I had been hearing a lot of talk about the Strike King KVD Popping Perch lately, so I decided to put it to the test on my home waters. It’s similar to a traditional hollow-bellied frog, but it has some unique differences that I wanted to assess.
Not your average legs
Instead of the traditional two-legged design you see on most hollow-bodied topwater baits, the Strike King KVD Popping Perch has several pieces of long, rubber skirting. You’ll notice that each strand is a different length. I’ll admit that it looks a bit odd when you first remove it from the package, but it’s actually a really intelligent design idea.
Of course, bass will be looking at this bait’s silhouette from beneath. When the Popping Perch is at rest on the surface, this rubber skirting actually looks like the tail of a small panfish on its side. Bass are naturally drawn to injured prey, so the idea makes a lot of sense.
Easy to walk
I was a bit worried that the unique tail design would make this bait hard to walk, but that hasn’t been the case whatsoever. From the very first downward twitch of your rod tip, the Popping Perch glides from side-to-side. This makes it easy to make short pitches and flips to very small strike zones because you don’t need several twitches to make the bait start walking. It gets to work immediately.
Each time you twitch your rod tip, the bait changes direction while splashing water with its cupped mouth. While the water displacement is noticeable, it doesn’t make too much commotion that it spooks fish in calm water. I’ve had a lot of success using it on those glass-smooth, pre-dawn mornings.
Fish it aggressively for more noise
The cupped mouth is made from fairly firm plastic, which allows the Popping Perch to throw a bunch of water when fished aggressively. If you find yourself fishing in a breezy conditions, you can really crank on this bait and make it look similar to those peacock bass baits you see on television. But so far, I tend to have more bites when I lightly pop the frog next to high-percentage areas like stumps and grass irregularities.
I really like that the bait doesn’t move too far forward with each rod twitch. I think the added drag of the oversized tail section slows it down, which helps it stay in small strike zones for an extended period of time.
Solid hooks are a necessity for this style of bait because you’re usually fishing it on heavy tackle. I’ve been using a stout frog rod and 65-pound braided line throughout my testing and have yet to experience any bent hooks or rolled hook points. The big 4/0 hook grabs ahold of the bass and allows for an impressive hookup ratio.
It’s not imperative to bend the hooks away from the body, but I normally do. I think it’s more of a confidence thing for me since I’ve been doing it on my hollow-bodied topwaters for many years. I fully expect anglers to take the Popping Perch straight from the package and start catching fish without issue.
See that tiny hole? It makes a huge difference.
If you’re not specifically looking for it, you’ll probably miss that small hole next to the eye. It’s not a manufacturing flaw; it serves a very specific purpose.
This hole allows air to escape the frog when a bass bites. If it weren’t there, the bait would have a hard time compressing and exposing the hooks. Even if you wait several seconds before setting the hook, you’ll most likely catch the fish thanks to this small, yet very useful detail.
No leaking to report yet
Lots of similar baits begin to take on water after a dozen or so fish catches. You’ll have a hard time catching a bass if it doesn’t float.
So far, the Popping Perch has help up to the abuse and doesn’t sink whatsoever. You don’t have to squeeze it between every other cast, either; just reel it in and keep casting.
Available at Tackle Warehouse
There are 14 good-looking colors to choose from. Whether you’re trying to imitate perch, bluegill or shad, you’ll find a color that gets you excited. The Popping Perch is rigged on one of my primary froggin’ rods and I don’t think it’s going anywhere soon.
The Strike King KVD Popping Perch is available at these online retail partners: