The questions in the Bassmaster article were: “Why this topwater? What makes this bait different than the multitude of similar baits?” The answers were that most anglers had no idea how to work the Pop-R. They used it like they would a normal popper/chugger – slowly twitching and chugging it on the surface, with plenty of long pauses in between. Hughes was one of the first to discover that the pros were doing something completely different with the Pop-R. According to Hughes, it was Clunn who discovered it first, but by complete accident.

 “Rick Clunn was guiding a young fellow on Toledo Bend; fishing a little gully that was 12 or 13 feet deep,” Hughes said. “It had some brush in it and there were good fish down there. Rick told the young client that they needed to get the bait down to the fish with a Texas rig or something like that. The kid, however, had a Pop-R tied on.”

Clunn decided to let the young man throw the topwater until he got tired of it and then tie on a plastic worm so he could catch fish. To top it off, when the young man cast the Pop-R he immediately began a high-speed retrieve with the rod pointed directly at the lure – completely the wrong retrieve to use with a topwater popper.

As so often happens in bass fishing, however, the expert’s eyes were opened to a totally new technique by a youngster too young to grow hair on his chin.

“The young man does this a couple of times and then ‘whoosh,’ a bass stops the retrieve,” Hughes said. Of course Clunn thought it was a fluke, but then it happens again, and again, and again.”

The key to this topwater reaction bite is getting the knot to hold at the bottom of the line tie to help pull the front of the bait upward (often aided with a drop of super glue). The result combined with the high-speed retrieve prompts the bait to skip and spit across the surface, making the sound of a shad skipping across the surface.

“It sounds exactly like a shad being chased across the top,” Hughes said.

The rest is pretty much history. The Rebel Pop-R has been the standard for all other topwater popper/chuggers to strive for, but like many classic lure legends, none capture the magic the Pop-R possesses. There now are four sizes and 18 color patterns of Pop-R in the Rebel catalog and another (the P70, the biggest of them all). The Premium Pop-R adds eight more color patterns in a slightly more-slender version.