Topwater Bass

topwater bass

Springtime Action With a Pop-R

Spring has sprung and with the birds singing and the redbuds blooming it’s a sign of great things to come. Like springtime topwater action! There’s nothing better than a good topwater bite in the morning or anytime you can get it. Spring is a great time to catch a giant bass. A topwater bait might just be the bait to trigger it into biting.

Fishing for Bass in Shallow Water

Bass are moving to the shallows in the spring to spawn as well as to gorge after a long winters nap. They’re hungry and find it hard to resist a topwater bait. There’s nothing like a bass exploding on your topwater bait on a calm spring morning. A great springtime topwater bait is the infamous Rebel Pop-R . There are many topwater baits on the market today, because they work. While the Hula Popper had its day, the Rebel Pop-R has stood the test of time.

Rebel Pop-R

Anybody that has been around bass fishing for any length of time has probably heard of the Rebel Pop-R. The Pop-R came onto the scene in 1976 and really never caught on at first. It was dropped from the Rebel lineup. This was great news for tournament anglers. Zell Rowland, who is considered the reason for the return of the Pop-R, as well as other well known anglers like Rick Clunn used the Pop-R. They used the Pop-R with great success until the secret was leaked by a writer covering Zell Rowland’s win at the 1986 B.A.S.S. Super Invitational at Chicamagua Lake. In 1987 the Pop-R was back and Rebel sold more than a million of them. It became one of the best selling lures in company history and sales continue to this day because the Pop-R works.

The Rebel Pop-R

Pop-R’s can be worked a few different ways and can call bass from 20 feet deep in clear water provided you find the presentation the bass desire. Pop-R’s can be worked slow or fast and it’s even possible to “walk the dog” with the Pop-R. Finding the cadence and action the bass want on a particular day will take a little experimenting on the anglers part. Sometimes the bass want the Pop-R worked slow with long pauses between pops. This is usually the case in dirty water. Other times the bass want the bait worked fast with non-stop chugs all the way to the boat and this is often the case in clear water.

It helps to have an idea on what the bass might want on any given day as a starting point. If the weather has been stable and the water temp is rising into the upper 50’s or 60’s start with a fast cadence. The bass are probably active. Working the Pop-R with a steady retrieve with just a microsecond pause between pops can work well when bass are active and it also allows you to cover more water looking for active bass. This movement can also fool a bass in clear water because it can’t get a good look at it. 

Another great fast pace cadence with a little less pop and more of a splash or spit action is to walk the dog with your Pop-R. It takes practice and I’ve yet to master it, but it works. Walking the dog with a Pop-R is done in the same manner you would walk the dog with a Zara Spook or Sammy. The Pop-R doesn’t glide along like those baits therefore requires a little more practice. Sometimes this technique is what the bass want. It’s a great presentation to add to your springtime topwater bass arsenal.

Searching for Topwater Bass

The Pop-R is an awesome search bait in the spring when bass are spawning. Oftentimes the bass will only boil on the bait to try to scare it away from their bed. This will pinpoint where the bass is spawning. A great tactic is to follow the boil with a wacky worm or Texas rigged craw. Let it sit on the bottom where the bass boiled on your Pop-R. More than likely the bass is going to bite your presentation or pick it up to move it. This gives you a chance to set the hook. The fact that the bass swirled at your Pop-R tells you that it’s aggressive. She won’t tolerate anything near her bed.

Topwater Tackle

A good Pop-R set up would include a 6’ 6” medium action rod with a high speed reel spooled with 12 to 15 pound test monofilament. You need a shorter rod to be able to easily work the Pop-R with a downward motion. A longer rod makes it a little awkward. The rod tip can hit the water’s surface unless you’re a tall angler. The high speed reel allows you to get the Pop-R back to the boat to quickly cast to a new target. It also helps when a bass boils and you want to get your Pop-R to that spot before it’s too late. Monofilament is another vital part of tackle. Monofilament floats better than other lines. When your line sinks it can cause the Pop-R to dive. This isn’t what you want. 

Springtime topwater bass time is here. What a great time to be on the water chasing springtime topwater bass with a Pop-R. Fell the excitement it brings especially with young anglers. If you can get on a good topwater bite and you want to get a kid hooked on bass fishing bring them along. I promise it won’t take that many times when a big bass explodes on their Pop-R to etch an indelible impression into their minds making every spring to them a time to throw a Rebel Pop-R.

Check Out Spawning Process: Largemouth Bass

About Ken McBroom 218 Articles
Ken McBroom is an accomplished outdoor writer and photographer. Growing up in Lynchburg Tennessee allowed him many opportunities afield as a boy and young man. Later in life, after Desert Storm, Ken’s wanderlust took him to Alaska to live and work and experience the last frontier. Married now with two beautiful children, Ken now calls Kentucky home where he continues to communicate our American outdoor traditions and the lifestyle it offers.

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