of casting and reeling in a popping lure.
While not all make a popping sound you can hear, the fish can certainly hear it and it is a very natural noise that attracts them and will entice them to take the bait!
Best Topwater Popper Lures for Bass
Popper lures are a popular type of topwater lure that creates a popping or splashing sound when retrieved, imitating the sound of prey on the surface of the water. Here are our top 10 popper lures for bass. Click on each one to buy.
- Rebel Pop-R
- Rapala X-Rap Pop
- Booyah Prank
- Yo-Zuri 3D Poppers
- Rapala Skitter Pop
- Strike King KVD Splash Topwater Popper
- River2Sea Bubble Pop
- Arbogast Hula Popper
- LiveTarget Hollow Body Sunfish
- Lucky Craft Sammy 115
These lures are effective in attracting bass and a variety of other fish such as trout, and panfish. They come in a range of colors and sizes, making them versatile for different fishing conditions.
You’ll also enjoy Bass Tubes for catching both smallmouth and largemouth bass!
Advantages of Popping Lures
One of the biggest advantages of popping lures is their ability to attract fish from a distance. The popping sound created by the lure is similar to the sound made by prey fish when they come to the surface to feed.
This sound triggers predatory fish to strike, even if they are not actively feeding. Additionally, the surface disturbance created by the lure can attract fish that are not visually feeding, but instead are responding to the vibrations in the water.
When compared to crankbait and jerkbait, which are designed to mimic the movement of baitfish, popping lures are more effective in low-light conditions or when fish are feeding on insects and other small prey near the surface.
Popping lures can also be used in shallow water and near cover, such as weed beds, where crankbait may get snagged. Learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of crankbait.
They are sometimes used in conjunction with other lures, such as trailers or soft plastics, to create a unique presentation. This can be particularly effective for enticing finicky fish or targeting specific species.
You can also tie flies or attach skirts to your popper for a flashier look that might entice the fish you’re trying to catch.
Another advantage of using popping lures is their versatility. They can be fished in a variety of ways, such as slowly retrieved or aggressively twitched, depending on the fish species and the conditions.
They can also be fished in shallow or deep water, making them a great option for fishing in various environments.
Popping lures excel in their ability to create a commotion and draw fish to the surface, making them a great choice for anglers looking to catch aggressive surface-feeding fish.
Disadvantages of Popping Lures
Despite their advantages, popping lures also have some disadvantages. They can be more difficult to cast accurately and require some skill to create the desired popping action.
Additionally, popping lures may not be as effective in calm conditions or when fish are not feeding on the surface.
While popping lures can be effective, they do have some disadvantages to consider. One of the main disadvantages is that they can be challenging to cast accurately, especially in windy conditions.
The large size of some popping lures can also make them difficult to cast with lighter tackle.
Another disadvantage is that they are primarily effective for fishing on the surface of the water. If the fish are not actively feeding on the surface, a popping lure may not be the best option to use.
Compared to spinner baits and fishing jigs, popping lures are generally less versatile in their applications. Spinner baits can be retrieved at different depths and speeds, while fishing jigs can be used for a variety of techniques such as jigging, flipping, and pitching.
Overall, popping lures are a great addition to any angler’s tackle box, particularly when targeting surface-feeding fish.
While they may not be as versatile as other lures, their ability to create a commotion and attract fish from a greater distance can make all the difference when out on the water.
How to Rig a Topwater Popping Lure
Rigging a topwater popping lure is quite straightforward and is a skill you should have in your fishing knowledge bank.
Step 1: Choose the Right Line
The first step in rigging a popping lure is to choose the right fishing line. Since poppers are meant to be fished on the surface, you’ll want to use a floating line that won’t drag the lure underwater.
Monofilament or braided lines are both good options, with a weight rating appropriate for the size of your popper.
Step 2: Tie the Leader
Next, tie a leader to your main line. A leader is a length of line that is attached to the end of your main line and provides a stronger, more durable connection to your lure.
Tie the leader using a knot that won’t slip, such as the Palomar knot or the Improved Clinch knot.
Step 3: Attach the Popping Lure
Once your leader is tied, you can attach your popping lure.
Most poppers have a small loop or eyelet on the front of the lure for this purpose.
Tie the loop onto the leader using a knot that is strong and secure, like the Improved Clinch knot.
Step 4: Adjust the Length
After attaching the popping lure, adjust the length of your leader. The length of the leader will depend on the size of your popper and the type of fish you’re targeting.
A general rule of thumb is to make the leader length about 2 to 3 times the length of your popper.
How To Cast a Popping Lure
It might take some getting used to in order to accurately cast a popper as each popper you have might be different size, shape, and weight. Practice makes perfect, so keep casting until you master the technique!
- Position Yourself: Before casting, make sure you are positioned correctly. Face the water and position yourself in a comfortable stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. Know your surroundings, especially regarding the location of other people and obstacles.
- Load the Rod: Next, hold the rod with both hands and bring the lure close to the rod tip. Then, swing the rod back behind you to load it with energy. Be careful not to hit anyone behind you with the rod.
- Cast the Lure: Swiftly move the rod forward and release the lure at the end of your forward motion. Use your wrist to flick the rod tip for an accurate cast.
- Retrieve the Lure: Once the lure lands on the water, start retrieving it, see instructions below.
- Repeat: Keep casting and retrieving the lure, changing up the speed and cadence until you find a rhythm that the fish are attracted to.
How To Reel A Popping Lure
When it comes to fishing with popping lures, the way you reel them in can make all the difference in attracting fish to your line. Here are some tips on how to reel a popper effectively:
- Use a steady, rhythmic retrieve: The key to reeling in a popper is to keep a consistent, steady retrieve. Avoid jerky or erratic movements that can scare away fish. Start by slowly reeling in the lure, and then gradually increase your speed until you find a rhythm that works.
