Best 11 Popper Fishing Lures – Pro Tips!

Best 11 Popper Fishing Lures – Pro Tips!

This article will list the best 10 popper fishing lures. Poppers are fun lures to fish that produce some exciting strikes. They will fool a wide variety of both freshwater and saltwater game fish.

striped bass fishing tackle

A popper is a fishing lure that floats on the surface. Originally, poppers were hand carved from wood. Today, most are made from plastic. The concave face produces the sound for which the lure is named and is what provides the action that catches fish!

Best 11 popper fishing lures

Just about every lure manufacturer that sells plugs offers some type of popper. While they vary in size, shape, design, and color, all poppers basically work the same. Capt. Jim Klopfer is a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida. He has vast experience fishing all over North America. This is his personal list of his favorite popper fishing lures.

finesse bait for bass

The best 11 popper fishing lures are;

  • Rapala Skitter pop

  • Rebel Pop-R

  • Storm Chug Bug

  • Arbogast Hula Popper

  • Yo-Zuri Hydro Popper

  • Cordell Pencil Popper

  • Strike King KVD Splash Popper

  • Berkley Bullet Pop

  • Atom Striper Swiper Popper

  • Tsunami Talkin Popper

Popper fishing tips

One great advantage of fishing with poppers is that anglers of all experience levels can achieve success. In other words, poppers are very easy to fish! The lure is cast out and allowed to settle a few moments. Then, with the rod tip held low and the line reeled taught, the rod tip is twitched sharply. This will cause the face of the popper to dig into the water, producing the signature “popping” sound while kicking up a surface disturbance. This is repeated several times and then the lure is reeled back in and cast out to another spot.

9 essential smallmouth bass fishing lures

It is important when using a popper, or any other surface plug, to wait until the fish can be felt on the line before setting the hook. It is very exciting when a game fish attacks a popper on the surface and the first instinct many anglers have is to jerked sharply, setting the hook. This will not only result in most of the fish being messed, it can also have the plug with its treble hooks flying back towards the angler.

Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.

Poppers will catch a wide variety of both freshwater and saltwater game fish. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, white bass, pike, musky, pickerel, trout, and even pin fish are all freshwater fish species that will readily take a popper. Saltwater anglers will catch striped bass, bluefish, sea trout, mackerel, snook, redfish, and more.

best northern pike fishing lure

Another advantage poppers have is that color makes less of a difference than when fishing other artificial baits since all the fish sees is the outline from below. Therefore, anglers do not need to stock their tackle boxes with a wide variety of color patterns. A couple basic colors and sizes will get the job done.

Best locations and seasons for fishing with poppers

For the most part, fishing with poppers is done in fairly shallow water. Normally, this is from 1 foot deep 26 feet deep or so. However, factors such as water clarity can change this. Smallmouth bass in particular will rise up from fairly deep water to take a popper. The same applies to some saltwater species such as striped bass. A noisy popper will call in a game fish from a fair distance away and from deeper water at times.

surf fishing

As in all forms of fishing, poppers will produce best when fished around some type of structure that attracts and holds game fish. This can be a weed edge, submerged vegetation, fallen trees or timber, rip-rap, docks, bridges, shorelines, and over submerge structure such as channel edges and points.

In most cases, poppers are most effective when the water temperature is average or above average for the species being sought. Game fish become less active when the water is cold and generally speaking will not be as inclined to take a popper or other top water lure. As with all fishing, there are exceptions to this. Pike and trout both feed actively when the water is cold and will take a popper on occasion when the water is on the chilly side.

surf fishing

One final advantage of fishing with poppers is that they will often aggravate a fish that is not actively feeding into hitting the lure. Poppers do not move very far on the retrieve. They pretty much sit in a very small area producing the popping sound along with spitting water on the surface. This will attract actively feeding fish as well as aggravating fish that are in a neutral or negative mood.

