Bass are mean suckers. Make no mistake: At times it takes finesse to fool ‘em when they don’t want to bite, but a wide-open strategy often brings out the beast in bass. Witness the boom in sales of River2Sea’s Whopper Plopper, an obnoxiously loud and unusually large lure. While several sizes are available, the 5.5-inch 130 size model has earned most applause from the bassin’ crowd. Retrieved fast and straight across the surface, it creates a loud sound and major-league bubble trail that summon up the basic instincts of bass to feed, now!!

Topwater Plopper Lures

Famed lure designer and monster fish chaser Larry Dahlberg designed the Whopper Plopper with River2Sea, a 7.5-inch lure intended for muskies. “It’s a classic design for muskies with a tail propeller that spins independently, Dahlberg says. “We built the tail of tough but flexible plastic for its durability and the unique sounds it produces.” Early on, Dahlberg had big largemouth and smallmouth bass attacking the 3-ounce lure as he field-tested it. Soon after its release, the company followed with the 130 model that weighs just under an ounce.

As soon as anglers got the nerve to shell out $16 bucks and toss Whopper Ploppers, they were amazed by the results. Tournament wins and giant catches soon followed for bass pros and average anglers alike. There’s simply no wrong way to fish it. Though its basic design is ages old in the muskie world, bass hadn’t been exposed to such action. In some regions, Ploppers have become so popular that bass are reportedly showing signs of becoming a bit jaded.

No worries. Other companies, and River2Sea itself, now offer other options that display a different look and sound profile, while producing the same kind of explosive surface action.

Topwater Plopper Lures

With input from famed topwater fan and Florida pro Chris Lane, now living in Alabama, River2Sea added the Lane Changer, a more subtle lure with a pair of small props fore and aft. Also on the subtle side of presentations, check out Yo-Zuri’s Prop F in their 3D series, with a small rear prop to issue a slight bubble trail, while the lure’s textured underside emits extra vibrations to the underwater world. River2Sea also adds the Big Mistake, an upsized propeller lure measuring 6 3/8 inches. Its large props throw a lot of water, offering a big profile for big bites.

Topwater Plopper Lures

Another interesting option is River2Sea’s Double Plopper, a floating buzzbait with a pair of counter-rotating plopper blades. It floats, then works its way through and over thick cover including lily pads, bulrushes, and brush tops. It’s versatile and seems to attract strikes when worked fast or slow around cover, and when paused in pockets. It’s available two sizes— 5/8-ounce and 5 3/4 inches and a jumbo 7.5-inch edition that weighs almost an ounce and a half.

Jackall’s Chanwake is another new multi-faceted surface selection. Shaped like a big jerkbait, it sports a metal prop at the tail along with a bill up front that causes it to roll along the surface as a wakebait. The prop keeps it churning water and splashing along. Retrieve it at a steady, moderate-speed pace, letting it do its thing over grass flats and shallow brushy coves where bass lurk in cover, ready to attack from below.

Topwater Plopper Lures

Megabass, another top Japanese manufacturer, also came on the surface scene with i-Loud, a large option at one ounce and 4.5 inches. It was designed by Yuki Ito to achieve four different modes of sound production to intrigue or enrage nearby bass. Its jointed body clacks as its hinges pivot during the retrieve, while an internal sound system includes a metal ball that strikes the inside of the lure with every turn, producing a low-frequency knock. Its 90-degree bill imparts a rolling surface action, while the rear segment is angled upward, with a propeller at the tip for added allure.

Topwater Plopper Lures

Spring, summer, and fall, this one’s a killer over deep hydrilla or milfoil. Experts suggest fishing it on 20-pound mono over medium cover, going with 40- or 65-pound braid tipped with a 18-inch leader of 30-pound mono  for the thickest cover. Without a leader, braided line tends to tangle its treble hooks or propeller on the cast.

Not to be outdone, Berkley revealed several new surface lures at the 2018 ICAST show. The Spin Bomb is another double-prop model that rides flat on top, unlike many earlier prop baits that sit tail-down until twitched. The lure that’s pulled in most praise, along with a lot of bass, is the Choppo, built along the lines of a Whopper Plopper but a bit smaller at 4 1/4 inches for the larger one, and 3 1/4 inches for the downsized version. In recent tests at El Salto in Mexico, it produced outstanding results when other surface lures failed to elicit strikes from that lake’s abundant lunkers.


As we dig further into the realm of using surface lures to send sound and vibrations below the surface to attract bass, I’m sure we’ll have even more options for future seasons. Until then, enjoy these fun lures that have a knack or hauling in lunkers, even under apparently adverse conditions. Many are easy to fish, without the need for the careful walk-the-dog rod motion, or maestro-like touch required to get the most out of poppers and chuggers.

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