Popper Fishing 101 — Tips & How to Fish With Poppers

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Popper fishing is a technique used to catch poppers fish by attracting them with artificial baitfish made from latex or rubber. This technique was invented by Joseph Dickinson in 1995 and has been adopted as a popular fishing method since. 

So, if you’re looking for a new fishing challenge, poppers fish could be just the thing! It is a lot of fun and can be done in any body of water. 

But you’re probably wondering where to start, what gear to get, and how it’s done. In this post, we’ll go over the basics of popper fishing to help you get started on your next adventure!

poppers fish
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Fishing Equipment You’ll Need for Popper Fishing

The best fishing equipment to use when popper fishing is a popper. It is a fishing lure consisting of a short metal wire and an eyelet. It’s one of the best freshwater lures.

The name “popper” may also refer to a trolling technique that uses poppers, producing an audible pop sound from their hook or rod. 

To use the popper lure, you cast it out into the water, then jerk it back by pulling on the line to make pop sound when the rod strikes the surface or bobber, attracting fish in closer.

The topwater poppers can be made from several materials, but poppers are typically sold with natural rubber sleeves.

There are many colors available on cupped face popper lure, depending on what you want your preferred color to represent while out there looking for some largemouth bass. These poppers are attached to a rod made of wood or metal.

Best Equipment to Use

Although many different popper lures are available, they can be divided into Chuggers and Spitters. They look identical on the surface, but the disturbance they cause is what distinguishes them.

We tackle in this section the best poppers fish equipment used for fishing that attracts underwater species.


These are your classic popper lures, designed to pop on the surface. The poppers float in the water as a surface lure.

When they have pulled forward the fishing line in a jerking motion, they plow the water’s surface and create a bubble/dome of water over the lure to mimic predatory fish-catching prey. 

When the bubble bursts, it establishes the popping noise to attract different underwater species like poppers fish. 


A spitter is a style of popper that throws the water out in front of the bait. The top part of their mouth sticks out farther in front, preventing a perfectly round bubble from being created.

This equipment makes an entirely different sound when they work properly and pop on command to attract different species. There will be times when a spitter outperforms a chugger and other times when the opposite will happen.

Best Time and Season to Fish for Poppers

Summer is the best time for you to go popper fishing. Normally, these months are when anglers want to fish because it’s hot outside, which means a popper’s fish can come closer to the water’s surface.

It is also best to fish in poppers during the day when there’s a natural break, such as the early morning or late night. 

Best Places to Fish Bass

If you’re into fishing bass, there are many beautiful fishing sites you can find. But specifically worth mentioning, here’s a list of some great places to rig a popper in the United States.

  • Big Pine Key, Florida Keys area
  • Charleston, South Carolina (Lake Moultrie)
  • Galveston Island and Texas City Coast Guard Base near Houston, Texas (Port Bolivar)
  • Hilton Head Harbor Marina on Hilton Head Island off the South Carolina coast (St. Augustine Beach)
  • Pensacola, Florida
  • Cedar Key, on the Gulf Coast of Florida
  • New Orleans East (near Lake Borgne)
  • Apalachicola Bay near Panama City and Apalachicola.

Steps on Fishing Popper Properly

According to Captain Dave Hansen from yoursaltwaterguide.com, the most common anglers use is casting your slackline into the target area. 

He said it would be best to keep a steady pace and then wait for fish strikes to jerk upwards with a moderately fast retrieve. But below are the detailed instructions on fishing popper properly:

  1. Cast your fishing line from the surface into deep water.
  2. Wait for a few seconds for the fish to bite and reel into the lure.
  3. Use both hands to pull back until you feel resistance, then slowly release pressure with one hand while reeling in with the other.
  4. If you feel the popper is not moving away from the surface and into deep water, pull back with a slow and small force to bring it closer.
  5. The cupped face pops along the surface, thus mimicking the action of prey, such as small insects, small frogs, or even a small injured fish.
  6. If the popper moves off or won’t bite, try changing the surface lures or another site or surface.

Best Popper Tips for A Successful Fishing

A popper is the best tool to lure a bass. But learning the right technique can further help you with popper fishing. So, check out these tips to cover popper fishing the right way.

  • Don’t catch the fish with your hands.  You will end up getting bit or scratched, and you cannot remove a hook from its mouth without causing it harm in some way.
  • Use a net to retrieve the fish off of the poppers and hook when you are done.
  • Avoid fishing in the dark unless you are a professional. Accidents may happen, especially if you are a beginner.
  • Do not use these tips for catching bluegills or crappies, which will be too small and can only be seen with your hands. Poppers are made to retrieve bigger fish.
  • You can fish on a dock or while in a boat. Just be careful not to fall into the water to avoid scaring the fish away.
  • Avoid using a motorized boat as the pop may not be heard or may scare fish away.
  • Topwater lures work best with the wind. It can stir fish up and keep your bait moving. 
  • Be careful while fishing on a boat on a windy day because it may distort your balance. Use the wind to your advantage.
  • Strike your poppers safely. Make sure that you won’t hit anyone near you.

Final Thoughts

Fishing for poppers fish can be a lot of fun for kids and adults alike. It’s an excellent way to spend time with the family, get some fresh air, or just give you something else to do.

It also gives you the chance to explore the outdoors and learn how nature works. You will never know what might happen when your bait lands in the water.

Remember that you don’t need to be a professional angler to go popper fishing.  The best part is that it does not require a lot of skill to get started. There are many DIY poppers you can find on the internet and beautiful fishing sites you can visit. 

So, just follow these how-tos and tips for an enjoyable popper fishing escapade.

Diana Nadim
Fishing Expert
Diana began fishing at the age of seven, as it has been a long-time family tradition. From catching small bullheads to catching strippers on the backwaters of Bighorn, she loves to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water. Her dad was an expert angler, and he taught her fishing along with her two siblings. They used to go to the Bighorn River in Montana and Henry’s fork, Idaho. As a pragmatic person, she is obsessed with creating well-researched and practical guides and reviews of the best fishing methods and gear.
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