Pop ‘n Drop Failures

Pop n Drop Failures

The Pop ‘n Drop has been one my my favorite techniques to fine tune this year. Not only has it been fun – it’s been productive. Two of my best smallmouth bass fell prey to this contraption. Absolutely hammered it. However, like all presentations, you have to use it in the right location, at the right time.

This bass smashed the dropper by the inside edge of shallow weeds in a spring-fed Wisconsin lake.

Pop n Drop Wisconsin Smallmouth Bass AJ Hauser
Pop ‘n Drop Wisconsin Smallmouth Bass

This one? Ignored the dropper – smoked the popper – in a skinny creek no more than 2 feet deep.

Pop 'n Drop Creator AJ Hauser with a Beautiful Smallmouth Bass
Pop ‘n Drop Illinois Creek Smallmouth Bass

Both fish were approaching 20 inches. Fat. Three ‘n change. Easy.

Because of the initial success, I went about making several modifications to my creation, hoping that I could use it in more areas – including heavy muck. Modifications are fun, and the mods we made to our Z-Man Pop FrogZ to fish them in heavy cover worked so well.

Sadly, these mods did NOT work.

Hmmm… Sad Face

The first attempt combined a Z-Man Pop Shad with a large Trokar MagWorm B.A.R.B EWG Hook. All good there, but then I needed a way to attach my dropper line. Not wanting to hang it off of the eye of the hook, or tie it directly to the hook shank, I slid a large split ring over the barb of the hook and held it in place with some dental floss & super glue.

The performance was dismal.

Completely killed the action of my popper, and slowly sunk with medium-sized plastics…

Failed Pop 'n Drop Modification Mod 1
Big fail. Hard pass.

Scrap it.

The second mod was a bit cleaner.

By placing a barrel swivel on the shank of a new hook I was able to slip just over the barb without bending it down, and tie my dropper to the lower portion. This allowed my connection to be moved, and it wouldn’t twist – both good things. Then I placed a rubber collar (for jig tying) on the shank, to hold the swivel in place and make it even less likely to pop off during a fight.

The collar wasn’t snug, which let my dropper connection move all over the place. The Pop FrogZ were also not as buoyant as I had hoped. They too got pulled under by the extra hardware and stickbait dropper…

Failed Pop 'n Drop Modification Mod 2
Dang it. Fail #2.

Progress, but still a failure. Scrap it.

So through these tests, I learned that ElaZtech will not float as much weight as I thought… and that makes sense. You want a fish to be able to easily pull your bait underwater. It’s not meant to be a bobber.

I also learned that making a “heavy cover” version is rather difficult. Even if you balance the weight and the pop with the drop so it all behaves – you still have the issue of dragging a trailing plastic over muck, which fouls up easily.

The best combinations that I have worked with so far have been built upon hard-bodied topwaters with one treble hook removed, and a dropper tied straight to the lure. The only issue is that this limits you to the outer edges of cover, or working over the top of deep weeds, because of the exposed treble.

Try these:

Livetarget Lures Popping Frog Popper
Livetarget Popping Frog
Price Check:
Tackle Direct | Amazon
Gamakatsu Finesse Wide Gap Hooks Light Wire
Gamakatsu Finesse Wide
Price Check:
Tackle Direct | Amazon
Rapala Skitter Pop
Rapala Skitter Pop
Price Check:
Tackle Direct | Amazon
Berkley Fusion19 Weedless Wacky Hooks
Fusion19 Weedless Wackys
Price Check:
Tackle Direct | Amazon
Top 4 Stickbaits for Largemouth Bass Not a Senko
The best trailers? Any one of these 4 options in a smaller size:
The Top 4 Stickbaits for Largemouth Bass
Yes, they work on smallmouth too. Just make sure that the weight of the stickbait you select doesn’t pull the popper underwater. Zoom Zlinkys are a favorite of mine, but they contain a lot of salt. Choose your dropper carefully!

I still need to find a way to fish this in the muck, because that’s what we have here. I have a Vicious Hollow Body Frog on the workbench to work with next…

I’ll keep ya posted.

Camera Gear:

Captured withSony A7s
Lighting KitNeewer Studio Essentials

Additional fishing photography can be seen here.

Tight Lines & Godspeed, Patriots!

Cold Weather Largemouth Email

“When will those bass come back shallow?!”
It’s an age old question for us bank fishermen. When did they move out… and when will they come back? Soon I hope…

* Stars & Bars Fishing is dedicated to in-the-field videos, putting the techniques we write about to work. Episodes>

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