Why a Popper is Perfect for Immediate Post Spawn

Why a Popper is Perfect for Immediate Post Spawn

As bass move off the beds, they’re often beat up and worn out from the grueling spawning process. Thus, the immediate post spawn can be a tough time for catching bass. Though they are hungry no doubt, they often times just don’t have it in them to chase down big meals and exert a lot of energy.

For this reason, wacky rigs and other subtle, slow moving baits work really well at drawing sluggish strikes from the typically ornery but currently mild-mannered bass. Still, even though the fish aren’t in the feistiest of moods, you don’t have to dink around if you don’t want to and you can have a lot of fun fishing for them this time of year. That is, if you know what to throw.

A popper is it, in my opinion—the perfect bait for the early post spawn that still allows you to tempt a blowup out of a bass and helps combat the monotony of having to otherwise skip a little worm around all day. (Glidebaits and swimbaits are other exciting options for the post spawn, but we’ll save that convo for another day). For now, let’s talk poppers.


Why a popper works well in the immediate post spawn -

When talking immediate post spawn, we’re singling out the two or three weeks right after bass get done making their beds, laying their eggs and then leaving the beds. This spawning process doesn’t necessarily happen for every fish in the lake at the same time, so the immediate post spawn period is typically a little drawn out too and varies from one section of the lake to the other.

Though Spooks, buzzbaits and Whopper Ploppers also work well in the post spawn, the popper shines the brightest for a few reasons. For starters, it’s relatively small in comparison to these other topwater, its action is more subtle and it’s profile less intimidating.

Bass are also guarding fry during this period. And the slow, pop-pause-pop cadence of a popper perfectly imitates a bluegill or small bass feeding on a protective fry guarder’s babies. The slow approach of a popper also gives a bass more time to consider taking a swipe at it, as opposed to the constantly moving buzzbaits and Whopper Ploppers that can quickly blow by a bass before it has time to be annoyed into biting.

Bait spawns and insect hatches -

Bait spawns are another reason a popper is so effective in the post spawn. As the bass bedding process winds down, shad start to spawn on many fisheries. A shad spawn early in the morning provides a buffet for bass to bulk up while they have the opportunity, and then sulk in the shade the rest of the day. A shad-colored popper, like the Livingston Walk N Pop 77 Tournament popper offers a tantalizing little morsel right in the middle of the mayhem.

Bluegill also begin to spawn shortly after the bass spawn ends. And poppers, again, are great baits to throw over these bream beds because they can be worked slowly and in place, mimicking well a floundering bluegill that is injured and vulnerable. Using a Walk N Pop 77 in the Bleutreuse color with Livingston’s patented EBT (Electronic Baitfish Technology) is a great way to talk these bass into biting.

Then, as the immediate post spawn fades into summer, insects like Mayflies begin to hatch out too, offering yet another opportunity for a popper to shine. Small bass, crappie, bluegill and other bream feed on these flies, and then the big bass feed on those smaller fish. Put a popper in the mix that appears to be feeding on the flies as well and you’ve got a recipe for an explosion.

Popper gear -

One good thing about a popper is it can be fished on a wide variety of gear. I personally like to throw my poppers on a 7-0 Fitzgerald Vursa Series Medium Heavy Casting Rod, which has a moderate/fast action. I pair it with a Lew’s LFS Speed Spool in 7.5:1 gear ratio spooled with 30-pound Sufix 832 braided line.

This combination gives me all I need to be able to launch a small popper like the MonsterBass Mad Max a considerable distance, while also being able to make short and accurate roll casts at cover. If you’re more comfortable with monofilament, 15- to 20-pound mono works just fine too, depending on the size of the fish and the size of the bait. And you can even throw small poppers on spinning gear or spincast reels like a Zebco if you prefer.


In conclusion -

Poppers are great topwaters during the immediate post spawn, likely the best on many fisheries across the country. The profile and colors can be used to mimic the forage bass are already feeding on and the stop-and-go action gives the sluggish fish time to react.

Pair a popper like the Livingston Walk N Pop 77 or the Team Ark Topwater Popper TP70 with your favorite popper rod and learn to present the bait to the bass accurately and you’ll be in for some exciting fishing during the post spawn.

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