Capt. Ethan Hamrick
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3 Best Topwater Poppers for Bass Fishing

Top water fishing is one of the most exiting ways to catch a bass. It’s hard to beat a giant bass exploding on a surface lure on a calm morning.

Top water poppers are one of the best surface lures around. If you’re unaware, a popper is a floating hard bait with a cupped mouth, deigned to make the bait lure spit water and “pop” across the surface. This erratic action appears to bass as struggling, injured baitfish and an easy meal for bass.

Our Top Pick

Rebel Pop-R

There are many different surface poppers on the market, however, my favorite popper is a Rebel Pop-R. Although it’s not the most elaborate popper on the market, this simple top water bait comes in a variety of colors and sizes and maintains excellent action.

In addition, this surface lure doesn’t break the bank but is just as productive as most expensive poppers.

Top 3 Topwater Poppers

RankPictureNameWhere to Buy
1Rebel Pop-R
See it on Amazon
2Yo-zuri 3D Minnow Popper
See it on Amazon
3Megabass Pop Max Popper See it on Amazon

The Rebel Pop-R is my preferred surface popper, as mentioned above, however, you can’t go wrong with a Yo-zuri or Megabass Pop Max as well.

The Yo-Zuri popper comes in a wide range of lifelike colors that mimic baitfish perfectly. It is also 3D painted for added appearance.

The Megabass popper is also built with sharp features and has extreme erratic action that bass simply can’t resist.

Both of these baits produce great disturbance that can draw bass from a good distance. You can’t go wrong with any of these options when selecting a topwater bait!

5 Tips for Fishing a Surface Popper

Tip #1: Best Popper Colors

When it comes to selecting the right colors for topwater poppers, it doesn’t have to be complicated. I prefer to stick with three main patterns:

  1. Shad
  2. Bone (white)
  3. Black

These three colors tend to catch fish in most bodies of water and in many different situations. I’ll usually start with a shad or bone colored bait early in the morning before it gets to bright. When the sun gets up, I typically switch over to a black colored lure. This is because fish can see a dark lure better that a light lure against a bright, sunny sky.

And don’t think that topwater baits will only work early in the day. I’ve caught bass late in the morning and into the afternoon on surface lures. If they are in a topwater phase and are biting a surface lure, don’t put it down.

Tip #2: Retrieve with Proper Cadence

There are a couple different ways to retrieve a topwater popper. For one, anglers can simply use short, straight jerks to “pop” the lure across the surface, making it spit water and create a disturbance. This is the easiest way to fish a popper and is nearly effortless.

Another way to fish a popper is by using the “walk the dog” retrieve. This method gives the lure much more side to side action and takes a little more effort to achieve. Use very short subtle jerks of your rod to give a popper this action.

Sometimes all bass want is a simple pop, pop, pause retrieve. However, there are other times when it takes more to entice a fish and the more erratic movement of walking the lure can be more effective. Just vary your retrieve until you dial in on how the fish want it presented.

Tip #3: “Pop” Around Shoreline Cover

When fishing with a surface popper, look for cover along the shoreline. In between grass and lily pads, around fallen timber, boat docks and rocks, or along seawalls are all high percentage areas to for fishing one of these lures.

A popper also excels when schooling bass are present and feeding on the surface, because it perfectly mimics the forage they are eating.

Tip #4: Throw a Popper for Pressured Bass

Most surface poppers that I like to throw are smaller (2-3 inches) than other topwater lures, such as a spook or prop bait. Their smaller profile makes topwater poppers a great choice if the baitfish in a certain fishery are on the small side. They often “match the hatch” better than a longer, larger profile bait and will in turn catch more fish.

Tip#5: Proper Popper Tackle

Anglers can throw a popper on both spinning or baitcasting gear.

Personally, I prefer throwing a popper on baitcasting gear. I use a 7’ medium action rod paired to a fast action reel with an 8:1:1 gear ratio. I spool the reel with 20-25 pound braided line and then tie a short monofilament leader to my main line braid to better disguise my line.

If I do throw a popper on spinning gear, I prefer a 7’ medium action rod paired to a reel with a 7:1:1 gear ratio, spooled with 15-20 pound braided line. I then tie the same monofilament leader.

When throwing any topwater lure, I always tie a loop knot. I like this knot over a standard uni knot for topwater baits because it allows the lure to maintain a more back and forth, erratic “walk the dog” action.

The short video demonstration below will explain how to tie a loop knot.

Keep these topwater tips in mind the next time you hit the water on a calm day. Poppers are one of the many great surface lures to choose from.

However, if the forage is smaller, or the bite is tough, tie on a popper and see if it makes a difference. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.


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