Which Poppers for large Tuna?

Discussion in 'San Diego Long Range fishing Reports' started by vegasandre, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. vegasandre

    vegasandre I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Hi Guys ,
    I am looking at increasing my Popper arsenal .
    There is no other reason than maybe I hit a jackpot , get lucky and sneek out on a trip when my wife isn't looking. If that happens(which it most likely won't) I want to have stuff ready so I am not scrambling a few days out from any potential trip.

    Probably only a few guys to ask about this topic on this forum(Jamie,John) but:

    -what poppers have you been successful with for larger tuna -as well as color's and sizes.

    Thinking about the Halco roosta's ,Heru skipjacks, Yozuri bull sashimi in 100gram plus sizes

    thanks

    Andre
     
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  2. HeavyDrag

    HeavyDrag Member

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    I got a few from Charkbait and killed the tuna with them. I think they were the 5" poppers. ( Blue/Silver and Purple)
    The only bad thing is I had limites in the first few stops so after that it was mostly hook and hand with the guys using live bait.
     
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  3. DH10

    DH10 Member

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    Never fished LR, but have caught good #s of big tuna on poppers in Panama. Of course it depends on what bait the fish are feeding on, but generally the smaller sized lures worked the best (5" 2-3 OZ). I have had good luck with the Strike Pro tuna hunter and tuna hunter Jr.wooden poppers. They are tough, dense lures that have caught tons of fish and still work great (even if the paint has a lot of toothmarks). Sometimes it does not matter what you throw, they will eat anything that hits the water, other times they are picky. Having some subsurface stickbaits is a good idea....
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  4. vegasandre

    vegasandre I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    thanks Dave

    that Panama info helps greatly.
    As far as stickbaits ,I have had great success on the smith baby rumboh sinking models in Sardine color and some success on Tackle House Shibuki's - though nothing over 100lb.

    Maybe the smaller/ medium size poppers are the way to go. I already have a lot of larger poppers that are a bitch to throw sometimes.
     
  5. PCH

    PCH El Nino 2015!!!!!!

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    HERU from jig n pop makes awesome poppers for a good price. You just need to buy rings and hooks.

    Also shashimi bulls by yo zuri are killers. Just upgrade hardware.

    Bring some stick baits too, you can use your popper rod for them. Crashing tuna love them too. If you can get your hands on some Siren Lures, do it!
     
  6. JohnTFT

    JohnTFT Insomniac

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    The Strike Pro's are good for the money. The Gibbs Tuna Poppers are as well.

    Check out these stick baits made for me by a friend of mine.

    stickbaits.jpg
     
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  7. JohnTFT

    JohnTFT Insomniac

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    Double post
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  8. fishnfool73

    fishnfool73 Newbie

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    I have been using the OTI Komodos for a few LR trips as well as the Goannas. Hvae landed yfts to 100 lbs as well as yellowtail to 25 lbs. Never had an issue with the lures and they come rigged ready to go. The others you mentioned work as well.
     
  9. fishordie

    fishordie I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Yo Andre,

    I know you have read some of my write ups on poppers where I mention my favorite poppers. Stick baits are great but not the same visuals as Poppers. I do not remember what kind of rig you are throwing these on so be aware throwing the smaller poppers with a conventional can be a challenge or worse. Also, not sure how long a trip you are considering but right now here are a few of my favorites and the pricing is not too bad. Big Poppers are easier to throw but for West Coast Long Range I really have found the smaller poppers get bit better. Probably due to the size of the bait these fish normally feed on.

    Halco Roostah popper in H69 (bonito) pattern in 105, 135 (This is the size to start with) and 160 size. Rig the trailer with a big 8/0 or 10/0 OTI Raptor hook or equivalent. I am torn between this type of eye placed directly on the back eye of the popper vs. a similar sized J with a very short Assist line. On the 105 and 135 I do not use a belly hook normally but anything bigger, as far as popper size, I would experiment with one. If getting your belly hook wrapped on the main line becomes a problem use a rubber band to hold it in place. I use the back eye of the popper to run my rubber band from to keep the belly hook in place. I run the double rubber band thru the eye and then use both ends of the rubber band to hold the belly hook in place. I am still not sure if these lures are thru wired but they have held up great so far. I really like my poppers with a chartreuse underbelly which is why I like the Bonito color. My second favorite is the H52 (flouro green) mainly cuz it looks really good to me... LOL. You can also try the next size up if casting these smaller baits is a problem for you. I just feel smaller is better. Maybe it's just a guy thing.

