The Rebel Pop-R P60 is likely the most storied lure in modern history. It began with a quiet run in 1976 in a line full of similar Rebel “Poppers,” and disappeared a few years later with only a handful of anglers even taking notice. Among that handful, however, were several who would become legends.

When this overlooked lure re-entered the lineup in 1987, the Pop-R became one of the best selling lures in company history.

While officially “discontinued,” an East Texas tackle shop, Ann’s Tackle, continued to place special orders of the Pop-R at the request of several tournament anglers. Customers included young men with names like Rick Clunn, Bobby Murray and his brother Billy, Zell Rowland and Tommy Martin. These men would learn when a new order was coming in and buy up every one of them, not bad for a lure that didn’t originally have the sales numbers to even stay in the product set. That shop’s success, along with significant tournament wins and, eventually, “the secret getting out,” were big factors in the Pop-R’s resurrection.
When the Pop R was discontinued in 1978, after only a little more than 2 years in the line, it wasn’t even a blip in the lure industry’s radar.

Two-time Bassmaster Classic winner Bobby Murray nailed it: “Some bean-counter decided to drop it from the line.”

Murray’s assessment simplifies the exact reason one of the most popular topwaters in history was discontinued. Joe Hughes is a longtime fishing industry insider who now spends his time fishing Arkansas’ Lake Ouachita. When he tows his boat to the ramp he often passes the pool in which Rebel founder George Perrin tested his lures, including the original Minnow. As Rebel’s Public Relations Manager from the early 1970s to early ‘90s, he was in the meeting when the Pop-R was shown the door.

“Perrin designed the lure in the early 1970’s and by 1978 the company had just made the transition to computers, which seems to reduce products to simple lines on a screen,” he said. “(At the meeting) the Pop-R was on the hit list. I knew what was happening with bait in Texas, Mead and elsewhere and I couldn’t believe it, and said, ‘this is one of the best topwaters out there,’ and walked out of the meeting.

“I knew it would be back,” he said.