What Line is Best For Your Popper

I’ll admit, I’m technically classed as an Old-Schooler. And trust me, there’s no embarrassment factor involved. That said, I am always looking for “new and improved” in every facet of fishing.

This piece is about reverting to the basics—in this case, the fishing line.

This photo shows you the ultimate in Old School, the classic Rebel Pop-R. This bait has been around for ages and is still picked up by wily topwater anglers in stores to this day. The reason is, it still works! Many companies have taken the popper to new levels but they all revert to either the Pop-R or the Hula Popper.

There’s a lot more to a popping bait than meets the eye. But for anglers, that’s a whole other story. For today, this is about what line I recommend for a topwater popper.

My absolute first choice is anywhere from 12-15 lb monofilament. Brands like Trilene XL or XT, Sufix Elite and Vicious Ultimate all work well. These are just examples. As long as it’s a reputable company and it’s monofilament, you are good to go.

The plain and simple reason that mono is best is its ability to float on top of the water. By resting on the water’s surface, the line allows a better “angle”, if you will, when the angler pulls or works their rod tip. Ultimately, this helps impart the absolute best action of the bait as per the engineering by the designers.

The second reason that I recommend monofilament is the stretch factor. If you are an occasional angler—and even up to an advanced level—the elasticity of mono will ultimately save you on “too fast of a reaction” hooksets.

Companies like Megabass and Rapala have taken the classic popper idea and modernized it.

The problem with fluorocarbon lines is they sink. If the line, after casting out a topwater, is sagging or sinking below the water’s surface and the lure is still floating, guess what? The lure is now pulling “down into” and not “along” the water. This is huge. If you really want to understand this, take out a rig with mono and a rig with fluoro and start working a topwater. Use the exact same bait on each rod. You will instantly see the difference, especially on a long cast.

The difference between mono and fluoro when using a topwater bait

Incidentally, braid sits somewhere in between. If it sinks, look out, you’re going to have a tough day popping in open water. If you find a braid that somewhat floats, it’s better, but beware: braid and topwater baits is a whole other ballgame. Something we’ll talk about in the future—“Froggin'”!

This Bass season, grab a baitcaster reel, load it up with 12-15 lb mono, stick it on a medium-action 6’6”–7’ rod and have some fun with topwater.

Trust me on this one.

Pete Bowman

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