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I LOVE fishing topwater lures for bass! There's simply few angling experiences more thrilling than the surface explosion of a fish taking a bait as you watch it happen before your eyes. And while there are about as many types of topwater lures as there are ... well, let's just say there's a lot ... I find few as versatile and effective as a popper.
But as a self-proclaimed "Tackle Tinkerer," I've never found a "perfect popper" right out of the package. For my money, it takes a few modifications to make the Perfect Popper, and it starts with the right lure, a Storm Rattlin' Chug Bug. I like these because they have a more subtle pop than most other poppers, and with the right modification and a little practice, you can "walk the dog" with this bait adding to it's deadlines.
Step #1: Change out the factory hooks for more premium hooks - I use Mustad Triple Grips, including a Mustad Dressed Triple Grip Treble on the rear. (I like a red hook on the front - just personal preference.) The feathers of the Mustad Dressed Treble give a much more seductive action than the stiff and flashy dressing that comes on the factory rear hook.
Step #2: I add an oblong split ring for a line tie. I just find this to be an easy and effective way to ensure the best action when working the lure. The oblong split ring also makes it tougher for the line to get caught in the wire of the ring when fishing, lessening the chances of break-offs from line wear. This style of split ring is a little tough to find, but well worth the effort.
Step #3: The final step may well be the most important one, at least as far as making this lure "dance" like no other. I add a Storm SuspenStrip to the belly of the lure near the rear. The SuspenStrip is a small (1" x 1/4") self-adhesive strip of lead tape. The added weight makes the lure sit "tail down" when at rest. It's my opinion that this position combined with the action of the feather tail helps trigger more bites when the lure is at rest between pops, as well as making it easier to "walk" the bait on a steadier "stop & go" retrieve.
There may not be any "Secret Weapon Lure" when it comes to bass fishing, but in my experience, a well fished popper that has been modified to get the optimum action and attraction is tough to beat.