Fishing Shade Lines with a Topwater Popper

Popping Shade Lines with a Topwater Popper


Cup-faced, popper style topwater lures are great at coaxing stubborn bass out of hiding. While a popper can be plunked slowly beside an isolated object to get a bass to bite, these lures can also be worked briskly along an edge, like a shade line.

Summer sun will put fish into shady areas beneath docks and along shorelines shrouded by nearby trees. From these vantage points, bass look out into the well-lit waters and wait to ambush hapless baitfish.

Positioning is important when working a shade line. Move in tight to the line and cast parallel and very close to it. Trace its edge all the way back to the boat (or wherever you’re standing) to keep the lure in the high percentage strike zone throughout the entire retrieve.

You can make the lure look like a wounded, confused minnow with frequent starts and fits of motion, followed by irregular pauses.

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Video transcript:

Tyler Berger:
Welcome back to the MonsterBass channel, guys. My name's Tyler Berger with Bass Fishing HQ.

Tyler Berger:
Today, we're doing a type of fishing that I absolutely love. It's the summertime, the sun is really overhead, and it's really, really hot. One of the best things that you can target when it comes to that summertime bass fishing is shade. So we've gotten back into some canals, we're seeking out shade lines, and that's how we're going to catch our bass today.

Tyler Berger:
In bass fishing, one of the best times to actually catch a fish is during low light conditions. That's why the morning tends to be really good and the evening tends to be really good. But something that you can do kind of to duplicate that, throughout the day, is target shade lines. If you look here, we've got some big trees, we've got a boat, we've got a sea wall. All these things are actually creating shade lines in the water. Those bass will really get sucked up into that shade because they don't want to be out in the sun either. The other thing, is it gives them a perfect place to ambush prey that's going by. The little blue gill swims by, bam. They can reach out there and grab it.

Tyler Berger:
So anything that provides a little bit of shade. A lot of times it can be trees. A lot of times it can be boats, but anything that provides just a little bit of shade will suck those bass right up into it.

Tyler Berger:
So let's go over rod, reel, kind of the basics of what you will need. Obviously, we have our catch popper right here. I typically like braided line with all of my top waters. But anytime I'm using a top water, I'm going to use a small leader. Usually about a foot, even shorter than this at time, and this is actually monofilament line. Monofilament floats, but that's not the reason I use it. I actually use it because sometimes when you cast with that braid, it's so limp, it's so limber. That braid actually get hung around the front hook or on your hooks a lot. So using the monofilament, it's a little bit more of a taut line, and it keeps the line from getting wrapped around those hooks. It just helps you to not make a huge long cast and have that big get all fouled up.

Tyler Berger:
The other thing that I do like is there is a little bit of stretch here, and when you're fighting a fish and they dive real hard at the boat, braid doesn't have any stretch. So having a little bit extra stretch will help you, but most of the power of a fish diving is going to be absorbed by your rod.

Tyler Berger:
So when it comes to a rod, I think it really is important. Not just for poppers, but all top water fishing. I really like something around that seven foot length. This particular rod's a 7'2" in length, and you can go smaller than that. The smaller you go with the rod, typically the more accurate you are. So if you had a rod that was just designated for fishing around cover like this, then going with a 6'8" or a 6'9" would be great.

Tyler Berger:
Now the action of the rod, I really like a moderate bend. Kind of that parabolic bend. That parabolic bend really helps pretty much anytime you're fishing treble hooked lures of any sort, whether it's a crank bait or a top water. That parabolic bend just helps that bass to kind of stay pinned when it's up there and it's jumping. You don't want a fast action rod with your top water baits.

Tyler Berger:
And then the reel is a simple 7.1 to one gear ratio reel. So when it comes to fishing shade lines, there's honestly a lot of different baits that you can use. One of my favorites is actually using a frog, where you can kind of skip it into that shade line and catch bass.

Tyler Berger:
But what I've seen a lot of times, especially during later summer, is that those bass tend to get conditioned to everybody throwing baits like a frog. They've seen so many different lures, that a lot of times they'll come up to that frog and they'll just slap at the bait, but they won't get it and you miss them. And it's very, very frustrating. So something I do to alleviate that is use a popper. They really have kind of a similar action as that frog with a popper. I can keep it in that shade line for as long as I want.

Tyler Berger:
Again, because it's a popper, I could pop it once. Let it sit there for five, 10 seconds, pop it again. And I'm going to keep it in that shade line for a long time, giving that non aggressive bass more of a chance to come up there and catch it. And the best thing is if they come up and just slap at this bait, they're going to get those hooks, and you're going to be able to catch them. So that is why a lot of times I go with the popper during that summertime, that late summertime.

Tyler Berger:
A lot of times when you find these shade lines, they're still going to be cover that is right up against the bank. If you look up here, we got a sea wall and the bass, although they're sitting in the shade, a lot of times they're going to be right snug up against that sea wall. Or if it's just a bank, they're going to be really close to the bank.

Tyler Berger:
So again, leaving a bait in that area for a long time can be really crucial to getting more bites. And again, that's why I like the popper, because I can cast it out there. And this is the big thing, you want to make sure you're making accurate casts. You want to make sure that you're putting that bait as close to the bank as you can. Because again, that's typically where the fish are. They're going to be in that deepest, darkest shade that you have on the bank.

Tyler Berger:
With a popper, again, you can keep that bait in there a long time, which I think is so important for summertime bass. Spring bass, they a lot of times are going to hit really quick because they're aggressive. In the summer, they tend to get a little bit more sluggish. So keeping that bait in front of them is so critical to catching more fish.

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