    YoZuri Sashimi bull in the Flying fish pattern (CCFF). I wish it was just a hair smaller but this has been a great go to popper for me. Again, I play with the rigging of the hooks similar to what I have noted above. Adding a belly hook comes into play if the popper is getting tagged by a Wahoo or Tuna but is not sinking home. As a note, when I add the belly hook and use the rubber band I don have to constantly make sure the rubber band keeps the tip of the hook up above the body of the popper.

    Heru Skipjack and Tuna poppers sold by JigNpop. I really like the 60 and 90 size poppers in blue for both types of poppers. If you have trouble throwing these lighter weight and smaller jigs the next sizes up work as well but I really prefer the smaller baits.

    Having the right gear to fling these smaller baits is super important. A popping stick is a must and of course you already know I only use Spinners. Depending on the weight of the popper I usually use the Black Hole, Cape Cod popping rods in both the 80G (My favorite) or 80N. I have not yet tried Kil's 76G popping rods in the same black hole but I am thinking about it for bigger fish. I am also using a Phenix 869 Black Diamond Hybrid for tuna up to around 100 pounds especially on the lighter poppers. I like a short, 24 - 30 inch, flouro or mono top shot so the connection sticks out of the tip when casting. I do use a short insert (6 - 9 inches of insert), Served and then Tac Glue the entire insertion and serve areas. These "Casting Wind ons" are by far the best way to go for me. Buy them from Basil or make your own. If you do make your own make sure the materials stay super clean and the spectra is the smallest diameter which will allow the plastic line to be inserted. Make sure you serve is perfectly aligned. Using the super fast setting Tac Glue also needs to be played with on test samples in order to make sure you are getting the proper penetration thru the Spectra and into the plastic line. prepare you test samples, glue and then use a razor blade to cut the glued sections to make sure the plastic is discoloring. If you section a non glued section you will see the glued area is milkier due to the penetration. The angler MUST be comfortable with his or her insertions and connections for this system to work so the angler does not ever worry about it when on a fish.

    Next is developing a great fish fighting technique knowing full well the really big tuna are going to kick our asses on a Popping rod but hey, if it was easy everyone would be doing it.

    Best of Luck Andre. I know you are up for the task.

    Jamie
     
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  10. vegasandre

    vegasandre I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Hi Jamie
    thanks for all of that info.
    I know if I asked the question that you would eventually find it and give an awesome ,detailed answer:)

    A question on the hooks- If you use a belly hook are you using the assist hooks or trebles? What do you think about a assist hook off the back and treble on the belly? I have been using the owner sst66 trebles and matching the size to the plug for all of my hooks. I am going to try the assist hook thing. I should of awhile ago as I like to release a lot of my fish anyway and the assist hooks make that easier.

    Going to go with the smaller /medium sizes on the plugs.
    On the tackle , I have a Stella 18k with a 25 k spool filled with 100 , Matched to a oti tuna sniper 80-120 as my larger fish popper set up.
    I Kind of like the harness with the rod straps to fight the bigger fish but have to experiment with it more. Kind of a hassle walking around with my harness when I am mostly bait fishing/rail rodding a lot. But it is good to have on incase the popping situation arises.

    Thanks again , not sure if I am getting out , It will be a last minute jump on kind of thing.
     
  11. afraser

    afraser I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    X2 on heru skipjack and tuna poppers. Work great. However, #1 for me for a top water lure is still a floating smith baby runboh. Same topwater bite as a popper, but more effective. On YFT, it is usually 2:1 compared to bait. They do work on bigger tuna, but they are not indestructible. Through wired, but they are made of foam with a hard coating. For me the topwater bite plus the increased effectiveness is worth the cost.

    I'd go with 2 big trebles, preferable owner st76 hooks, 3/0 work for me. The double hook will often cause the tuna to have its mouth wired shut and shortens the fight.
     
  12. The Great PF

    The Great PF Member

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    I really like the OTI line of poppers. Very well made with great hardware. Pricing is right, too.
     
