Casting a Popper on a Spinning Reel

Spinning reel combos are the main choices of most anglers that do a lot of casting with assorted fishing luressuch as poppers and swim baitsfor striped bass and bluefish. Spinning reels are the most popular because these reels easily give the angler adequate distance when casting. This is not to say that bait casting reels won’t give you proper casting distance.  However, there is a bit of a learning curve with bait casting reels in order to get this distance.  So, unless you have time to practice, and don’t mind picking through a whole bunch of main line snarled revolving reel spools, stick with spinning reel combos to deliver your lures to feeding fish. 

The styles and types of lures available on the retail market that work well with spinning reels is almost endless. Fishing lures called poppers are extremely fun to deploy because these are surface swimming lures.  The added bonus of the surface swimming poppers is that they allow the angler to see the fish striking the lure.  This definitely turns up the adrenaline, especially when there are both stripers and bluefish feeding in the area you are casting to.

In addition, I like to use popping lures when I’m in a hurry to probe a spot to see if there are any fish willing to strike my lure.  I will not fish a spot very long if I don’t see signs that fish are present. Poppers are great lure to draw a look from a bass or blue even if the fish is not really in a positive feeding mode.  Many times, even if I don’t catch a bass or blue on the popper, I’ll often get a strike on the surface that lets me know that there are some fish in the area.  I’ll throw the popper for a little while longer, but if I don’t catch a fish, I will switch to a deeper probing lure such as a bucktail or swim bait.  I’ll cast the deeper probing lure on my spinning reel and often this lure switch will result in a hook up. 

Poppers work best or stripers when the lure is retrieved slowly along the surface, and popped with the rod tip, so the plug sloshes and gurgles at the surface, throwing up lots of water.  Simply casting the lure out on the spinning reelcombo and retrieving it very fast back to you will catch bluefish, but rarely any stripers.  To best fool a striper make the popper look like an injured bait fish having difficulty swimming.

My last piece of advice when casting poppers is doesn’t be trigger happy when setting the hook. It is best to hesitate upon seeing the first explosive surface swipe at the lure.  If you are too quick the result will be pulling the popper away from the stalking fish. Upon a strike on the popper it is best to wait for the weight of the fish to be felt on the line before rearing back on the spinning reel combo in order to set the hook home.

Captain Tom Mikoleski is the successful fishing charter captain of the Grand Slam who sails out of Montauk, NY for trophy striped bass, doormat fluke, jumbo porgies, humpback sea bass, and monster sharks. Captain Tom is the author of Bass Buff — A Striper Fishing Obsession Guide