Topwater Striped Bass | Hogy Charter Grade Poppers

Topwater fishing is arguably the most exciting way to catch fish. Aside from the explosive hits and visual entertainment, topwater fishing for striped bass is also extremely effective. On a foggy mid-June morning, Capt. Mike made the run out to Monomoy to fish the rips for squid hungry stripers. Using both the translucent pink and amber colored Charter Grade Poppers, Capt. Mike was able to closely match the color and size profile of the squid these fish were feeding on, resulting in a very successful trip!

  • Location: Monomoy
  • Time: Mid-June


The name of the game on this trip was making a series of short drifts to stay in position right above the rip. Starting in the smooth water above the rip, we slowly start to drift back until we are level with the beginning of the rip. From there, shifting the boat in and out of gear at a low rpm was perfect for keeping us in a position where we could make cast up tide and let our poppers swing into the strike zone. When a bigger fish was hooked, we would simply take the boat out of gear and drift back on the fish to compensate for the strong current. This allows for an easier landing and healthier release for the fish. To reposition yourself, simply slowly idle back up to the beginning of your drift and repeat!approach


On this given day the placement of your cast was likely the determining factor on whether or not you would get bit. Once the boat was in proper positioning just above the rip, Capt. Mike would cast up tide into the smooth water. As the current swept the plug downwards into the rip, it would drift over the area in which the fish were staging. This gives your lure a very natural presentation as it mimics a squid getting washed down current. The lure of choice on this day was the 5.5″ Charter Grade Popper in both amber and translucent pink, both in which are perfect topwater squid imitations.


retrieveNow that our cast placement is dialed in, an effective retrieve must be induced on your popper. My favorite way to fish a popper is with a “Pop-Pause-Pop” retrieve, but virtually any configuration of a “Pop-Pause” retrieve can be effective. A lot of the time you will have fish following behind your plug, and that sudden change in speed and movement is likely to trigger a reaction strike.


The Hogy Charter Grade Popper in amber
The Hogy Charter Grade Popper in Amber

The lure that we found success with on this trip was the 5.5″ Charter Grade Popper. Both the translucent pink and amber colored proved to be equally effective. An important thing to note is that Capt. Mike opted to remove the rear treble hook of his popper. This allowed for an easier fish landing experience, as well as minimizing the damage done to a fish.


  • Rod: 7′ Shimano Terez
  • Reel: Shimano Saragosa 5000
  • Line: 40lb Braid
  • Leader: 30lb Fluorocarbon


  • Remove rear treble hooks to make for easier landings and to minimize damage to the fish.
  • Change up the speed of your retrieve to find what works and to create a reaction strike.
  • Be mindful of your boat positioning when fishing a rip, and keep rpms low to reduce likelihood of disturbing the ecosystem.
Want to learn more about fishing for striped bass? Check out The Hogy Striper Playbook!

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