  13. fishordie

    fishordie I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    Hi Andre,

    Belly hooks are something I seem to always play around with. I use both the ST66 and ST76 up to 5/0 sizes depending on which coast I am on. West coast, again, I just seem to have better luck with smaller Trebles up to 3/0 on my smaller poppers using my rubber band technique to hold them in place against the belly of the popper. I mix and match using the trailing short assist hook with bigger J hook like the OTI I noted and have been playing just a bit with the Owner single siwash but I am not sure just how strong they are when using a tool to squeeze the eye of the hook. I do find having the point of the hook sticking out above or below the body of the popper is very important. This can be done several ways using a rubber band. Using smaller poppers and trying to find just how big of a hook I can get away with seems to be a constant trial and error. I think it was Bruce who said if they will eat the big hook feed em the big hook but if it were always that simple Owner would make a 90/0 J hook. I have some rigs where I brazed the hook to the jig but I am using more and more Owner split rings of various sizes so switching out, using the Texas brand split ring pliers for bigger diameter split rings, makes the job quick and easy.

    As far as fishing out of a harness goes, I have the gear for it and there have been many times I wish I had it, especially as I get older, I just find I am not using it very often preferring to use the step back and wind forward approach when the fish is away from the boat and then the rail when the fish is closer. Now, at the end of a few fights with some giant tuna my life would have been so much easier had I been in the harness. The draw back being setting up a harness for a popping rod requires more of an elevated approach to the angle of setup vs. a conventional and less bendy rig. AT 40 pounds of drag my popping rods are bent to the max. This means when the fish is at death circle I might still have to get out of the harness when the fish circles under the boat or require a deck hand to use the Y to keep the line from rubbing. In the harness the angler, using spinners, might not even be able to see the fish when it is close to the boat. That said, the harness on spinners is a great way to go if you do not mind the gear on or the D rings attached to the rod while endlessly casting. Talk soon.

    Jamie

     
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  14. casamiller

    casamiller I Think I'm Bit...

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    yo zuri red and white. caught a bunch of yellowfin on that this summer
     
  15. backlashjack

    backlashjack Scallywag

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    Poppers suck, dropper loop rules
     
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  16. vegasandre

    vegasandre I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    LOL , good one there. No one I know who has caught Tuna on poppers consistently would ever say "Hmm this popper shit is boring- I wish I was fishing a dropper loop"
     
  17. johndtuttle

    johndtuttle Angler/Client

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    Well I must say my biggest successes have come in Panama too, I just haven't been able to go LR on a Cow hunt in over 10 years due to medical school, residency and now a new family.

    The people who have the most experience with Tuna over 200lbs are the boys at Saltywater Tackle in New Jersey (Sami Ghandour and Paul Chua). I think Sami's best is a 442lb BFT caught with spinner and popping rod and probably dozens over 200lbs between them or guys they have equipped

    Think that one over a bit.

    Those are the guys to talk to who can truly speak from experience.

    My take on things is that Cow tuna are more likely to hit poppers in a WFO bite. Poppers will work on schoolies whenever they are around and can even induce not very active small fish to hit in a reaction bite. But bigger fish are more reluctant to crash on the surface. Probably an effort to reward versus risk of injury sort of thing for older and more wily fish.

    I also think they are more likely to hit large stickbaits like from Siren Lures or the Carpenter style GT baits as they have the action to create a bite when the fish are active and represent a worthy mouthful for the effort but are subsurface when they are typically hit. We are talking big stickbaits like up to and over a foot long, but talk to Sami and Paul.

    It's always a case of match the hatch too. I think your best shot at cows is when they are on skippies or bonita and you fish a very large stick bait (or maybe popper) that is closer to their size. Cows will hang around chummed sardines obviously and our fave Baby Runboh might get hit then. But it really is a case, in my opinion, that the best chance is when the right bait is present to make the largest fish (cows) aggressive enough to hit artificial lures on the surface regardless of the small quantities of bait the boat is throwing. Really, you want the boat throwing sardines to skippies and then cows on the skippies or some similar scenario when big meals are making the cows super aggressive.

    regards


    ps Big Tuna are Big Tuna so don't worry about BFT versus YFT etc or the smaller boats that Sami and Paul fish from. We are talking about what it takes to get *bit*. Landing that Cow is gonna be another thing entirely on a LR boat (not impossible by any means with specialized setups). I think afraser is the only one who has posted of catching a cow LR (202lbs if I recall).
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  18. Masonboro

    Masonboro Newbie

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    I lost a 150lb.+ YFT last week at the transom of the Maximus last week on a Heru 90 blue Skipjack. Was using St-66 2/0 on belly and tail. Tuna changed direction on me and the fish was hooked on side of head, when it changed direction I lost it.
    I have spent a lot of time popping in Panama and have caught many large YFT on popper but only have 3 trips to Mexico.
    My go to popper is Heru Skipjack 90 or Smith Baby Runboh sinking in sardine color.
    Hope this helps and Jamie's and Johns advice is very good.
    Good luck!!
     
