When learning how to fish, poppers are a proven method for fishing any species, any where. These topwater lures come in a variety of shapes and sizes and feature a flat or concave front that, as you jerk the rod, creates a popping sound that mimics frantic baitfish.
It is important to know how to rig a popper lure properly since most strikes happen with the first few pops. The easiest way to rig a popper is to use a pre-made leader with a clip that allows you to switch out your lure as you experiment.
What is a popper lure
The popper is an effective and proven lure designed to move water using a concave or hollowed nose. Poppers aim to simulate any sort of distressed creature that might be moving or struggling on the surface of the water (baitfish, frogs, and insects are the most typical imitations). Poppers are used with spin fishing and fly fishing.
Originally this timeless lure was crafted from wood and painted or shaped to match the pattern of baitfish. This quickly evolved into more intricate patterns that mimicked a broader scope of the common prey of predatory fish. Along with different imitations, different materials and technologies have been integrated with this classic platform like rattles, soft bodies, and other synthetic body materials. This iconic pattern has been used to create topwater commotion for many decades, but has been most notable for its presence in bass fishing throughout America.
While the popper has been used to catch fish since its arrival, a universal technique on how to properly fish a popper lure exists. The goal is to get a reaction bite from a member of your target species. Therefore you must present the lure in a way that seems natural to the fish.
First, you must pick out a suitable popper for the type of fish you are going to be fishing for. Important characteristics include the type of material the popper is made out of, the color of the popper, the size of the popper and the locations of hooks on the lure. Secondly, you must tie the popper to your line properly using a strong fishing knot so that the lure will not slip off or be pulled off by a fish.
Next, seek out a target area where you think the desired species of fish will be. Cast your popper out and once it hits the water, let it sit for a few seconds. The sound of the popper hitting the water alone is enough of a disturbance to draw a fish to the sound and induce it to strike at the lure.
How to Rig your Popper
Experienced anglers agree there different ways of rigging different types of poppers. In most cases, the shape of the popper determines the hook combination that will offer the best hook-up rate. The target species also plays a significant role in how you’ll rig the popper.
Step 1: Select a medium-sized rod
When rigging your popper, it’s advisable to use a medium-sized rod. It will be of immense help when setting the hook. Besides, it helps you easily tire and fight the fish before pulling it out of the water. A medium sized fishing rod is between 1.8-2.1m (6-7ft). The ideal rod should be long enough to enable you to cast the popper in the right spot. Such rods are available online, in outdoor supply stores, or departmental stores.
Step 2: Ensure the rod is comfortable on your hands
The ideal braided line for rigging your popper should be around 18kg (40lb). You get the best results if you pair your popper to a study braided line. The fish should not easily spot the line. Experiment with braided line 14-to 18 kg (30-40pounds) and choose the best. Also, test the line to make sure it won’t break when the fish is grabbing the bait.
When rigging your popper lure, spool-braid the fishing line on the reel or use a reel that already has a braided line. Alternatively, if you can get a braided line, you may use a monofilament line ranging from 7.7-9.1kg (17-20 pounds). These filaments can withstand significant force.
Step 3: The reel ratio
Set your reel at a higher gear ratio. This allows you to have sufficient time to set your hook in case a fish grabs your popper lure suddenly and decides to swim off. At least, you dial should be at a ratio of 7:1. Remember, some reels feature a preset ratio. In such a case, choose one with a higher gear ratio when fishing with poppers. Indication lines on the dial help you to know where you’re setting the gear ratio.
Step 4: Secure the popper to your line
Finally, you need to set the popper on the line via tying a basic loop. You’ll achieve this by slipping the line’s end via the metal lop or eye on the popper’s mouth. You need to push about 20cm (8 inches) of slack via the eye to enable you to form a knot. Keeping your fingers inside the loop, hold the eye using your thumb and index finger, allow it to back over itself. Wrap the line about five times around itself, thread its end via the loop, and complete the process by pulling it tight. Use a knife to trim any excess line. Ensure your popper is firmly held on the line and can’t come off when the fish bites. The loop knot is the simplest and best way of securing the popper on the line.
How to Catching Fish with a Popper
Cast the popper as close to the target area as possible. Look for shallow sloughs or still pockets of water near the bank and cast your popper as close as you can to where you think the fish are waiting. Aim for slower moving water to try to attract predatory fish like trout, bass, and pike. Avoid casting into fast-moving streams or the fish may not be able to hear the noise created by the popper.
Keep the top of your fishing rod held high. Poppers create a commotion on the surface of the water and mimic the sound and movements of a dying baitfish. Keep the tip of your fishing rod held high so the popper lure stays near the surface of the water.
Lowering the tip of your rod will cause the popper to sink down into the water, which prevents it from making the “popping” sound that attracts fish.
Reel the popper in at a steady pace. Once you cast the popper lure out into the water, start reeling it in towards you at a constant pace. The concave mouth of the lure will cause the popper to jerk and move around as you reel it, which will attract the attention of larger fish.
Change up the speed that you reel the popper in with each cast to find one that gets the attention of the fish. Don’t reel too slowly or the popper lure will not mimic the natural movements of a baitfish.
Twitch the rod occasionally to create a popping sound to attract fish. As you’re reeling the popper lure in, give the rod a quick snap every few seconds. The concave mouth of the lure will create a “popping” sound as it’s jerked through the water. The noise and movement will cause predatory fish to investigate what sounds to them like an easy meal. Be careful not to overdo the popping or you may scare off the fish.
Jerk the rod upwards when you feel a bite to set the hook. Whenever you feel a nibble or a small jerk of your fishing rod, sharply raise it upwards to cause the hook to pierce the mouth of the fish. This will set the hook and make it impossible for the fish to spit the lure out of its mouth. Only set the hook once! If you snap or jerk the rod repeatedly, you could rip the hook out of the mouth of the fish.
Bring the fish in toward you by reeling it in steadily. After you set the hook and snag a fish, it will continue to fight until it tires itself out. Don’t try to reel the fish in as fast as you can or you could potentially pop your line or rip the hook from its mouth. Instead, reel at a slow and steady pace and let the fish tire itself out by not allowing too much tension to build up in the line. When the fish is near you or the edge of your boat, pull it out of the water and place it into a net. Wear safety gloves when you pull the hook from the fish’s mouth so you don’t accidentally stab yourself.