Topwater poppers have been a summertime favorite of mine for decades now. When the temperatures start rising and the bass fishing action begins to slow down, these reliable lures always seem to come through in the clutch. I'll have one rigged and on my front deck for the next several months.
I've had an opportunity to test the Yo-Zuri 3DB Series Popper and I've been catching a bunch of nice bass with it. After lots of casts and experimentation in different situations, I've become a big fan of this lure.
I'll walk you through what impressed me most throughout my testing.
Ready to fish out of the pack
While I do like to tinker with lures and modify them a bit, whenever I'm reviewing a product I want my opinion to be based on its very basic form. So I didn't add a split ring to the line tie. And I'm glad I didn't.
You'll find with some poppers that a split ring comes standard and with others you'll just have the eyelet for a line tie. In most cases, that's the way each bait was specifically designed to be fished. Adding something as small as a split ring can throw the balance of a smaller popper off and cause the mouth to dig in.
The reason most people want a split ring is because it is believed to increase the action by allowing a bait to oscillate more than a fixed and restricting knot. Another simple remedy to increase the action is to tie a loop knot. I didn't even start there. I wanted to see how the bait would perform with a basic Trilene knot tied straight to the eyelet.
The Yo-Zuri 3DB Series Popper had great action as is. I could seamlessly go from popping the bait, to chugging it and then to walking it. Walking a popping topwater is something that I see few people do, but is the way I catch most of my fish with one. I do the same with a popping frog. You'll still get a little spitting action, but walking the bait allows you to keep it in the strike zone longer while still on the move. This popper walked really well.
A versatile size
I've referenced "finesse popper" a time or two already, but I don't quite want to lump the 3DB Series Popper in that category completely. Coming in at 3 inches, it's 1/4- to a 1/2-inch longer than what I'd truly consider a finesse popper based on the ones I've fished in the past. But it's still a good bit smaller than the bigger chugging-style poppers that are out there, which is good.
This middle-ground size kind of puts it in a different lane. I'm sure there are some other baits out there that are kind of in between, but for me and poppers, it's always been one or the other. You can gently twitch the Yo-Zuri 3DB Series Popper in absolutely no wind and still chug it in 10 MPH. You can have it tied on in the morning in lowlight conditions working it a little more aggressively and then back off of the action a little later in the day without having to swap back and forth between lures.
And the size is good for tournament fishing. You don't have to worry about running off a 12-inch keeper you might need while looking for a kicker. Both will bite this bait.
In order for me to fish a lure right out of the box, it has to have good hooks. I fished this bait for the first time in a tournament. I pulled the bait out, looked at the hooks and felt confident I could tie it on cold and rely on it in a competitive situation. Granted it was just a little night derby, but the trash talk is fierce and cuts deep, so I'm not throwing anything that I feel might let me down. I only caught six keepers that night and finished 2nd, but one of the fish I weighed came on this popper.
The bait comes rigged with VMC round bend treble hooks that are sharp and strong. I prefer a round bend usually on a popper like this because they have a little more bite for their size. You can quickly overpower a small topwater by trying to add bigger hooks when what you really need is a wide gap so that the fish has a better chance of hooking up even if it just swipes at the bait.
The tail hook is also pretty interesting. I wasn't blown away with it at first because the tinsel-like material used didn't seem as lifelike as the feathers I've seen on other hooks. However, I quickly realized this material still has a good flash to it in the water and so far seems much more durable. I'll still use feathered trebles from time to time, but their Achilles heel is that they just don't hold up to wear and tear. I think this material will last longer.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder... and the bait
This last point is really kind of just a pet peeve of mine, but I'm the one reviewing the bait so I think it's worth noting. One little bitty thing that frustrates me to no end is a massively recessed line tie in the mouth of a bait like this. Reason being, I'll have 45 things in my boat capable of cutting line but can't find anything within reach to snip the line off right at the line tie on some poppers.
The eyelet on the 3DB Series Popper sticks out far enough that you can cut your line with almost any set of pliers, not just side cutters or clippers. I know its a lot to ask a lure manufacturer to think about this when they work tirelessly to get the right action and balance out of a bait, but it is still a welcomed bonus that will keep me from having an OCD episode and wasting 20 minutes trying to pick that last little tag of line off the eye.
The Yo-Zuri 3DB Series Popper is ready to go right out of the pack- that's most important. With strong, sharp hooks and a different spin on the traditional tail feather, this bait is built to catch several fish without skipping a beat.
Do take into consideration that this style of topwater is not made to horse fish to the boat. You'll notice I have the bait tied to braided line, 30-pound Sufix 832 to be exact. But I have it on a fairly light 7-foot medium heavy as well so that I can play the fish. These are light-wire hooks, which are the right hooks for the job. They will help turn more bites into hookups, it's up to you to fight the fish accordingly to get it to the boat.
The bait's mid-range size also lends it to several different applications and condition sets. It can be fished fast with a sharp spitting action, slow with a dull chug or walked nearly in place. A good bait for sunrise or a shady spot around noon. Dead calm or a stiff wind, this bait is one that you can pickup in nearly any situation when you want to throw a topwater. And it gets a solid approval from me.