We cover the surf fishing basics in our Surf Fishing How-To Guide, but more advanced anglers may want to try fishing the surf with artificial lures. And poppers and chuggers can be a great choice for topwater in the surf, since the surface disturbance they create can help fish home in on the offering even among the crashing waves. Added bonus: nothing is as exciting as seeing a fish smash your topwater lure. When you decide to give it a shot, use these surf-poppin’ tips to make sure all that casting doesn’t go unrewarded.

rockfish ate a surface popper
The popper called in this nice striper. Photo courtesy of John Unkart
  • Choose a large, heavy popper so you can maximize casting distance. Don’t worry, a 28-inch striper has no problem attacking the biggest poppers and chuggers on the market.
  • Don’t just heave-ho the popper straight out. Also try casting at an angle nearly parallel to the breakers. Often the fish will strike just beyond their crests.
  • Be aggressive with the popping and chugging, so the commotion gets detected among the background noise of the breakers.
  • Minimize pausing between pops. Most of the time the predators react better to a “fish” that’s trying to actively evade them, and the lure should be in motion 90-percent of the time.