By Jeff Samsel

I remember always waiting for the rings to clear when I cast Hula Poppers from pond banks when I was growing up. That was what the package said to do, and it seemed to work well. When I fish a Hula Popper today, I usually still wait. Occasionally, I get impatient or the bass show themselves to be in a mood that suggests starting presentations sooner. Usually, though, waiting is best, and I saw that first-hand when I was 12 or 13.

I was fishing with a buddy from the banks of a pond we called “Bass Lake.” It was a neighborhood pond of only a couple of acres, so I doubt it even had an official name. Walking along the shore and peering down into the water I spotted a decent bass sitting only a couple of feet from the shore and straight out from me. Fearing I’d spook it if I tried to cast and knowing I had no angle for a good presentation, I told my buddy, who standing was a short cast down the same bank, to cast parallel to the bank and just past where I was standing.

His cast came up short of the mark and landed almost on top of the fish, startling it and causing it to dart into deeper water. My friend was fishing with a Hula Popper. He too fished the way the package suggested, so he stood and watched, waiting for the rings to clear.

As I stared down into the water, disappointed that his cast had scared away the bass, I realized the fish was circling back and was coming to investigate what had made the splash. It swam almost to the lure and was angled up, just watching it. When my friend snapped his wrist and made the Hula Popper pop the bass responded like a cat pouncing on a mouse.

Good enough for me!