topwater fishing lures

A Quick Guide to the Most Productive Topwater Fishing Lures

We ended on accessories last time and this might have upset some of our avid readers as we know the lures or fish candies are the juiciest part of this series.

We have all probably spent a small fortune on our tackle but not as much as we spend on lures. They are not as expensive as rods and reels so we get to splurge a bit more every pay day and buy a few new lures every couple of weeks. No sooner than later we have stacks of tackle boxes full of lures. Pretty common predicament for anglers of all skill levels. But after reading this, you should make some more space for bigger lures that you will need for your next big game topwater fishing adventure with Ocean Blue Vanuatu!

Fishing Poppers

topwater fishing poppers

Poppers, as their name implies, ‘pops’. They create a surface commotion unlike any other lure, making predatory fish in the perimeter of the lure take notice.

Most fishermen agree that poppers assimilate baitfish fleeing or other predators feeding which causes a chain reaction making the predators in proximity take a look at what the commotion is about.

I sometimes like to believe that it can also cause a territorial effect when a popper is worked over a certain piece of reef for more than a few times, thus making the inhabitants so pissed off that a surface strike is imminent. The types are just a general categorization and are by no means their official designation, but these labels are fun to say and use on the lures we love so we just stick with them. So let’s take a look at some different poppers.


These puppies are the standard popper style. They are versatile in a way that a single chugger can create multiple surface popping noises depending on how the user handles the rod. They have a fairly medium sized cup diameter and depth, nothing too crazy.

A high rod tip and butt in the gimbal will create a strong splashing effect that can throw water forward some distance. A rod tucked under the arm and swept sideways creates a distinct ‘blooping’ effect that theoretically creates a subsurface soundwave that may attract attention from afar. A downward – sideways stroke on the other hand makes these bad boys dive under the surface combining a bloop with a sexy bubble trail for a visual and sonic effect.

Some of the most popular chuggers are the Carpenter Seafrogs, Heru Cuberas, Shimano Ocea Spouters and the Amegari Urpekaris.

I’d highly recommend to stock up on these for versatility.

Bloopers / Boofers

The bad boys under this category creates insane ‘boofs’ unlike any other. They are physically taxing on the body when used the whole day as a certain amount of force is needed to attain the action wanted out of them. Usually, rod butts are kept in the gimbal for less pain but will still create the desired blooping effect as they have very wide and deep cups. Bigger cup sizes equal to more surface disturbance but also adds more hydro drag so pull hard and fast per stroke for the best effect. The big dogs in this category have been known to hook up to the 50kg class fish so use big tackle to suite.

The more popular poppers under this category are the Hammerhead C to G cups, Amegari Dzangas, Shell Shaping Manatees and the Full Scale Kongs.

Pencil Poppers

Small cupped, long and skinny, these puppies are all about surface skipping more than popping. They imitate fleeing long toms or flying fish and cause a mind blowing chase that is a sight to see for years to come. They are the least painful to use and are highly recommended for newcomers to the sport. Rod butts in the gimbal, a high rod tip and a fast retrieve is needed to achieve its best action. Keep cranking fast enough to keep your popper dancing on the surface, skipping and sliding then get ready for a knee weakening chase.

The Adhek Ocean Lady and Pluto , Shell Shaping Trumpet and Alle’s pencil poppers are some of the well-known brands but for this type of action, any pencil popper with good through wire construction will work fine.


topwater fishing stickbaits

Stickbaits require sweeping your rods sideways to impart the desired action, and different lures require different sweeping techniques. Some are so easy to use that they will swim even if you aren’t even trying while other specialized plugs require slackening your line then combining a sideways and downwards stroke. To discuss all techniques will require me to write a full book so we’ll just stick with some basic plugs to get us started quick.

Another characteristic to look at are sink rates. There are floating plugs, slow sinking, intermediate sinking and fast sinking models. The floaters are best for fairly calm days and the sinkers will work best when there is surface chop or when you are marking bait below the surface.

Flying Fish type / Surface Dancers

Let’s start off easy and talk about the flying fish style lures. These guys are similar to the pencil poppers as they are also slim and butt heavy. They sink fast if not retrieved in time so be careful in the shallows. Rod butt in the gimbal, high rod tip and a fast retrieve is what you want. A flying fish / long tom skittering the surface of the water is the action we want to imitate. This by far is the most efficient search lure as you will be able to cast and retrieve double the amount to the standard poppers and stickbaits that need rod maneuvering to work. Definitely one of our favorites for teasing fish close to the boat and for times when our fine motor skills aren’t present.

GT Ice Creams and Orion Flappers are my top two candidates.

Slashers – zigzag swimming action

Tuck, pull and sweep, repeat. Each sweep will cause your stickbait to swim in a zigzag fashion. Pause for a bit before sweeping again to make it more enticing. For floaters, it is important to wait for the head to pop up from under the surface of the water before sweeping again.

Some of the top slashers to start with are FCL’s CSPs, Shimano Ocea Pencils and Ocea Head dips, Orion bigfoot and the Yambal GT Harrier.

Lazy Rollers

Mostly made out of hand carved timber, these lures are quite the challenge to get a hold of but are worth the effort to get. They swim so seductively that we get hypnotized just watching our own lures swim before realizing that it is being chased down by a pelagic predator! These bad boys are a bit harder to swim at first, but a few casts and test sweeps are all it takes to learn how to swim them. Each sweep causes them to dive, roll and shimmy. It’s the lazy roll that gets the fish every time.

All-time favorites are the Carpenter Gammas and Bluefish, Amegari Kaxu, and the Hots Keiko.


We have to mention one of the sexiest swimming and bubble making lure ever made. The Napalm. Hard to get and harder to take out of your bag as a bust off can be costly to the everyday fisherman. It has a cupped face that tapers down, causing it to dive when pulled, trapping and releasing air and bubbles while swimming side to side. A lethal combination for both anglers and fish.

So, there you have it. Although we have just barely began to scratch the surface of the deep realm of big game topwater fishing, we have at least helped you see into this wild and wonderful sport.

Don’t hesitate to send us an email if you have any questions about rigging or packing lures for your next trip with us, we will be more than happy to help you out.

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A Quick Guide to the Most Productive Topwater Fishing Lures

John is originally from the Philippines. John has extensive guiding experience throughout Asia and...Learn more

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