Pro angler John Murray shares 6 timely bass fishing tips using the infamous Whopper Plopper, emphasizing his favorite times and situations for this lure and how downsizing to the smaller versions can lead to newfound success. Murray knows a thing or two about fishing with the Whopper Plopper. He was the first pro bass fisherman to have the original bass version, but it took him a little while to learn how to fish it properly. We all benefit from his learning!
- TOPWATER – River2Sea Whopper Plopper 90, color – 29 Sooner 3 1/2″
- ROD – SixGill Kratos Series Casting Rod, 7’6” MH
- REEL – SixGill Hamarr Series Casting Reel, 7.0:1
- LINE – Berkley X5 Braided Line, 30-pound
Murray’s 6 Tips to Whopper Plopper success:
- Use to locate fish. Like a buzzbait, the Whopper Plopper performs best on a steady retrieve which means you can cover a ton of water in a hurry. Moreover, Murray stresses the fact that bass go to the lure as opposed to you bringing the bait to a bass. If they’re around, they show themselves so you can start peacing the puzzle together.
- Fish early and late. Low light periods are primetime for the Whopper Plopper, especially in the summer and on bluebird days. Be on the water before the sun comes up to find and gauge the mood of the bass. Most of your explosive topwater bites will come when the rest of us are still sleeping.
- Downsize. Designed initially for musky fishing (190 size), the Whopper Plopper comes in 4 smaller versions (130, 110, 90 & 75). Murray reaches for the 90 size a lot these days, especially when targeting bass in extremely skinny, pressured water. Forage factors in too. Go smaller during bug hatches, like the mayfly hatch in the video. Small baitfish is another indicator to downsize.
- Fish using a straight retrieve. Murray is humble and honest when he states he fished the Whopper Plopper incorrectly for an entire year. Don’t fish it like a prop bait. Instead, treat it as a buzzbait, reeling it at a steady cadence so its distinctive fish-catching sound can put bass in a trance. Sure, work in a few pulls and speed and directional changes, but experience has shown it doesn’t perform at its peak with pause and rest cycles.
- Adjust your rod angle during the retrieve. An engaged prop is the key to success with the Whopper Plopper. Given the bait’s design, Murray advises you to start the retrieve with your rod tip up and slowly lower it as the lure approaches the boat.
- Use a straight braid and a soft rod. This beefy bait comes with stout hooks, so most anglers opt for a braided line in the 30- to 50-pound test range, depending on the lure size. Zero stretch line coupled with treble hooks means you’ll achieve a better hook-to-land ratio using a slower action rod. Additionally, a longer rod casts the bait further, an important consideration when targeting pressured bass in shallow water.