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Surf Fishing With Poppers? When should I?

3245 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  bassomatic
Asking "When should I throw a certain kind of lure?" is like asking "Why to baseball teams lose games?". There are so many factors that could lead to an effective/ineffective day throwing topwater. I will do my best to try and answer this.

If you see bunker in the water, yet they arent busting the water too much and are just breaking the surface here and there, well there are a few possibilities. The first most obvious one is, there aren?t any/many fish there. Even if there are a few bunker jumping here and there, it doesn?t mean squat. Bunker are about as smart as the moss that grows in your yard. They scare the crap out of each other, no kidding.

Second, the fish are hugging the bottom for whatever reason, be it boat traffic, non-aggressive conditions etc. If you see this, via flashes in the water, the most important thing to know is your depth. How deep is the area your fishing...are there any drop-offs off points or sandbars? This is a major factor to the key to your success. If the fish aren?t visibly busting, you have to find the level in which they may be holding.

Throw some shallow swimming plugs like redfins or javelins. Then throw some deep diving bombers. Finally buck tails and spoons.

Don't go for the maximum cast every time. Work in to out, increasing 20 feet each cast to that direction. This allows you to key even more to where the fish are holding. It allows you to present bait at even a better variety of depths. It also helps to keep from spooking fish holding behind your cast.

If this doesn?t work, then try the poppers...what do you have to lose? I personally throw a popper first when I hit the water every time. It?s loud and obnoxious, and if the fish are aggressive they will tell me that they are there. I don?t give them much time though. If something is going to hit a popper, he?s gonna do it within 5-10 minutes. Vary speeds also. Bluefish love hauled in lures. Sometimes bass prefer slowed down retrievals with sporadic popping.

Okay, now if you see fish busting on the water. Do you know what kind of fish they are? Are they bluefish? Are they bass? Try and figure that out. Also figure out what they are taking. Sometimes you can throw a piece of wood into a busting school and you'll nail the fish. Other times you'll be in a pool of busting fish getting splashed in the face, and not get a hit.

Why is this? The most important thing I keep stressing, comes from an old fly fishing proverb "match the hatch". Meaning if your fishing and you see pencil fish...Throw on a pencil popper. Rainfish/Spearing? throw on smaller sized whiter finished lures. Bunker? Throw on your 2 oz Gibs Polaris with the black top black dot on the sides. If still no luck theres one final possibility, your bait is outnumbered by 40,000 bunker or 1 million spearing and he don?t care whether he is going after yours or the one right beside it. It?s the luck of the draw.

If you see the fish are bluefish, just throw out your nearly paint-less chomped on poppers and hold on. Bluefish are not often picky at all, and they are gonna mess up your 15 dollar yozuri's :).

Other good times to use a topwater lure whether it is a popper, or a top water swimmer is when the waters are murky, such as after a rainstorm. Fish eyesight is good, but it?s not THAT good. If you can?t see your thighs while wading, chances are fish don?t see your lure 5 feet away. They more so go on instinct and vibrations. If you present a topwater lure, its gives the fish alot more to shoot for. If the water is murky then try lighter colored lures. If the conditions provide sunshine, try something with a chrome fish.

Hmm.Thats about all i got for now. Any other questions feel free to ask.
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Great posts man. This info will help the novice as well as the seasoned angler. Thanks for sharing with us!:)

Going to disagree on a point - that of a fish's site. Just 'cause you can't see 3 feet into the water (at night) doesn't mean a bass is siteless at night too. A fish's eye is constructed to see underwater and a nocternal predator like a bass, to see better at night. Besides, a fish has other sense like sound and vibration to go on.

Many years ago I met a caster who swore he fished Orient Pt, with a white Roberts lure (a surface skipper), at night, and on a fast retrieve. He insisted he took a lot of big fish saying that if a bass is hungery enough it will rise to take it the lure. Take it for what it's worth.

I do know many guys use floating poppers at night, slowly swim-fished, especailly when they need greater distance than a swimming lure can get under the circumstances. And I have seen guys take fish working the surface at night around bridges and other lit areas.

I guess if sub-surface isn't working you have nothing to loose trying a surface lure.

Okay, but your missing my point. My point is, in clear water fish can see further than us. However sediment is not transparent. When the water is filled with a sedimentary base, fish may only have a benefit of a few feet.

Nighttime is different, there is still moonlight, and water clarity is the more important part....not

Black and dark swimmers work great at night, and those black or dark maroon bucktails also catch fish in the dark.

So how do you guys tie the lure onto your line??
Direct to the line?
With a leader?
Tied to the line with a little weight added?
How heavy is your line?
How long of a rod?

Relax! Go fishing. Some tie direct and some use things like snaps. Some use leaders, some not. Some use 9 foot rods, some 10 and some larger and smaller. They all catch fish. Sometimes not.

There are no hard and fast rules. Go fishing with whatever rod and tackle you have. If you don't catch try different setups and when you have some spare bucks buy a different size rod and/or tackle.

Good fishing and have fun.

I think it's very logical to presume fish can see much better (in clear water) than we could even with a mask. Our eyes just aren't evolved for underwater vision.

Case in point: Some years ago I was SCUBA diving the wreck of the Iberia (60 feet of water South of JB inlet) on an unsually clear September day. There was a school of butter fish feeding in the mid-water column off the bow of the wreck. I could see the flash of their bellys from at least 40 feet away.

Now if my human eye can see the flash an aquatic predator (bass, blue, fluke etc) must be able to see it much clearer and from a greater distance.

I don't think color matters much to bass and blues. Their eyes aren't constructed to see color as much as shades of black & white. As such, I think what we see as color is perceived by a bass as differing shades of light and dark. So when we are using a yellow/white or olive/white or even chartreuse/white lure the bass perceives it as just different shades of dark on top, lighter on the bottom.

Afterall, what baitfish in our local waters looks chartreuse or orange or bright red? ;)

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I personally never tie the line directly to the lure unless i ran out of leaders.

2 reasons.
1) Acessibility. Snaps enable you to put a lure on very quickly and also provide the lure better action because there is more room for the lure to "wooble".

2) Strength. I tie 50 lb mono when making leaders. If a fish is running around rocks the most damage to your line will occur closer to the fish.

I double the line at the end by creating a large loop and knot the double loop. It creates two lines before the swivel and if by chance a fish cuts one line, you still have another to try and get him in. I pass the two lines through the swivel, spin 7-10 times and then pass through the loop, and then through the loop created by the first step. Its hard to explain clearly. If i find a picture i will upload :)

As for the clarity think we agree now. But one thing i must say is that color is very important. Fish can see shades, correct. Too us a shade is only a shade, however a fish who is color blind becomes adept at distiguishing the shades because thats all they see all the time.
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I've been told by two guides, and have learned from my own little bit of experience that poppers don't work at night, at least on stripers because they spook the fish. swimmers(bombers, rebel swimmers, redfins, needelfish) with slow retieve and even a "V" wake on the surface is the ticket. Now: how many of you will now post and say " I catch stripers at night on poppers all the time." I'm sure you're out there!
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