Tweaking A Pop-R

By Rob Brewer

When the water has warmed and the area bass are in a spawn/post spawn pattern, a topwater bait is a sound choice for lure selection.

Quite often I'll use a Pop-R by the Rebel division of PRADCO. The bait by itself will catch fish "as-is" from the factory, but there are a few really simple steps you can do to increase the number of bites you get and increase your hook up ratio.

Start with a new Pop-R in one of the G-finish colors. I choose these ones because they have smooth sides instead of that molded-in, raised fish scale texture on some models. This saves you all that sanding and other time wasting tasks that Zell Rowland does. I like to buy Pop-R's in colors that mimic shad. I think the factory name of the color is "Red Eye Perch". This bait is light gray with a darker gray scale pattern sprayed on it. It has a white underside and red overspray underneath the eyes.

Modifying Factory Lures

The first thing to do is remove the factory hooks and give them to fellows you fish against. Now take some sort of tool like an ice pick and pop all the paint off of the lure's eye where you tie your line. I have a tool I got at Wal-Mart that is great for this job. It looks like some sort of dentist pick on a screwdriver handle. It costs about $2.00 for a set of four different type picks. Keep the "eye popper" on in your tackle box. It works great for cleaning out jig eyes too.

Once you've cleaned all the paint from the eye, you're ready to install some "real" hooks. Replace the front hook with a size 6 VMC #7650 treble. If you can't find those; look for Owner ST36 or Daiichi Deathtraps. They all run about $5.00 for ten hooks. The Daiichi's are available in that bleeding red color if that's what you like.

For the rear hook, attach an Owner tournament trailer. These hooks run about $5.00 for two. They are strong, sharp and dressed with feathers instead of the mylar/synthetic combo you removed and gave to your buddy. These feathers breathe in the water and impart a very subtle action that entices extra bites. The $3.00 worth of hooks you put on the bait is sharp enough to ensure you hook those extra bites.

The new hooks are a little heavier that those you gave away and they make the bait sit a little lower in the water, which I believe also aides in hook ups. One last tip: When you tie your line to the bait, pull the knot down the lure's eye so that the knot points towards the bottom of the lake. This may sound weird but it actually changes the action of the bait when you work it. I shouldn't have told you about that. Now I've given up all my secrets for this bait. Remember to adjust your knot after every fish. Soon you'll recognize when the knot is not right because it will be obvious to you that the bait is not working right.

Go ahead and make these modifications and I promise you'll catch more fish. If not, send me the Pop-R and I'll use it.