By Hiro Naito
To me, 2016 was one of my most-successful and amazing years for catching bass – especially big ones! What made it so special and exciting was that most of the catch was contributed by one topwater lure – the Pop’n Image Jr. I had over 20 bass that averaged eight pounds each on this lure.
The Pop’n Image first came out 2000. This was the larger 3-inch version. One of the explanation of this lure in the catalog was “The Pop’n Image’s design and split ring on the pull point make it the walkingest, pop’nest topwater lure ever made!” I agree. It is the easiest popping lure to walk the dog. The smaller version came out a few years later.
I have been using Pop’n Image Jr. ever since its introduction. I have caught plenty of bass on it, but nothing like in 2016. The biggest difference was that I intentionally changed the speed, rhythm, sound and pose during the retrieve. It reminded me of James Jeddon’s belief back in 1904 – don’t wait for the strike, make the strike happen. By varying the techniques of the retrieve, I have caught very nice bass in Japan, Arkansas and Florida. It is often a process, as bass have a particular preference from day to day. I might change the retrieve cadence one day, then just make one large “pop” per offering. But it is worth the extra effort.