By Todd Corayer
Special to Outdoor Enthusiast Lifestyle Magazine
Popa Dog 87MR Surface Walker
Rattles, holograms, articulated bodies, rolling eyes, all these improve a lures ability to catch fish but conditions always change so your tackle bag needs to have solid options. For those days when the surface is just right or for when predictably effective soft baits come up empty, one of my favorite options is a MirrOlure Popa Dog 87MR Surface Walker. It’s easy to cast, a joy to watch and it draws strikes. The Popa Dog has an internal chamber with rattlers but sometimes, noisemakers alone just won’t bring fish to the net.
This lure has swagger; noisy, splashing swagger. Its design calls right to a fish’s lateral line, a critical evolutionary component allowing for the detection of vibrations and movement and magnifying their opportunities for finding food. Top water fishing is exciting; it builds a real sense of anxiousness when you’re waiting for a dark dorsal fin to rise or for the sudden explosion of a bottom to top racer who just tears through the lure with a crash and plants your hook perfectly before diving back down. The Popa Dog delivers all of that.
I like to let Popa Dogs sit after that first contact with the water, just for a moment or two, before any retrieve. Then it’s three solid pulls of the rod while reeling in just enough line to keep things taught. Give it a brief rest before another series of three pulls. It’s not necessary to tear the lure out of the water with forceful casts, it’s more beneficial just to pull the nose underwater and scoop up enough to make the right sound. Increasing your retrieval speed also means you’ll lose that big splash at the front. Twitching the rod tip back and forth will give it that classic walking the dog action as well but that’s if you’re using a steady retrieve
Because all rods have different actions and feels, it may require several casts to produce that perfect “plop, plop, plop” sound that really draws in the fish. Those three pulls of the rod gives fish a chance to respond to the surface disturbance rattling through their lateral line while the rest period affords them a good look at the bait. That’s really where the finish comes into play. MirrOlure has done an exceptional job developing realistic patterns and clear, bright finishes which not only attract fish but increase the life of the lure itself. It’s also important to match your rod to these poppers, since they only weigh 13/16 of an ounce. It should have enough spine to place lures precisely where you want them with enough sensitivity in the tip to feel every strike.
This is another lure I tie directly to the leader. Using a snap swivel, or even tying onto a ring changes the wiggle and perhaps to a lesser degree, the weight. Tying directly gives you more awareness of how the lure is acting on the surface or if it feels tangled. Use an improved cinch knot for the best grip on the nose.
Stripers, especially those in salt ponds or rivers, will sometimes hold close to the shoreline in shallow water. You might see this in dirty or stained waters as well. Using the Popa Dog allows you to cast near trees and rocks, to work around structure, to create some commotion and float over lazy bass. In that situation, it’s acting like a search bait because odds are high that even the laziest of fish won’t resist taking a swipe at a noisy, fleeting injured baitfish right above its head. That’s also where that brief rest comes into play.
Having several different patterns on board will provide even more options for finicky fish. Options can make or break our day on the water so the MirrOlure Popa Dog Surface Walker is a must-have if you love the excitement of top water action with the pure joy of catching lots of fish.