Kayak Fishing with Large Poppers E-mail
Written by David Elgas   
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 00:00

There is something very exciting about top water popping and watching the action as a fish strikes your lure.  Tossing large poppers for large fish is a time honored tradition in the tropical Pacific. Popping is fun and productive way to fish, but popping from a kayak has advantages and disadvantages. 

Though fishing from a kayak can put you into areas that you can’t quite reach while casting from shore, casting from a sitting down position can be more difficult than standing up. Some kayaks, like the Hobie Pro Angler or the Adios from Diablo Paddlesports, provide anglers enough stability to stand up and cast lures, so top water anglers do have choices when it comes to selecting their boat. I personally ride the Hobie Adventure. This narrow fast kayak does not allow me to stand up, but I can cast top water poppers pretty far from the sitting position.

Elgas cabrillaElgas with a nice Cabrillo caught by throwing large poppers at the rocks in the Sea of Cortez.Top water popping is all about action and it takes a while to develop the skills needed to get a lure working properly. Keep in mind that various lures have different action depending on how they are worked. Most anglers will have a routine of retrieves that they will vary until they receive a strike. Once a strike is triggered, duplicate the action that took the strike. On Christmas Island, our favorite style is to retrieve the lure as fast as we can while making big sweeping motions with the rod to create large splashes and pops. These sweeping actions can be anywhere from straight up to off to the side deending on the lure choice.  The fast and splashy retrieve is perfect for working the big ulua into a frenzy. It sure is fun and amazing to watch these strong fish blast our lures on the surface from the deep water. But it is a lot of work tossing 4-6 ounce poppers and working them aggressively all day long.

Having the right rod is probably the most important aspect of top water popping from a kayak. You need to have a rod that will whip the lure far but you don’t want one that is so long that it’s hard to manage on the kayak. I have two favorite rods for whipping from my kayak. They are both 7’6” Ugly Stik spinning rods. One is medium action for casting big poppers and the other has light action for smaller lures. When casting lures for long periods of time my arms can get tired, so I like to use a reel that is light in weight. My favorites are the Penn SSM 750’s and 850’s. These metal spinning reels are light yet strong enough to battle big fish. With regular maintenance, I have received years of reliable service from these Penn reels.

I prefer 60-80 pound red Power Pro for my main line. This thin braided main line is excellent for a long smooth cast. Most of the time I will just use a SPRO power swivel to connect 2-3 feet of 80-100 pound fluorocarbon bite leader to the main line. However, depending where I am fishing I sometimes use a uni to uni knot joining a shock leader of monofilament to the main line. This is especially useful in areas like Christmas Island with its abundant supply of sharp live coral. In these areas, not using a shock leader will lead to many lost fish due to the thin Power Pro cutting off on the reef. The Ulua are so big and strong at Christmas Island and the reef is so sharp that I commonly used 30 feet of 40-60 pound diamond mono for a shock leader in front of the bite leader. We would change these shock leaders out every night while on Christmas Island because of the many nicks and scrapes it would receive each day from the live coral reef.

rnewulua1 sizeScott Nakasone pops for Ulua on his Hobie Pro Angler.There are so many lures on the market these days you really have to make your purchases wisely. There’s that old saying “You get what you pay for.” China is on a mission to copy every lure ever designed and remake it in the cheapest possible way. These lures may be inexpensive, but are poorly built and will break under the pressure of big fish. 

My most prized lures are hand crafted and stongly built. My favorites come from Hilo and Brad Perez. Perez has been involved with lure making in Hawaii for quite some time now and his lures have been successful all over the world. He makes a few different types of lures including the Bay Bomber and the Reef Ripper. I was even lucky enough to get Perez to make me some custom lures for Christmas Island. These extra large poppers have jets in the face and make a huge splash along with a bubble trail that excites Ulua to the surface from 100 feet of water. 

Perez’ passion for lure making shows in his work, his lures are constructed with high quality materials only, and are always perfectly painted. The hardware is beefy and is rated for 300-600 pounds. Perez lures take a beating and will keep on performing fish after fish. Learn more about the Reef Rippers at Perez’ web site www.bradsreefripper.com/.

Top water popping from a kayak is a lot of fun and can deliver a lot of great fish to the table. It is now possible to buy a kayak that is specifically made for standing up casting. Having the right top water popping equipment is crucial for making long smooth cast’s all day. Spend the extra money and buy lures that are well made and perform well. Spend time working on the cast, retrieve and action to get the lure to perform at its best. Get out on the water more because if the hook isn’t wet there won’t be no catching. Most importantly, enjoy the day because a day of fishing is better than any day working.

 

chriislan

Currently Coastal Kayak Tours is offering the most economical full fishing packages to Christmas Island. If you ever had a desire to go check out Christmas Island, Do It! You will not regret a fishing trip to this amazing place and an epic fishery. The fishing reminds me of how Hawaii must have been many, many years ago. It surely is a special place, with great people, and stellar fishing. You can get all the info regarding fishing trips to Christmas Island at www.christmasislandkayakfishing.com.  We cater to all fisherman not just kayak anglers. 

 

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