This morning, I was laying in bed after the alarm went off and decided not to fish the Ghettofly alone, so I meadered down to the side of the Mystic to try some casts. My big bottle neck popper that was tied on and looked so intimidating, shrunk up on the line when I walked out to the river and saw a boat trolling tube and worm, a kayaker, and two guys from shore. I can’t believe I’m saying this but I miss the cold November days on the Mystic when I can’t feel my hands, and can’t see another fisherman. I popped the popper anyway, just for hope and fun, and then reached into my bag to try out some other lures. So, I realize that with my feet on shore this is not technically a Captain’s log, please stop reading if you are offended by generalizations and grandiosity.
Now, if you’re still reading, and you’ve chucked anything artificial at Striped Bass for more than a dozen outing in a year, then you will have heard of, and probably own the Atom Popper Lure. Everyone knows the history: Mr. Pond was down the Cape Cod cannel after WWII and saw fish feeding on top and starting producing his lure of out wooden curtain rods and named it after the Big One dropped on those folks who now bring us wonderful, Shimano products and Gamakatzu hooks. It quickly became and still is, in the top 10 of every surf fisherman’s bag up and down the East Coast. My questions is: Why? What is the deal with these things? They are obviously a legend, but I have never, ever, never, even seen a fish sniff at these things! If anyone has caught more than one fish (accounting for dumb luck or dumb striper) on these please let me know. Better yet, since we all know how fisherman lie, please get your “go-Pro” out and let me see it in action. Because, I also do what all fisherman also do when they are not catching fish, and that’s look for fish porn on you tube. So just go and try and find a video on google that shows someone teaching you how to fish a Atoms lure and actually catching something. I couldn’t even find anyone fishing these things let alone see a fish hit one! Ghettofly charters has an opinion on all this, of course. First of all, kudos to Mr. Pond, his design is beautiful and I buy these things just on their ascetic appeal alone. But what the hell kind of popper sinks!? I know the pros say that sinking poppers are better because you can impart different action on them, but I say phooey on that. A popper always needs to float, otherwise how the hell can you fish it super slowly the way the Sideliners often like it? How do you pop it and see where it is when you want to pause it? How do you guarantee that your 10$, 15$ or even $20 lure doesn’t get snagged on some rock and leave you thinking, “There goes another lure I’ve lost and I never even caught a fish on it.” But at sunrise today, I tried out my beautiful white Atoms Popper that really sinks and doesn’t pop unless you twitch it just right, which I think I can do, but I also realized that making it look good on the water also hurts my elbow, and caught nothing. I’m too old to have to pay that high a price for style. Please see the culprits below (with switched out single hooks, re: Captain’s Aug 25th), and feel free to offer up a trade with any of your actual floating poppers that float, cause I’ll take those any day!
Keep your lines tight and your rod up,
PS: I do hear that Atoms are effective in rough surf, so out of respect to Mr. Pond, I am going to try them one more time, maybe in Montauk this Fall. Stand by for report.