MONSTERBASS Ambassador Chancy Cotton hails from central Texas, where the fall fishing bite is heating up as the water begins to cool down. This time of the year, a popper is his go to.
“It’s probably the most versatile topwater bait,” said Cotton. “I was actually forced to use a popper as a kid. When I first started fishing, my dad would tie a popper on for me and make me throw it all day long.”
What started out as a duty for Cotton turned into a delight over the years.
“I learned how to use it so well that I would out fish him sometimes in midday throwing a popper,” Cotton reminisced with a chuckle. “I used it for probably five years straight, that’s the only thing I threw every time we went fishing.”
A popper works well throughout the day later in the fall, but the morning is still best according to Cotton.
“Definitely early in the morning, a topwater is the first thing that I throw. I go from topwater, to mid, to bottom about noon to 2 o’clock.”
There are typically some visual indications that a popper will work well in a particular area.
“If there’s baitfish jumping, definitely I’ll be targeting that first with the popper. Then after that, I’ll start fishing structure like docks or logs. Anything sticking out of the water that bass can go to for cover in the mornings.”
Cotton has a very specific cadence he likes when fishing a popper.
“I like to do a real quick twitch for the first two or three, and then I’ll let it set. And then I’ll pop it real hard to get that thump, that real hard thump. And let it set, and then I go back to two or three fast twitches.”
The bait and bass are on the move as we head into fall, and the bass are currently in pretty predictable locations around Cotton’s neck of the woods.
“They’re on the secondary points right now where they’re going into the coves. It’s on fire because they’re pushing the shad into the back of the coves right now.”
Cotton understands some might be a little skeptical, but he admitted that his favorite popper is actually the Mad Max from MONSTERBASS.
“I actually use the Max, I really do. I throw that one first. The Mad Max has really good balance. It does that fast popping action really well, and casts well.”
The feathered hook on the back of the Mad Max is another thing that Cotton really likes, though there is one small modification he makes to the Mad Max sometimes. He learned this trick from Bassmaster Elite Series Pro Mike Iaconelli.
“Sometimes I’ll switch the hooks from the front to the back. I’ll switch the red hook to the back and put the feather up front. I actually learned that from Mike Iaconelli, from a YouTube video he made. He said they’ll actually target that feather.”
According to Iaconelli, swapping the feathered hook to the front of the bait helps fish get the lure better as opposed to a bass focusing on the tail end of the bait where the feathered hook would typically be.
If you’re looking for a bait to put some time in with this fall, Cotton highly recommends a popper. A small profile topwater bait that can be fished in lots of different situations, a popper gets bit and can lead to some memorable blowups this fall.