Poppers Lessons Learned on Belleville Lake

Bass Poppers Bob's Banger Popper Kayak Bass

Easy trip, low expectations because the bass here see a lot of pressure. I fished a point forming a narrows on this upper end of this Huron River impoundment. Weed growth was at the perfect stage to allow casting to shoreline cover. About 100 yards down the point toward a shallow bay got an 11 inch Smallmouth then a 17 incher that was  bleeding badly before I got a hold of her lip.  The barbless hook came out of her gills easily, I never lifted out of the water and let her go without a photo.  Bluegills were on beds and some big males head butted the 4 inch, 3/0 Popper. Later a really good fish blew up the resting popper 7 feet from the kayak while I was untangling my fly line from my paddle leash.  I felt a little force when I jerked the rod but nothing there wend I managed to try to tighten back up to him.  Could have been one of the few Muskies stock 3 years ago, or a bigger Bass.  Further into the bay, that shoreline started producing 12 inch largemouth that hit tight to shoreline cover, most of which missed the hook or got off quickly.  Some better fish also hit.

"Dead Sticking" is letting the lure sit still, usually at the end of the retrieve, waiting for a curious fish  to hit.  I lack the patience, so for me it usually an accident where I am using the paddle to adjust the kayaks while leaving a floating foam fly out there to take care of itself.  The fish that hit at this time are frequently the biggest ones.  On heavily pressured Largemouth lakes, this is often the only way to get a hit on a surface lure.  Large and Smallmouth Bass, Muskie and Pike all will follow and hit after a long pause.

For pressured bass, pauses are frequently part of the retrieve pattern.  A long pause after the splat down before starting the retrieve or a retrive pattern of 3 pops then pause. For less pressured fish, a steady quick rhythm of medium loud popping works well.

When you see a largemouth moving toward a surface lure in shallow water, frequently the best way to close the deal and get a good hit that results in a solid hook up, is to stop the retrieve and wait for it.

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