- Vary your retrieve: While a steady retrieve can be effective, it can also be helpful to mix things up to entice fish to strike. Try pausing your retrieve for a few seconds, then resuming at a faster pace. Or, try a stop-and-go technique, where you reel in the lure quickly, then pause for a moment before starting again.
- Keep the rod tip down: As you reel in the popper, keep the rod tip down towards the water. This will help to create a more natural popping sound and splash, which can attract fish to your line.
- Pay attention to the popper’s action: Some popping lures are designed to create a specific popping action, while others may have a more subtle or natural movement. Take note of how your popper is behaving in the water, and adjust your retrieve as needed to enhance its action and attract more fish.
- Be patient: It’s important to remember that fishing with popping lures requires patience and persistence. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a bite right away. Keep experimenting with your retrieve and trying different techniques until you find what works best for you.
By following these tips, you can reel in a popper with confidence and increase your chances of catching more fish on your next fishing trip.
Fish Species to Catch with Popping Lures
Popping lures can be used to catch a variety of freshwater fish species, with bass, pike, and musky being some of the most common.
Smallmouth and largemouth bass are known to be especially susceptible to the sound and vibration of popping lures, making them a popular choice among bass anglers.
Pike and musky also find popping lures irresistible, and many anglers have had success targeting these toothy predators with these lures.
Popping Lure for Bass
Popping lures are a favorite among bass fishing anglers because of their ability to imitate prey that is at the surface of the water.
They have a concave face that creates a popping or splashing sound when retrieved, which attracts the attention of nearby fish. When used correctly, a popping lure can create a commotion that is impossible for a hungry bass to ignore.
One of the biggest advantages of using a popping lures for bass fishing is its versatility. Popping lures come in a variety of sizes and colors, which makes them effective in different water conditions and times of day.
In clear water, a natural looking lure may work best, while in murky water, a brighter or more aggressive-looking lure may be more effective.
Another advantage of using a popping lure is that it can be fished in a variety of ways. You can use a steady retrieve to create a consistent popping sound or pause and jerk the lure to create a more erratic popping action.
This versatility allows you to experiment and find the best retrieve for the conditions and the fish they are targeting.
However, there are also some disadvantages to using popping lures for bass fishing. One potential issue is that the popping sound may spook fish in certain situations, such as when they are in a wary or inactive state.
Additionally, because the lure is fished at the surface, it may be less effective in deeper water or when fish are not actively feeding near the surface.
Overall, popping lures are a popular choice for bass anglers because of their versatility, ability to attract fish, and the excitement they bring to the fishing experience.
Anglers who are looking to add some excitement to their bass fishing should consider adding a popping lure to their tackle box.
Popping Lure for Musky
However, some musky anglers have found success using popping lures to trigger strikes from these elusive predators.
One advantage of using a popping lure for musky fishing is its ability to create a loud popping sound on the surface, which can attract musky from a distance.
Musky are known to be attracted to commotion on the surface, and the popping lure can be an effective way to get their attention.
When using a popping lure for musky, it’s important to select a larger size lure, such as a 6-8 inch popper, to match the larger size of muskies. It’s also important to use a heavy-duty rod and reel setup, as musky are powerful fish that can put up a strong fight.
In terms of technique, it’s best to make short and quick pops with the lure, creating a rhythmic and consistent popping sound.
Musky are known to follow lures for a long time before striking, so it’s important to vary the speed and pause between pops to entice the musky to strike.
Overall, while popping lures may not be the most commonly used lure for musky fishing, they can be an effective tool in the musky angler’s arsenal, particularly when targeting aggressive fish near the surface.
Popping Lure for Pike
Popping lures are also effective for catching northern pike. Pike are aggressive predators that are attracted to the commotion created by a popping lure on the surface of the water.
The “popping” noise and splashes that the lure creates mimics the sounds and movement of prey struggling on the surface, which can entice pike to strike.
When targeting pike with a popping lure, it’s important to use a heavy-duty setup with a strong line and sturdy rod to handle the hard hitting strikes of these powerful fish.
A heavier popping lure with a larger profile can also be effective for attracting larger pike. It’s also important to vary the retrieve speed and popping cadence to find the most effective presentation for the day’s conditions.
These lures come in a variety of sizes, colors, and patterns to match the prey fish in the area and trigger a strike from pike.
Popping Lure: Final Thoughts
Popping lures, or popping lures, are a great addition to your tackle box. These lures mimic the sound and action of a small fish breaking the surface of the water, making them particularly effective for catching species like bass, pike, and musky.
When casting a popper, it’s important to remember to use a slow and steady retrieve, pausing occasionally to allow the lure to create its signature popping sound. The type of fish you’re targeting will determine the best speed and rhythm for your retrieve.
Reeling a poppers requires a bit of finesse, as the action of the lure is what makes it so effective. A steady and consistent retrieve is usually best, but don’t be afraid to mix things up with occasional pauses or twitches to create a more erratic movement.
Like any lure, popper lures have their pros and cons. One of the biggest pros is their effectiveness at attracting fish in clear water or in low-light conditions.
They also offer a fun and exciting way to catch fish, as the action of the lure creates a visual and auditory spectacle that’s hard to resist.
However, poppers can be less effective in murky water or in high winds, as their sound and action may not be as noticeable to the fish. They can also be more difficult to cast accurately than other lures, especially in windy conditions.
By mastering the techniques of casting and reeling a popper, and choosing the right lure for the conditions, you can increase your chances of success on the water.
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