Ask any 10 fishermen what their favorite ways to fish for bass are, and you’ll get a significant percentage that say topwater. What’s not to love about it. You get to make the bait do interesting things, you often see the fish stalk and strike the lure and it can be a good way to catch a big fish when other techniques fail. All that combines to give anglers a love topwater fishing.
Well there’s another topwater lure that anglers are going to have a crush on from Rapala. The Rapala X-Rap Pop is a new popper that will add another twist to their popper arsenal. The bait is just shy of three inches long but has a slender profile. It casts really well at 3/8 ounce. The tail feather gives it a nice profile in the water.
The real draw though for avid topwater anglers is going to be the action and sound when it’s being worked. Anglers who are very accomplished with poppers vary in what types of actions they like. Some guys like to walk a popper with small pops and chugs. Some guys like a deep gulp and big bubble when they pop it. And then others like a bait to spit and splash more than chug.
A lot of anglers got very good with modifying poppers to give them different actions. I’ve been playing with this popper for more than two months and I can honestly say this one popper will do all three things well. Without shaving any lips or adding weight to the tail or belly.
Part of the reason for this is a unique shape in the mouth. A good deal of poppers have a rounded or upside down triangle shape to them so that the top of mouth has a broader roof than the bottom of the cupped mouth. This bait is reversed in that the base of the mouth is wider and then mouth of the bait is shaped like a rounded triangle. This unique shape allows the bait to scoop a bunch of water on a hard pull. However because it sits tail down in the water if you give it a scooting twitching you can make it just spit with out chugging too hard.
I experimented with tying loop knots and direct to the bait. It seems you can even walk the lure with very small twitches. It will dance back and forth making a small commotion without moving forward too far. That can be deadly for twitching the bait around isolated cover in clear water or on those days when you see the bass just slurping at the surface and not necessarily breaking the surface in a big commotion.
The bait fishes really well on monofilament and I feel even better on braid. I’ve tested the popper on both types of line. I’ve fished it on Seaguar Senshi Monofilament 14-pound test and Seaguar Kanzen braid 35-pound test. I’ve tested the bait on both a 7-foot medium action St. Croix Mojo Bass rod and a 6-foot, 8-inch 802JBC Denali Rod. Both reels were the Abu Garcia Revo STX.
The lure has produced more than 100 bass already. The paint and finish has withstood the abuse very well so far, although the feather has gotten chewed up badly from all the fish. It’s caught smallmouth as well as largemouth. I’m sure it will be equally effective for spotted bass too if they happen to school as well.
One interesting note on the lure is we’ve actually had on more than one occasion fish start schooling around the lure that weren’t otherwise schooling on the water’s surface. We’ve found with a little experimentation with how hard you pull and snap the lure, you can actually mimic the sound of a bass busting a shad on the surface. They make a distinct sound that we describe as a punching sound. They charge baitfish with their mouth open and make a “boosh” noise. It’s not a slapping splash of a fish coming up and rolling on the surface.
That punching strike often gets other close-by bass coming to the surface if baitfish are present. This lure has done that on more than one occasion, something we’ve not seen with many other poppers.
We’re extremely impressed with how versatile the popper is, how good it looks in the water, and how well it has held up to a lot of bass. The hooks are very sticky sharp and we’ve landed a couple of doubles on it, so the bait handles the stress of a lot of weight as well.
The bait is set to retail for $11.49 and will come in six colors. We really like the Mossback Shiner color. The baits should be available sometime this fall just in time to get in on some topwater action in the backs of creeks and bays on your favorite fishery.