It’s topwater bass fishing time across much of the country. Bass are either still shallow, making their way through the bedding process, chasing bedding baitfish around or making their way offshore along with the bait. In all these situations, bass are susceptible to a good topwater lure.
Today, we’re going to be reviewing a type of topwater that works really well up shallow, a popper— the Hardcore Popper 70F, to be exact. So let’s get to it.
The first thing I noticed with this popper that sets it apart from many others is its castability. There’s a magnetic weight transfer system inside this bait that makes it super easy to cast, both accurately and long distances. When the bait is sitting in the water and being worked along the surface, there’s a metal ball that sticks to a magnet in the belly of the bait.
But when you go to cast the bait, the ball dislodges from this magnet in your backcast and then loads up in the tail of the bait to make it more aerodynamic as the bait is released and flies through the air tail-first. Some poppers feel like you’re trying to cast a potato chip and have a tendency to flail around as the fly through the air, making them hard to cast accurately or far. That’s definitely not the case with the Hardcore Popper 70F.
Pop and walk
This is a really easy bait to work whether you want to pop the bait along or walk it. It has what I’d consider a medium pop or chug to it. It’s not really what I’d consider a finesse popper but it also doesn’t have a super aggressive, big chug to it. Just a nice little chug on a moderate twitch of the rod tip.
I was really surprised with how easy this bait is to walk. My favorite poppers all walk really well, too. I like to be able to pop a bait along sometimes and then walk it sometimes, especially if I’m fishing around targets where there’s a tight strike zone or if a fish comes up and misses the bait. If you’re fishing with a popper that you can walk well, walking the bait in place will often generate a follow-up strike from a bass that missed it on the first swipe.
Hooks and looks
The Hardcore Popper has a nice set of round bend black nickel No. 4 treble hooks on it. I like the round bend on a topwater like this since fish will often just swipe at a bait. With some of the other style hooks where the hook point is turned in a little, you have less of a chance of hooking these swiping bass than you do with the round bend.
The back treble is also feathered, which I really like on a popper as well. It gives off the look of a baitfish’s tail and really masks the hook well, which helps lure the bass in since it’s right there in their face. There are also little details molded into this bait like its gill plates and scale patterns. These may realistically do more to catch my attention than that of a bass but I really like the added detail nonetheless. Perhaps that detail accompanied by the feathered tail treble is just enough to convince a hesitant bass to bite.
Colors, size and final thoughts
The Hardcore Popper comes in a wide variety of color options, 12 in all. You have everything from black to bone on the solid color spectrum and then there are several colors designed to mimic shad, bluegill and other baitfish. The feathered trebles are also designed to match the particular color bait, which is a nice touch. Many poppers just have a white feather tail regardless of the color of the bait.
The bait comes in at 70 millimeters or roughly 2 3/4 inches and weighs 3/8 ounce. For an MSRP of $9.99, you’re getting a durable bait with which you can do a lot, so the price point isn’t bad at all in my opinion. Again, having a bait you can both pop and walk is a difference maker when shopping for a good popper and the Hardcore Popper 70F does both really well.
The wide variety of color schemes, attention to detail and feathered back hook are common fare among quality poppers. But the magnetic weight transfer system is what really sets this one apart from other baits out there. It’s definitely a bait worth trying if you’re looking for a good mid-sized popper.