Now, there’s no denying their effectiveness, just as there’s no doubting the reasons behind their popularity.
But when topwater is king, the humble popper is hard to beat. One of the oldest lures out there, the popper has earned its place in your tackle box. Designed with a flat or concave front that creates noise and vibration when jerked, these lures are among the best options when the sun is low in the sky and the heat is oppressive.
If you want to know more about poppers, keep reading!
Quick glance at the best poppers for bass fishing:
Table of Contents (clickable)
The venerable Rebel Pop-R is a fixture in many tackle boxes, and one look explains why.
Featuring an asymmetrical mouth that pushes water like mad, it ups the ante on vibration and noise, ringing the dinner bell for hungry bass. It also comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, making it easy to match the hatch where you fish.
Two sharp #6 trebles ride on this lure, and there’s just enough fringe (with a red accent) to add a touch of excitement to the tail.
I like the ¼-ounce, 2 ½-inch model, but the Teeny Pop-R and Magnum Pop-R both deserve a close look.
Where I learned to fish, the words “Hula Popper” were spoken with reverence.
This crazy-looking lure, named for its long, trailing skirt, is known for its bold colors and patterns and wide, gaping mouth. Designed to cause a ruckus on the surface, it’ll draw big bass from deep cover - no question about it.
My favorite size is the 2 ¼-inch, ⅝-ounce offering, though I’m agnostic about whether two trebles work better than one.
For thick cover or tossing these topwater lures up among the lily pads, alligator grass, and thick overgrowth, one treble with the lower hook removed can be a good choice as it cuts down on snags without significantly impairing lock-up.
Yo-Zuri never fails when it comes to lure design, and they make some of the best-looking, hardest-fishing models you can find at any price.
The 3DB popper, running a full 3 inches and weighing in at ⅝ ounces, is an exceptional choice for topwater.
Available in seven iridescent patterns and colors, this big popper roughs the water like a champ and creates plenty of vibration. And like the Pop-R, you’ll find a small skirt with a red accent to add just a bit of excitement to the tail.
Lunkerhunt built its reputation on a line of frogs that are the best in the business, and they clearly have the topwater expertise to design a winning popper.
Their Impact Crush weighs just ⅓ of an ounce but measures 2 ½ inches long. Each of the three colors this lure comes in is a good choice, and all three wear a long forward treble and a shorter rear treble covered in a flowing skirt with the red accent you’d expect.
These lures make a racket when popped - just as they should.
Strike King’s Junior KVD Splash offers hyper-realism, and if you can find a popper with a paint scheme that looks more real, let me know!
Combine that with a big, loud mouth, a red-accented feathered skirt, and two big, sharp trebles, and you’ve got a winning topwater combination.
And if you fish where the water runs anything but clear, you’ll be pleased to find a wide assortment of colors and patterns to match your conditions. At 2 ¼ inches and 3/16 ounces, this popper is sized right for most anglers, too.
I have an ongoing, deep love affair for Bett’s poppers.
For fly anglers, there’s no better option for bass than these tiny insect look-alikes, and though some anglers are scared off by their hook size, believing it’s too small for largemouth, the hundreds of bass I’ve caught with them beg to differ!
I’ve also used these flies on an ultralight, casting them with the help of a water bubble, and to say that they’re deadly is something of an understatement.
Designed with a wide mouth and short body, they offer a skirt and plastic legs that drive bass wild.
I’ve had bass hit these so hard that they ripped the hooks off the back. And I have tried and true poppers that are on their second or third paint job.
Do yourself a favor and pick some of these up.
Poppers can be super effective once you know what to do with them.
Many anglers prefer a 7-foot, medium-action rod with a medium-fast action for their poppers. These provided plenty of casting power and a strong backbone for a hard fight, but they won’t jerk the treble hooks free on the hook set as easily as their heavy-powered or faster alternatives.
All three line types work well with poppers, though the propensity of fluorocarbon to sink slightly faster than braid works against topwater logic.
My preference is mono or braid, and if I choose to run braid in clear water, I’ll run a mono leader to reduce visibility and provide some shock absorption.
When you cast a popper, the best bet is to leave it alone until the ripples disappear.
Often, aggressive bass will hit it after the cast, and you don’t need to do a thing to make that happen.
When those initial ripples have died down, give the popper a gentle jerk to pop it through the water on the surface. A big splash is what you’re aiming for here.
A slow cadence is a good starting point, though you should vary that until you find what the bass are looking for at that moment.