Many anglers use this trio of Deps topwater bass fishing wakebaits one way – with a steady, wide-wobbling action that wakes the surface. Yet there is another slower, more suspenseful, often more exciting and productive tactic – to pop and pause for a lingering instant between each pop. Most hits come during the pause, and often within the first few pops after the lure splashes down. Indeed, many bass will blast it the instant it splashes down on the surface, before you even get a chance to turn the reel handle! That initial splashdown is always a high percentage strike moment – so don’t be in a rush to start your retrieve. Just let it sit and soak for up to 10-15 seconds because you may get blasted before you even move it.
When you do begin to retrieve, simply pop and pause the Buzzjet Jr, the Buzzjet 96 or Spiral Minnow all the way back to the boat as if using a traditional dish-faced popper – and you may get blasted at any moment, almost always during the pause. Although these Deps lures do not have the cupped mouth of a traditional popper, the upper jaw and lower lip juncture forms a wide vee-shaped slot that ejects a mouthful of water and loud splashing noise when you pop one. You can pop softly or pop forcefully to make one chug loudly, and because these are all propbaits you can even rip one harder than is possible with a traditional popper.
Given the the water pressure against the lip, these lures will also roll, flash their broad sides and wake whenever crawled a few feet between pops, and again that’s another action that isn’t possible with a traditional popper.
So you get the splashing action of a popper or chugger, the action of the proptail plus the rolling, waking side-flashing action of a lipped surface crawler – all in one.
Ready to rumble
The Buzzjet Jr, Buzzjet 96 and Spiral Minnow all have yet another strike triggering action. There’s an internal rumble strip and a large rattle bead inside that rolls forward when you pop it, and then when you pause it, you can clearly hear the bead rumble back down the rumble strip toward the tail, causing the bait to move tail down as it dips its flashing proptail below the surface – and that, dear reader, is usually the action that triggers bass to belt it. So pause to listen for the rumble after you pop it and as the tail dips below the surface…get ready to rumble!
Long distance draw
When spot-casting to specific fish-holding cover features, you may rely on using lighter pops when bass are holding in such cover and therefore in close vicinity to the bait.
When blind fishing broad expanses of featureless flats, open water, or wherever bass may be scattered, always mix in some loud chugs and forceful rips to call bass in from quite a distance. Overall, popping these Deps lures is a slow approach, the bait is not moving very far or very fast, and you can use the loud chugging sound and the long lingering around on the pause to give roaming or resting bass enough time to find their way over to the source of the struggling commotion from a surprisingly far distance. Don’t discount how far they will travel – it’s what they do. They instinctively sense they have sufficient time to come over to investigate whereas with a faster-moving presentation such as say a spinnerbait, crankbait or a faster-moving topwater, they would calculate they do not have enough time to move that longer distance.
Not setting the hook
Since most bass hit a popped Buzzjet Jr, 96 or Spiral Minnow during the pause, you may see a bass blow up on the bait – but feel nothing on your rod or line. Even if you see the fish take the lure but you feel nothing, do nothing. WAIT until you feel the weight of the fish, and you will hook almost every one. This is very hard to do nothing – to wait when a fish has just blasted your bait to smithereens, but if you react to the visual strike (without feeling it), you will miss more than you hook until you adjust your reaction timing to wait for the weight.
Best trebles to use
What is the best treble hook to use with topwater lures? The answer is, “The one you just replaced.” Simply, no used hook is ever so sharp as a new one. Replacing hooks after every several fish is the best way for you to catch several more fish. On the other hand, the longer you wait before replacing used trebles; the higher your missed strike ratio will climb. So replace trebles after every few trips or every few fish, whichever comes first. It is the best topwater tip you may ever get.
The Buzzjet Jr comes with #6 hooks. Right out of the box, you may want to replace them with the 1X-strong VMC 9650BN #4 black nickel or similar high-quality hook brand and model by Owner, Gamakatsu or Mustad. You will hook and land more bass by upgrading to bigger #4 hooks on the Buzzjet Jr.
This same hook – the VMC 9650BN #4 or similar – makes a great replacement for the Spiral Minnow. Again, the brand is not as important as fishing new hooks after a few fish.
The Buzzjet 96 wears a #2 9650BN well.
Give popping the Deps Buzzjet Jr, Buzzjet 96 and Spiral Minnow a try! Now that you know how, you may never opt to wake one again.