Rapala Skitter Pop

largemouth bass fishing lures

Capt. Jim prefers the Rapala line of lures when it comes to plugs. Therefore, his favorite popper is the Rapala Skitter Pop. It has a plastic cup which produces an excellent fish attracting action and popping sound. It is available in three different sizes and several color patterns.

Click to shop Amazon for Rapala Skitter Pop poppers

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Rebel Pop-R

rebel pop-r

The Rebel Pop-R is a legendary fishing popper, perhaps the one used by more anglers than any other. It comes in three different sizes and has a dressed treble hook on the rear. It comes in several different colors, but many anglers prefer the original silver with a black back.

Click to shop Amazon for Rebel Pop-R poppers

Storm Chug Bug

popper fishing lures

The Storm Chug Bug is another time proven popper. It has a more elongated, slender shape with an oversized head. There are a couple different variations of the Chug Bug line, including saltwater versions with beefier hardware and hooks.

Click to shop Amazon for Chug Bug poppers

Arbogast Hula Popper

hula popper

The Arbogast Hula Popper may rival the Pop-R as the most popular fishing popper of all time. It has been around a long time and has caught many fish. It is thought of more as a bass fishing lure while some of the others are a bit more versatile. This lure comes in four sizes and a handful of fish catching colors, with frogs being the most popular.

Click to shop Amazon for Hula Poppers

Yo-Zuri Hydro Popper

hydro popper

The Yo-Zuri Hydro Popper is a dedicated saltwater popper. It comes in two sizes, both fairly large, along with multiple options on colors. Yo-Zuri is famous for its high quality finishes on fishing lures, and there poppers are no exception.

Click to shop Amazon for Hydro Poppers

Cordell Pencil Popper

percil popper

The Cordell Pencil Popper is another saltwater fishing popper, often associated with striped bass and bluefish. It has a long slender design which makes it a favorite among surf casters as it is less wind resistant. Of course, works well when cast off of boats, too. It is available in three different sizes, all fairly large, up to 2 ounces.

Click to shop Amazon for Pencil Poppers

Strike King KVD Splash Popper

popper fishing lures

The Strike King KVD Splash Popper is a fairly recent addition to the popper market, being designed in part by legendary bass angler Kevin Van Dam. It has more of a broad profile along the lines of the more traditional poppers. It is available in two different sizes and multiple color patterns.

Click to shop Amazon for Splash Poppers

Berkley Bullet Pop

popper fishing lures

The Berkley Bullet Pop is built along the same lines as the lure above. It has the traditional shape and is available and three different sizes with several color options.

Click to shop Amazon for Bullet Pop poppers

Atom Striper Swiper Popper

atom popper

As the name implies, the Atom Striper Swiper Popper is a saltwater lure designed to catch striped bass. It will fool them in freshwater lakes as well. This popper will also catch any large game fish and is very durable, making it an excellent choice for both pike and musky in freshwater. It is available in three sizes and a handful of basic color patterns.

Click to shop Amazon for Atom Poppers

Tsunamu Talkin Popper

fishing with poppers

The Tsunami Talkin Popper is another large and slender popper designed for saltwater fish and larger freshwater species such as northern pike. It is available in three different sizes and multiple color patterns.

Click to shop Amazon for Talkin Poppers

Yo-Zuri 3DB Popper

fishing poppers

The Yo-Zuri 3DB is the final lure in our list of best 11 popper fishing lures. It is available in one size, 3 inches, as well as almost a dozen excellent color patterns. Like all Yo-Zuri lures, the finishes are of the highest quality.

Click to shop Amazon for Yo Zuri 3DB poppers

In conclusion, this article on the best 11 popper fishing lures will help anglers choose the correct baits and encourage them to give this very exciting fishing technique a try!



Jim Klopfer

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Chesapeake Bay waters. Capt Jim has been creating an writing articles about fishing for decades, contributing to many regional and national publications. He also lives part time in the North Carolina mountains where he fishes for trout and other species. Capt Jim Klopfer is a wel rounded angler with 50 years fishing experience, and he loves to share what he has learned with other anglers!

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