Samba Surf

Popper Help!

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Hey all, I've been trying to learn how to use a popper.  Bought a Tsunami XD popper.  I've followed the advice on various videos, particularly the John Skinner videos, however I can't get my popper to dance until my retrieve is almost over.  The first 3/4 of the retrieve it just seems to drag with minimal movement no matter how much I pump the rod.  Once it's relatively close it does the nice side to side motion.  Does anyone have any advice for this particular issue?  I'm using a 9' St Croix Triumph and a Penn 710z.  Thanks!

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Sometimes the Tsunami Talking Poppers seem to bite for me especially in any chop. You should get a clean performance in flatter water. 

That said I use them exclusively ( almost ) as a surface popper, not a pencil popper. I also use them like a glider / spook at night with some success.

Rod length should be OK and the reel has nothing to do with the action. How firm is the rod ? You need a bit of flex but it doesn't have to be what everyone calls parabolic.

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What size XD are you using? I find the 7" XDs to be a little difficult to dance as John skinner does. They are just a bit heavy and when they are sitting in still water they almost float vertically and the cupped mouth tends to cut into the water messing up your action. That being said, I find if I crank quickly for just a bit to get the popper on top of the water and then I start my standard pencil retrieve. Make sure you change out the split rings on them, lost a big fish last week at the CCC.  Tho' personally, i find that the gibbs pro-series and the larger guppy pencils to be easier to work. I am also using a 10-6 stick and 30# braid and 30# flouro. 

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Hey guys, I'm using 20 lb Fireline Original.  It's a Medium action rod rated 3/4-2 1/2 oz I believe.  (Maybe the popper is too heavy?) I think it's the 7".  I used it in flat water this morning but it is definitely just dragging vertically for a while then dancing when it's closer.

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2 hours ago, Samba Surf said:

Hey all, I've been trying to learn how to use a popper.  Bought a Tsunami XD popper.  I've followed the advice on various videos, particularly the John Skinner videos, however I can't get my popper to dance until my retrieve is almost over.  The first 3/4 of the retrieve it just seems to drag with minimal movement no matter how much I pump the rod.  Once it's relatively close it does the nice side to side motion.  Does anyone have any advice for this particular issue?  I'm using a 9' St Croix Triumph and a Penn 710z.  Thanks!

you may also be working the popper too fast.  its almost a painfully slow retrieve that gets more of the side to side motion over the traditional pops.   also, every rod is different when it comes to working a pencil.  the faster a rods action is(stiffer), the less violently you need to work it.

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That's good advice, i did think I might be going too fast, I'm trying to just keep tension on the line.  When I try to go slower or even stop it just seems like there's slack on the line and it's killing the action completely.  If it's just practicing more I'm fine with putting my time in it just seems relatively easy for people and I'm struggling.

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A 9' rod can compromise your ability to work a popper. The further you cast the less affective the rod is. If you are fishing on the sand you are at another disadvantage. Fishing off a jetty where you are standing above the water is where a 9 foot rod will be OK. Slow down, keep the line tight and work the rod.

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The truth of it is poppers are work and take years to master. Not questioning anybody's responses. They take pactice to make them work. But, you already know that, don't you?  

I'm far from an expert. Some guys pick it right up, some never do. 

You ever try a KnuckleHead? 

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Never tried one, but they look like a cross between a "chugger" and a pencil. Also xd would indicate a heavy tail section.  Both those things would make it tough to get it to dance. I'd chug that one and get a true pencil for pencil popping. 

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Need a stiff rod (thats what she said) I use Fireline but ten pound test. If the rod tip is soft you loose a lot of the snap that helps a popper pop. Before you snap your wrist try this. Reel the line tight to get the popper moving then snap your wrist. This will have everything in line and tight so any pressure will be put on the popper. Don't loose sleep over this because you don't need a big popping action all the time. Can't tell you how many fish, strike with just the slightest twitching action of the popper.   

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9Ft rod could limit your pencil technique, however its still possible to make all sorts of presentation. Fast, slow, throwing water, or the subtle walk side to side.

 

Try standing on a higher surface to reduce the amount of line dragging in the water. I feel that when I pencil with my stout 9' rod I have to use more muscle and arm to get the tip bouncing. Its unecessary to hold the line between your fingers. If your rod is softer, try to get the tip bouncing by using your lats and back muscles rather than your arms.

 

If this doesn't help you could try moving to another brand of pencil. I have some dud gibbs pencils that bite the water, Try using a canal style (flat bottom).

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I'm pretty sure the XD are heavier, most likely in the tail.  It may actually be that you need to speed up your retrieve to get the ass up a little bit.  I've only used the XDs a few times and they're a little bit harder to work than the original.

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