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fishordie79

Big Popper for Wels Catfish

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Hey TU Folks!

 Last year I was with a buddy out at a lake that has a good population of Wels catfish. We were out there for pike and I was throwing a Westin Freddy the Frog in American Bullfrog decor. I had removed the bottom treble and only had the single hook mounted to the ass end of the frog because I was throwing into some really thick lily pads and was trying to avoid too many hang ups. That lure kicks up a pretty good wake and moves a lot of water. So on one cast I was retrieving the lure and just as it cleared the edge of the pads heading back into open water there is this loud sucking noise and the lure is gone. After a short fight I had my first topwater Wels catfish, maybe a meter (40 inches or so) long. Not a big Wels by any standard but first one on topwater so special nonetheless. That got me thinking. I have exclusive access to a small  shallow lake that is ruled by four or five Wels, a couple of which are pushing two meters (80 inches or so). I'd like to get out there this summer with the GoPros rolling and some big hand made poppers. I haven't made any poppers yet so I think this will be my next project. I saw Mikko from Solarfall Baits make a big pike/muskie popper the other day so I have somewhat of an idea of what I might do but was wondering if you all would care to share your experiences in making poppers with me. Ballast, body shape, type of wood, etc. I'll definitely have to do a through wire on these because I lost one of these giants last summer and I'm not about to take any chances next time. I'm looking for something that will move a lot of water and make a lot of noise. So what do you all think? How would you go about a project of this nature?

As always thanks to everyone! 

  

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Edited by fishordie79
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I’ve made a few mega poppers for edict fishing. I’ve had some nice fish explode on it. Stupid Muskies like to explode on the popper, but often end up hitting it away. Lol. 
 Crazy for me to think a catfish would go for one! Those are cool fish. 
 

anyway. They were a pretty standard popper shape, 10” long. About 1.25” diameter popper mouth. I’ll have to see what info I have on them. I added enough ballast roughly in the middle to make it sit slightly nose up in the water. With t he hook hanger just under the water when sitting. it made a pretty good pop when I give it a hard quick jerk. 
 

I’ll have to get more info once I go to the shop. 

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Nice fish. Say's that they live 60+ years. 

I don't have any experience making poppers but I have an older one that I bought and used it to throw on the edge on weedlines offshore for Mahi. I can dig it out and get a picture for you if you'd like. 

Besides a popper, something that would run just sub-surface and leave a wake on top of the water might get them interested also and run it right along the edge of the lily's.

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3 hours ago, 4/0 said:

Nice fish. Say's that they live 60+ years. 

I don't have any experience making poppers but I have an older one that I bought and used it to throw on the edge on weedlines offshore for Mahi. I can dig it out and get a picture for you if you'd like. 

Besides a popper, something that would run just sub-surface and leave a wake on top of the water might get them interested also and run it right along the edge of the lily's.

This bait wakes at low speeds, and runs slightly sub-surface on a faster retrieve:  

 

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@Big EppThanks for the suggestions brother! I'll check out the Smithwick's stuff tonight! Also, nice big bait man! I need to order some hardware to make something like that. Those propellers would likely get 'em interested:) 

@4/0 Sure thing man if you'd like to send a picture of that thing I will gladly take a look at it and see if it may be something I could incorporate into my deign!

@mark poulson That is for sure something that would get their attention. I'd even think about putting some rattles in there for added noise. These fish hunt mainly on vibration and smell so the louder/more wake the better. 

@eastman03 Sure thing man! Any info would be greatly appreciated. I'm definitely thinking of adding lot of rattles to whatever the final design is. 

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On 2/21/2021 at 1:37 AM, eastman03 said:

I’ve made a few mega poppers for edict fishing. I’ve had some nice fish explode on it. Stupid Muskies like to explode on the popper, but often end up hitting it away. Lol. 
 Crazy for me to think a catfish would go for one! Those are cool fish. 
 

anyway. They were a pretty standard popper shape, 10” long. About 1.25” diameter popper mouth. I’ll have to see what info I have on them. I added enough ballast roughly in the middle to make it sit slightly nose up in the water. With t he hook hanger just under the water when sitting. it made a pretty good pop when I give it a hard quick jerk. 
 

I’ll have to get more info once I go to the shop. 

Yeah man these fish are nuts. You can see videos of them on YouTube hunting pigeons on the Ebro river in Spain. They swim up to the shore and wait for the birds to venture into the water for a quick bath and then with super speed they just suck them in. Nuts!

 

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I cut the props for the bait out of sheet aluminum with tin snips, bunched the holes with a nail set, and used a belt sander and hand sandpaper to finish shaping and smoothing them.  I think they should work pretty well.  I used a through-wire for it, which is making the top coating process a little tricky, as I've got to keep the props clear.

That video is crazy!  Now to make a pigeon lure...

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If you want an aggressive top water check out the surface paddlers made for Murray cod. I built a version of surface paddler last year and so far it works for pike, musky, and bass

I am still tinkering with my design and plan to calm the action down a little for this season and make a smaller version

There is a thread on here where I first started looking into the build and a finished pic

I have a video of the action on my phone but don’t know how to post it

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1 hour ago, Big Epp said:

Nice looking mistakes @Hillbilly voodoo!  Did you add weight to those or do the hooks and face cup thing keep them correctly oriented?

The cup/hooks, mold angle, body shape and resin/micro balloon recipe is how it’s balanced. The only ballast I use in my resin poured baits are layers of pure resin. But everything is roughly planned out before I design the body shape. Takes some thinking at the start and a little messing around but once I have a design figured out it’s fast to just follow the recipe to pour blanks

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fishordie,

Here are a couple pictures of the popper ( one that I bought, don't know how to make them ).

I have caught several nice Mahi off of it. Offshore on a weedbed I will throw it along the edge and rip it hard, popping it and then let it sit for a three/four count.

The lateral line really shows up in the water. I don't if I like that or if the fish do.

 

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There are a couple of 'man-made' competition ponds stocked with catfish close by. The fish are generally 1Lb - 4Lb but occasionally much bigger. Cats are not my favorite, the standard bait is rotting fish guts.

I never thought of using a crank or a popper, but the chances of me being allowed such a tactic is very remote.

Competition fishing is very big here in Indonesia, ponds run at least two comps a day, sometimes 3 or 4, extending into the early hours depending on demand.

Dave

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