With so many great lures available to today’s anglers, picking the right one comes down to knowing the situation. Topwater baits like the Finesse Popper can be situational depending on the season, water temperature, weather conditions, and more.
Bass fishing success is all about finding the right time to throw the correct lure. It is the challenge that keeps us all coming back for more. Professional anglers make a living making these decisions seem easy and have a knack for choosing the right bait. Professional anglers Fred Roumbanis, Bill Lowen, and Michael Murphy share their go-to situations for fishing the Finesse Popper.
The Three Spawns
One of the situations where Bill Lowen reaches for a popper is when there is any spawning activity.
“Any time there is some spawning going on, whether it is largemouth or smallmouth spawning or bream or the shad spawn, I am going to be using the ima Finesse Popper. For me, the popper is a shallow water technique when I am fishing five feet of water or less, and the great thing about it is that you can fish it really slow and just leave it there,” he says. “I’ll twitch it some and walk it some, but you can fish it much slower and more methodically than you can with a walking bait.”
To keep things simple, Lowen matches the color of his popper based on what is spawning. “The Bluegill color is excellent and works well when the bass are spawning or when they are focused on eating spawning bluegill. If it a shad spawn, Bone is hard to beat,” says Lowen.
The Finesse Popper is tailor-made for fishing around shallow cover according to Bill Lowen. “I use it as a target bait when I am shallow. I will fish it around isolated rocks, docks, laydowns and small patches of grass,” he begins. “This popper walks well, and you can do so much with it in terms of how you work the bait. It is also heavy enough that you can use baitcast gear which helps me make more precise casts to those targets.”
Some anglers prefer spinning gear for poppers, but for Lowen, it is more of a power technique. “I have never been a fan of using spinning gear for topwaters and use a rod with a soft tip and some backbone. The rod I use is a 6’10” spinnerbait rod, and I’ll fish it on braided line with a short 12” leader of 17 to 20-pound mono,” he says.
When the Bite Stops
Recall a time when you are catching fish consistently on topwater walking baits, and then the bite suddenly stops. We’ve all been there, and it can be frustrating to see the fun end. This is a situation where Fred Roumbanis switches to the Finesse Popper.
Roumbanis, unlike Lowen, likes to fish it on a spinning rod and light line to maximize his casting distance. “I grew up fishing them on spinning gear, and you can launch it with 10lb braid. It makes it easy to make those longer casts and be stealthy,” he says.
“After the bite slows down for walking topwaters and it gets hot, and the water calms, a popper can be the best way to get a bite. You know the fish are still in the areas you and sometimes you need to change your approach. The Finesse Popper is great because it is so easy to walk and you can also get it to spit and spray water during your retrieve,” adds Roumbanis. “You can also let it sit as long as you need to.”
Each year as summer turns to fall, something changes with bass. Whether it is the length of day, cooling temperatures, or the lake turning over, there is a change in the air. This can lead to tough fishing conditions, and this is one situation where Michael Murphy ties on the Finesse Popper.
“I don’t have solid evidence of what causes the fishing to be tough, but the lake is turning over, and the oxygen levels are changing as well,” begins Murphy who holds a degree in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. “This time of year is the start of prime buzzbait fishing in many parts of the country, and there is a period where bass will start to slap at those baits and won’t commit. The Finesse Popper has a treble instead of the single big hook, and you can usually hook those fish that are just coming up and swatting at it.”
This transition varies when it comes to regional temperatures, but for Murphy in South Carolina, it is water temperature around 75-degrees and the point where it beings to cool down. “There is a time and place for fishing a buzzbait, but the Finesse Popper during this fall transition is excellent because of how you can fish it. It has a unique sound compared to other poppers, and you can also walk it very easily,” Murphy shares. “If the fish want it moving quickly, you can do it, but if you need to slow it down and let it sit, you can do that too. That is something you can’t do with a buzzbait.”
Topwater fishing is a staple for bass anglers who enjoy a surface explosion and chance at a big bass. Like any lure, situations dictate when to throw it, but the Finesse Popper has proven to be a versatile and effective topwater.