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  19. DC61

    DC61 Well-Known "Member"

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    Great advice from all. Thank you.

    I am heading to PV next month and Panama the following month. Buying a Stella 14000 for popping. What pound and brand of spectra do you recommend? I will use hollow core and am comfortable making my own wind-ons.

    What Rod should I put it on. I prefer something under 8' so it fits in a rod case. Is this long enough.

    Would prefer a two piece if there is a good recommendation from the group.

    Where do you get the best price on the poppers mentioned above?

    What is a stick bait and how do they work? Can someone post a photo?

    Lastly, Jamie could you please add some photos of how you rig the hooks?

    THANKS
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
  20. fishordie

    fishordie I've posted enough I should edit this section

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    I rarely do photos but I will try to remember. However, you might want to consider the 18K stella over the 14K for line capacity and just a bit better crank-ability. For me the 18K is a perfect size spinner for those 30 - 200+ pound tuna you will encounter. You are going to be in Panama in what might be a prime big tuna time so a bit of extra capacity is great. Additionally, with the 14K, you can easily dump well over a third of the reel just on the cast so your drag situation and remaining line capacity gets funky. If it is not too late go with the 18K but that is my personal preference.

    I fill mine with J.B. 80# or 100# hollow to the top as they end up being of similar breaking strength depending on the lot. I have tested 80# that often breaks higher than 100# as I believe the 100 was designed for those looking for records so the line cannot over test past a certain pound test. I am not convinced you need to top these with the 130 hollow since you can make hollow loops easily but I do splice in the 130 on the top 25 or so yds. as my brain just thinks its better at the end game, when I am pulling for all I am worth, and makes better loops. I tend to use J.B. or Izorline Hollow but most of the non coated, hollow, spectra lines out there are fine. I have friends using all brands of Spectra for their popping needs. I also have tried Threadlock but I am not sold on it yet. Like plastic lines, with Spectra, there are no real secret sauces. Breaking strength comes down to diameter and number of strands. 12 strand hollow is fine. Similar line rated 16 strands will normally be bigger in diameter and break at higher tests. But I have never broken my Spectra unless it had a nick. I like line capacity as the drags change so much the smaller one gets down on the spool as line is peeled off and I hate the deep angle the line takes when the spool is depleted and it goes up to the bail bearing before exiting the reel.

    Some folks recommend using 60 Hollow underneath with a topping of 100#. to gain additional capacity. I have found that the snap strength of 60 just is not good enough when we are blasting or have starting drags at 28 - 30+ pounds nor does it hold up well when we get into bigger fish. Since you will be in a Panga or cruiser the need to go up and around folks is nothing like on a long range boat so you can start with higher drag and the boat may end up chasing the biggers. If you have not done that before start with 25 pounds of drag and then be prepared to up it quickly if the fish is running for the hills or until you get used to higher drag settings. You will find the sweet spot for drag setting which work for you.

    It comes down to winding the line tightly onto your reel's spool when it first comes off the bulk spool. Shimano shows what I believe to be a low amount of powerpro capacity on their reels as I tend to get a bunch more than their charts show. Basil probably gets even more and puts a cool counter twist into it as he has specialty equipment. Too many shops do not put enough pressure on the spinner spool when first winding it on. Most spinners, after the first big fish is caught, have shrinkage.... even though it is not cold outside.... so loading Spectra at proper tensions when you first put line on the reel is important. Without a line winder it is really tough be able to straight wind the reel against the proper tension on the bulk spool.

    You already know my stance on rods. The 8 foot Black hole Popping rods are my favorites. They come in two piece which I also use on my long range work. The G is my favorite until we get really small on the popper weight at which point I use the N. There are many rods you can use for popping on the market but these just best suit my needs.

    Stick baits can easily be more effective as poppers as they more replicate a bait fish. These look more aero dynamic shaped and can either suspend a bit below the water surface, which I find most effective as well as the floating top water versions. John noted some of his favorites which are great and very effective stick baits such as most everyone's favorite Baby Runboh, in floating and sinking versions, but you can also go to sub surface baits like the Daiwa Dorado slider, Soul Barabas and one of my favorites the Tackle house Shibuki. There are many ways to retrieve stick baits to get different actions from a slow swimming bait to a darting hurt bait to a hauling ass then stop flyingfish action but that is a topic for another time as I have written another novel. For me, Popping is just a different breed of cat spiritually.
     
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