The ABU Rocket Popper plug is my most successful popping plug bar none! It’s caught me more bass than any other plug type I own. Some anglers struggle though, with the technique to fish a popping plug successfully. With the lure bass season already upon us, here’s a few tips on how to fish the Rocket Popper to maximum effect.
I use braid line for all my plugging, but always use a short section of Fluorocarbon, about 4-feet long, tied to the braid to give a clear separation between the plug and the braid to minimise the visual effect of the braid to the fish. Also the Fluorocarbon is tough and resists abrasion well, so helps protect the braid when working the plug through surface breaking rocks and weed beds.
When you cast the Rocket Popper out, as it splashes down, leave the plug sitting static for about 30-seconds on the surface. Bass are inquisitive and aggressive hunters and will move in to investigate the splash. They see the static silhouette of the plug and will attack it as its stationary.
If 30-seconds elapse and there is no attack, use the wrist to jag the rod tip back and take a turn of the reel handle to tighten the line, this digs the nose of the Rocket Popper deeper in to the water causing it to push a jet of water outwards in front of it. This imitates baitfish splashing on the surface and again draws the bass in to the lure and triggers an attack.
However, don’t let the plugs retrieve be predictable. Using a slow turn of the reel handle to keep in touch with the plug, use slower longer sweeps of the rod tip to pull the plug across the surface and make a wake, followed by a brief pause. Bass again feel, and eventually see, the disturbance wake and move in for the kill. Now use one good flick of the wrist to bury the plugs nose and scatter water again. Now pause and let the plug sit static. This gives any bass hunting for the plug chance to catch up with it and take it.
Make sure you fish the plug right back almost to the rod tip. Bass will often take just as you are about to lift the plug from the water to recast when they think prey is about to escape. This is especially so if the surface water is roughed up by an onshore wind that distorts the fish’s vision and hides you until they are virtually right in front of you.
Some days the bass want the plug worked slowly. Some days they want it worked in short fast bursts that really kicks up some surface water disturbance. Like I said, don’t be predictable in retrieving the plug. Its boring for you and boring for the bass.