Smallmouth Bass Poppers can create amazing strikes from smallmouth bass. A fast action 7-8 weight 9’ is best when fishing topwater for bass. As stated above, this allows for a quick turnover of the fly which is important with a fly that has a lot of wind resistance such as a Dahlberg Diver or Popper.
A heavier rod also allows us to have more control and accuracy when casting these bugs. Which is important when trying to cast at fish right on the scum line or in tullies with heavy cover.
Running a bump heavy on the line weight is not a bad idea, as it allows for an easier, longer, and more accurate cast. My leader is the same for this setup too: 4’ of 20lb Maxima.
Bass are not leader shy and the heavier line allows us to rip flies out of trees, or if streamer fishing, off the bottom or out of snags.
When we get a strike on Smallmouth bass poppers, we want to pause for a second and strip set really hard multiple times to drive that hook deep into the fishes mouth.
When we lift the rod, the heavier rods are going to give as much, and this is really going to help keep plenty of tension on the fish when they shake their heads and jump. I always tell people never to give the fish an inch just keep on stripping and applying pressure. You would be surprised that a 3-pound smallmouth can cork a 7 or 8 wt.
A non-slip mono loop knot is what I use for topwater fishing as well. My favorite line is the SA Redfish cold line because it has a more compressed head in front which allows you to punch in big, wind-resistant flies.
Unlike the Redfish hot line that has a mono core the Redfish cold has a braided core that does better in colder weather. I don’t mean colder weather like 30 degrees and below I mean like sub-tropical conditions.