Jigging and popping are two of the fastest growing segments of the sportfishing industry. Seeing a massive game fish crush a top-water lure is such a rush that it will infect you and leave you craving more.
Most anglers use heavy-duty spinning outfits to throw these big poppers. And today’s new spinning reels capable of 50 pounds of drag or more have made it possible to land triple-digit fish on these popping plugs.
But when you’re tossing a lure at a 100-pound giant trevally or over a reef where a thick-shouldered grouper could dart out and destroy it at any moment, you need top-notch gear. These reef fish are some of the toughest bruisers in the ocean and if your lure has any sort of weakness, this type of fishing will expose those problem areas in a matter of seconds. So, you better equip yourself with a well-made lure that features the best hooks, split rings and construction available.
The new line of Tantrum poppers from Braid Products are definitely up to the task. We recently took three models out for a little test run and while we didn’t find a 100-pound GT, we were pleased with the lure’s performance.
The biggest lure in the Braid Tantrum lineup is the GT Monster. This bad boy measures in at 8 inches and pushes water like a skipjack tuna! It also has some good weight to it, weighing in at 4 ounces. You’ll need a fairly stiff rod to toss out this popper, but it will go a mile.
The GT Monster comes in five color combinations, including blue mackerel, red-and-white, yellowfin, dorado and slimey (a brown color with a mirrored finish). We tested the slimey and were impressed with amount of reflection and movement the big lure put in the water. But the construction and hardware is the most impressive aspect of this lure. A few hard tosses onto the blacktop did little to mess up the lure’s finish and the heavy-duty split rings and treble hooks should stand up to plenty of big fish. But you will definitely want to use a wire leader in case there are any toothy barracuda or mackerel around. At $32.99, you do not want to lose this popper.
GT Crystal Killer
The smaller GT Crystal Killer has more applications than the giant GT Monster. Measuring 5.5 inches and weighing two ounces, anglers can use the Crystal Killer on just about any 16- to 20-pound casting outfit. These lures come in four color combos, including blue mackerel, red-and-white, dorado and yellowfin. They cast great and aren’t as hard to handle as the bigger poppers. The through-body construction will stand up to big fish, and the finish is really impressive. You can toss these poppers into any bait melee on any coast and expect to land fish. I could see it catching everything from striped bass to big jacks and yellowfin tuna. The concave face throws water like a dying bait and the hour-glass body shape gives the lure tons of action. They retail for $15.99.
Stick baits have really come a long way in the last few years and will catch just about any game fish in the ocean. Some guys even troll them for marlin. The Braid GT Minnow has some killer action and is extremely versatile. It’s perfectly balanced and you can fish varying portions of the water column depending on how long you let it sink. You can walk the dog on the surface, or let the 5.5-inch, 4-ounce lure get down a few feet and then begin your retrieve.
Again, this lure casts super far and you can cover a lot of water. It’s built to wobble like a wounded minnow, and it accomplishes that in spades. It’s also constructed with a through-wire for durability and features VMC treble hooks and an awesome, reflective finish. It comes in blue mackerel, a red-and-white flame finish, yellowfin and slimey. These retail for $27.99 so you might want to fish it with a wire leader so you don’t lose it.