A Hula Popper, Jitterbug and Buzz Plug all make noise on the surface, attracting bass and other predator species and prompting them to attack. So how do you decide which to use any given day?

Various factors can come into play. You might seek to match a certain type of forage, want the relatively weedless nature of a Buzz Plug, or simply have the most confidence in a pop, a buzz or a gurgle, based on the cover, season, or time of day. A major deciding factor, though, can be the presentation speed that you believe will be most effective, because each of these lures by default fills a little different niche.

A Hula Popper generally works best with slow presentations. Although you certainly can catch fish by popping this lure quickly and steadily, it is most often cast, allowed to to settle awhile, popped a time or two, and left stationary again before the next pop. For this reason, a Hula Popper tends to work best for casting to specific pieces of cover, notches in a bank, or other spots where bass other likely to be holding. It works well for working methodically from one target to the next.

A Jitterbug, on the other hand, is generally designed to keep moving. Again, exceptions exist. At times pauses – even prolonged pauses – can be important to presentations. As a rule, though, it works best when it is cast and reeled back, which makes it extra good for covering water and for calling fish from farther away. A good Jitterbug strategy is to make long casts across flats or over the tops of extended points or flat-topped humps and working it from the end of the cast all the way back to the boat.

A Buzz Plug falls between the others in a way, as it offers virtue when fished fast, slow or in between, allowing you to mix things up from cast to cast without changing lures. It can be worked like a traditional buzzbait, which means moving it faster than you would normally fish a Jitterbug, but it also can be slowed way down to Hula Popper speed and worked with rod tip twitches and very pronounced pauses.

To emphasize, these are generalizations, and all three lures can be worked at a variety of paces to good effect. However, considering normally effective presentation speeds definitely can help you decide which lure to tie on or rod to pick up for a particular situation.