5) Popping Wedge Pattern & Sterling State Park Bass, May 22

Bass Poppers Popping Wedge

I portaged to a back pond and began prospecting for bass.  This is a shallow pond with lots of wood cover and many kinds of weed cover.  Two years ago I fished here at this time during a much warmer spring.  Then, the weed growth was more advanced and the water level not so crazy high.  I caught lots of bass on a 2/0 White Popping Wedge, some up to 19 inches.   

As I worked around the pond, I found 13 inch bass widely scattered in dead cattail stalks or relating to shoreline wood cover.  After the 2nd bass was solidly hooked in the center gill cartilage, I got him off with much careful effort and no blood.  I broke the barb off and continued up the shoreline. After the 5th scattered bass took the 2/0 White Popper, I got to good looking cover and set up to take video. 

I got great video of the popper walking back to the kayak.  No hits, so I changed to a 2/0 Purple popper and got several shots of Bass eating the popper as it did a steady Bloop-Bloop walk back to the kayak.  This steady rhythm retrieve is great for poppers in open water, for Stripers, Musky and frequently for Bluegill, as well as Large and Small Mouth Bass.

The (Marabou) Popping Wedge can also be worked as a floater-diver.  Either way it  has great action and works very good for fish in ambush mode around cover in muddy or clear water. Great for Bass, Pike, Snook, Tarpon, and Redfish in the mangroves, etc.  The foam head floats it with the tail feathers at a downward angle.  When you pop it, the slanted face drives the head down an inch or more, shaking the tail upwards.  As the head quickly floats back up the slanted face pushes back slightly on the tail and the tail falls back in behind the quickly rising head.  The flash curls and waves, the marabou flops and pulses, the  splayed rubber leg colar opens and contracts.  Repeat in a quick steady rhythm.  You can slow the rhythm if you think the water is cold for instance.  When I throw back to a missed hit, I try a slower and subtler presentation.

  • Hook:    #4 to 4/0  1Xshort or standard length, straight eye.
  • Thread:  210 Flymaster+ or similar, it's mainly buried under head and collar.
  • Tail:       Generous marabou about 3 times hook length.
  • Collar:   1 or 2 long, webby schlappen wound in touching wraps over the tail butts. 
  • Flash:    Flashabou folded on both sides, past the tail, 3 pcs (+ or -)
  • Legs:    Red Rubber 2 to 5 strands splayed to each side, trim to 1/3 tail length.
  • Head Space:   front 1/2 of hook shank is left bare, wrap a thick thread base.
  • Head:    Foam Cylinder, diameter about = hook gap, sliced at angles as shown.
  • Trim back of head to match length of bare shank.
  • Poke your glue hole starting at exact bottom center of the front face, 1/16 inch below flat belly surface, part way back toward bottom center, 1/2 way back to the back face.
  • Put a dulled toothpick in the front half of your glue hole to act as a visual target. Poke from the back face bottom center to hit the toothpick in the front hole. work the dull toothpick in and out form both end till both holes connect in the center.  
  •   Apply waterproof glue to thread base and a bit inside the hole. Push and twist to get the head back over the shank.  Align the hook 90 degrees to the flat bottom face.

     Bass were hitting confidently, zero missed hits.  Broken Barb hooks worked great, about 12 landed, only one lost.  The best bass was 17 inches, over all they averaged close to 15 inches. almost all were hooked back in the gills.  I got all the rest off without any bleeding.  I landed all but one, that one actually hit wile I was accidentally trolling behind the kayak while I slowly paddled to a new casting position.  I think they committed to eating before they saw the color. 

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