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G-Splash! The Newest Pop on Top

By Russ Bassdozer

On the outside, all poppers look similar. They're very close in external appearance. You have to look at them very closely to see that they are not at all identical in shape. On the cupped face which makes the splash, there are differences in concavity that you have to look at very closely to see. There are differences in the sharpness (or smoothness) of the ridge where the concavity meets the body. In the case of the G-Splash (made by Lucky Craft) it is the newest and most obvious to spot the differences. It has a square bottom as opposed to smooth round body, the surface area inside the concavity is greater and deeper on the G-Splash, and the ridge where the concavity meets the body is raised so the "lip" protrudes. Interesting.

Inside of them, there are differences too. Internally, there are difference in the lay out of the internal weighting chambers and the weight balls within the chambers. 

On the water, there are differences you may (or may not) notice depending on how you fish topwaters. How you fish topwaters (or how they fish for you) depends on several factors such as the rod, reel, line you use, how you connect the topwater to the line, how you hold the rod and how you work it. Generally, a soft rod works best. I like a seven footer and I like a high speed retrieve reel, typically spinning. I like monofilament (Berkley Big Game from 8 to 15 lb. test) as opposed to braid or fluorocarbon for topwaters.

As for the connection, there are 3 different ways to connect a topwater:

  1. A tight knot (Palomar or Uni-knot)
  2. A loop knot 
  3. A split ring or wire clip

I usually start the day with a wire clip. I like the fact that the wire clip allows me to instantly switch models and colors of topwaters between casts without retying the knot. Once I find which model and color is working, I have no compunctions about tying direct to the bait with a Uni-knot. 

As for rod posture, there are two alternatives:

  1. rod up
  2. rod down and to the side

You typically hear that the rod should be held down and to the side to get the best action with topwaters. Maybe this is true in theory. In actuality, whether you are popping from a boat or from a bank, there are many times when you cannot get the rod down to the side like that - something is often blocking the way, and it's a compromising situation to pop the lure and to set the hook free and clear when you hold the rod down and to the side. Therefore, I just hold the rod tip up to work topwaters. Usually, nothing gets in the way when you work the lure or set the hook with the tip up. So, I stick to that. 

Those are my own personal "givens".  The conditions I impose upon myself - rod up, mono, spinning, a wire clip or Uni-knot - and I make the bait work the best it can "given" those self-imposed conditions. I have confidence in doing that. It makes everything simpler for me. It allows me to concentrate on catching fish rather than how to hold the rod, how to manage the line and what not. Maybe I cannot talk and chew gum at the same time, but I can usually pop up a few! 

Which bait is best? All these lures will behave slightly differently. As you use one or the other, you may find desirable properties (or simply confidence) in one of these baits rigged and fished in one way that you prefer. Generally, if I want a slashy, spitty bait, I go to the Yamamoto Sugoi and work it fast with very short, frequent rod tip movements. If I want a muddled popper with more of a walking attitude to it, I go to the Yellow Magic and I draw it along the surface more between slashes. I use those two most. Then, of course, there are others such as the Chug Bugs which I like to use more slowly than the others. If my partner is chug-bugging a bunch, I put it on and imitate the action that he's giving to it, which is usually slower and more hesitant than I use on my own. To go really slow - almost no action at all - I like the unmodified Pop'r which I just let sit there forever without moving it except for an occasional "BLOOP". Bass cream it as it lies motionless between intermittent bloops. I'm not sure of ALL the G-Splash may be able to do, but in testing the G-Splash, I think it's a good candidate for that "do nothing" deal, and I feel the realistic color shading on the G-Splash can be a positive when bass are taking a long look at it. I'm not a fish, so I do not know how they see, but I am well-convinced they do not see like we do. I do suspect they detect ALL the colors on the bait - belly, sides AND top, due to the infinite light refractory angles bounced back to them off the water's surface, plus the bait itself walking and rolling side-to-side. All that lets them see the whole enchilada I think.

The tail end for sure. Chicken tail feathers are a given on poppers. Why? Simply more fish bite them. I like them long, soft, and very thin. With thin feathers, I like a 5 count in the tail, and I like one to be chartreuse. It's good if say 2-3 of them are 1 1/2- 1 3/4", one's like 2" and another 2 1/2" rather than all equal length. With "fat" feathers, only 4 of them with 1 chartreuse. Of course, all white is usually what comes in the package, and that's okay. 

I don't know where the brand new Lucky Craft G-Splash fits in yet.  One thing I think I can count on is that Lucky Craft would not roll-out the new G-Splash unless they were confident it was in some way superior to other lures of its style. Lucky Craft lures are all good. The Sammy walking bait is a sweetheart of a walking bait on top. Among other Lucky Crafts lures, the suspending Pointer Minnows routinely win early springtime tourneys when ripbaits are in season. That's just the tip of the Lucky Craft iceberg. Many other fine models Lucky Craft hardbaits are all virtually unknown in North America. As for the G-Splash, I like the hooks. They are strong, light VMC's sharpened using a special Daiichi sharpening process on the G-Splash as opposed to the Owner's that come on many topwaters. Don't get me wrong, the Owner's are perfectly fine high quality and hypodermic needle sharp, but not as strong as the Daiichi's when it comes to holding big bass.

New toys for big boys - and big bass! You can be sure I am eager and excited to get on the water and figure out what makes the Lucky Craft G-Splash work best when. I'll keep you updated when I do.

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