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Update: I have added some additional content at the bottom of the article after some more experience with the Whopper Plopper 75.
Over the past year, it seems like River2Sea’s Larry Dahlberg signature Whopper Plopper has been all the rage, especially when it comes to topwater bass fishing.
Admittedly, I’m usually more of a crappie angler with a background in muskie fishing, but the world of bass fishing is absolutely on fire now. Seeing as I write for a fishing website, it almost seemed criminal to not try out this lure that everyone seems to be raving about.
But what is it about the Whopper Plopper that makes it so popular?
My initial thought was that it had to be one of two things: the high price tag, or the fact that it catches fish.
The Whopper Plopper is not cheap
At our local Cabela’s, I was able to pick up a couple Plopper’s on a 20% discount. The original price was $12.99, which isn’t crippling by modern lure standards, but still a little bit of an investment for a lure that I had never used before, purchased by a guy who fishes for bass casually.
The lure is one of the more expensive items in the topwater section, and I was debating picking up something different — along the lines of the Strike King KVD Splash Topwater, which is more aligned with my “comfort zone” — but decided it was time to finally try out the Plopper.
Seeing as I can’t seem to leave the store without picking up a Columbia PFG hat, though, I guess I can’t really complain about the price tag.
A Huge Variety, Especially Online
I also can’t complain about my local Cabela’s because it’s really, really nice to have a store like that so close to home. Pretty much anything I want or need is only a short drive away.
Now, I love supporting smaller bait shops and marinas and will always try to pick up whatever I can from these shops — even if it’s something for a rainy day — but the big box stores are usually stocked with everything I could possibly need for a good day or weekend of fishing.
I was excited to check out what appears to be a pretty massive selection of Whopper Ploppers — a variety of colors and profiles to fit a lot of different specifications, conditions, etc.
The selection at the store, though, was pretty limited. Granted, a lot of the product was sold out when I went, but there only a handful of options for each of the Whopper Plopper’s sizes.
On the Bass Pro Shops website, for instance, there are seventeen different colors available for the Whopper Plopper 90. You could select from some of the brand’s most popular (and uniquely named) offerings like Bone, Blue Blood, Terminator, and Abalone Shad.
If you’re feeling especially funky, you can even pick up the popular Munky Butt.
At the physical store, however, options were far more limited. There were only a few colors available in both the Whopper Plopper 75 (the 3 inch, 3/5 ounce model) and the Whopper Plopper 90 (the 3 1/2 inch, 2/5 ounce model).
Choosing the Right Size and Color Whopper Plopper
For the 90, I went with “Sooner,” which has a green and chartreuse dorsal and tail with a clear breast and belly.
For the 75, however, I opted for the “I Know It,” which features a short, wide, thick white body with a single chartreuse line running horizontally from a black gill flap.
Admittedly, this wasn’t my top choice — I’d have gone with the 3 inch Munky Butt if it was in stock — but “I Know It” seemed like the right choice at the time. I had been having a little success with white, topwater poppers earlier in the week and wanted to see if I could at least replicate the same success with the Plopper.
Since I am primarily fishing eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia right now, we aren’t blessed with the whopper bass our pals down around Texas and Oklahoma see on a regular basis. They’re definitely up here, but pulling anything above the 5 pound mark is going to take a real combination of deliberation, skill, and luck.
For the bass I would be targeting at Castleman Run Lake in northern West Virginia — the closest DNR-stocked lake to my house — the smallest two sizes in the Whopper Plopper series (the 75 and the 90) seemed more than appropriate.
Catching Bass on the Whopper Plopper 75
So, like I said, I wasn’t expecting either the 75 or the 90 to land us any massive fish, especially on the lake I was fishing.
What I wanted to see, though, is if the Whopper Plopper catches bass.
The answer to that, at least from my experience, is yes.
Within about thirty minutes of throwing the 75, I was able to pull in three 1-2 pound bass and a crappie. None of the fish were life-changing, and this wasn’t the location to grab a PB, but I will definitely be picking up a couple more Ploppers before my next “formal” bass fishing outing.
Why do bass like the Whopper Plopper?
I had watched a few videos and read some reviews before throwing the Plopper for the first time. Like a lot of anglers out there, I’m always wondering where the line is between a catchy gimmick and a lure that produces results. It’s easy to lose a lot of money very quickly going on that wild goose chase, so I tend to be pretty selective when picking up new products — especially those that come with a considerable price tag.
What I liked — and presumably the fish did, too — is the top water glide, the “bubble trail,” and the distinct “plopping” the lure makes as it displaces water. Within a couple casts, I was able to get a feel for how I wanted to retrieve — faster retrieval increased the “plopping” but slower seemed to work a little better that evening.
Hooksets we fairly easy, and none of the fish manage to throw the hooks before being landed. Likewise, the only fish I had any trouble unhooking was the crappie.
One other consideration is that I was fishing the Whopper Plopper 75 on 8 lb Berkley x9 Braid Fishing Line with a roughly twelve inch 8 lb. Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon Fishing Line leader. At times, I was throwing the plopper into heavy coverage and could have easily lost the lure with a different setup a few times.
Some Late Summer and Early Spring Fishing with the Whopper Plopper 75
The highlight came when my brother and I landed about a dozen white bass in under ten minutes while fishing Piedmont Lake in eastern Ohio. The fish were small, but the bite was steady and ferocious. I’m not sure there was a single fish that weighed even half a pound, but in terms of frequency, it was the most aggressive bite we have had on the Whopper Plopper.
Later that day, my brother had a sizeable smallmouth hit his Plopper but it broke off before before getting to the boat. Based on size, that was probably the biggest fish we have had hit either the 75 or the 90.
In early Fall, I managed to land the 2-pound largemouth above on the Whopper Plopper 75 (bluegill color). The missed smallmouth earlier in the year was larger, but this was the biggest fish brought into the boat on the 75.
If fishing on a budget is your preferred method, then investing in the Whopper Plopper might not be for you unless you catch a good deal. Also, if you have an effective and proven topwater bass bait that has produced results for you in the past, it never hurts to stick with what you know.
After putting off trying the Plopper for almost a year, though, I am definitely happy with how it performed and will probably be picking up a few more just to round out my tackle box. Admittedly, efforts to land any significant fish were minimal, but there is a lot to like about this product. It’s fun to use, and when a fish does hit — even if it’s small — it is very hard to not get excited.
If you are interested in picking up one of the many different colors of Whopper Plopper 75, you can find a list available colors from the Bass Pro Shops website below. If you do decide to pick one up, I may receive a small commission on the sale.
Whopper Plopper 75 Colors