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BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS: Popping Perch great for catching bass

This week I had the opportunity to try out a brand new bass fishing lure and I was very pleased with the results.

The bait that I was testing was the “Popping Perch” that is made by Strike King lures. I was watching a fishing show on TV with Hank Parker.  He was going over this bait and how much he liked so I thought that I would try it myself.  The outcome for me was several nice bass in the 3-5 pound range that provided lots of heart stopping explosions and rod bending action. I strongly recommend that you give popping perch a try.

Here are a few things that I noticed about this bait as well as a few tips on how to fish it:

First, I noticed that the bait looked a lot like a popping frog with the exception of it being a bit wider and having fins that resemble a perch. It also has a large eye that looks more fishlike as well. The bait floats and is percent for fishing around thick grass and lily pads.

As great as this bait is, it is necessary to make an adjustment right out of the box. Before you fish this bait, I strongly recommend that you take a pair of needle nose pliers and open the hooks up a bit. In other words, bend them away from the body of the lure. This will increase your hookup ratio by over 50 percent.

For me, the brighter colors were more effective when the sky was bright, and the darker colors were better when the sky was darker. As mentioned before, I fished the bait in and around grassy cover that most lures would hang up in. I recommend fishing this bait on a medium heavy or heavy action rod that is a minimum of 7 foot in length.

I use 65-pound braid and a fast reel with a high gear ratio. The faster the reel, the better because you will need the speed to catch up with the fish in a hurry to get her out of the thick cover.

When fishing the popping perch, vary the way that you fish it until you find what the fish want that day. At first, you might try popping it real slow and then move toward multiple quick pops. The same method will not likely work every day.

Once you have decided on a method, stick with it until the action slows down and then begin experimenting again.

The best advice I can give you fishing this bait has to do with when to set the hook. Be very careful to watch your bait and your line. Sometimes there will be a violent explosion on your perch, other times a big one will simply suck the bait under water.

DO NOT set the hook until you see your line move or feel the fish on the other end. This is hard to do but important none the less. Many times the bass will simply miss the bait and if you jerk it away, your chance for a second strike is slim.

If you are patient and leave the bait in the strike zone, you can let it sit still and shake your rod to make it quiver like a wounded perch. This will likely cause a follow up strike. Patience is the key!

Give the popping perch a try, and you will be glad you did. Be sure to take a kid or a friend fishing when you go, and don’t forget to thank God for the opportunity to enjoy His beautiful creation.

Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of DuckDogTrainer.com and outdoors writer for The News.