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Lure Review

Combining collectability with fish a calling tease : The Megabass PopMax


Date: 10/13/05
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: Megabass
Reviewer: Cal




Total Score: 9.0 + Ultimate Enthusiast Award

Introduction: If given a choice of any method by which to catch a dream fish, most fisherman would agree on a topwater strike. Regardless of the species, there can't be a more exhilarating angling experience than having a fish explode on your lure right before your very eyes. Given an unlimited selection of baits from which to facilitate this guaranteed dream catch, chances are pretty good that more than a handful of bass anglers would select a Megabass PopMax. Come visit with us and discover what dreams are made of.

Megabass PopMax Specifications

Type Topwater
Class Floating
Size 3" (1/2 oz)
Colors/Patterns Approximately 19 different colors
Hook Sizes #4 front & rear
MSRP ~$28

Impressions: As an example to the fanaticism of this tackle giant and its president, Yuki Ito, the story behind the inception of the PopMax is that the original mold for this bait was carved, by hand, by Yuki Ito himself. Computer generated designs and models were simply not sufficient. Add to this original design, a plethora of high tech features such as internal water chambers, side stepping balancing systems, and among the most incredible finishes in the entirety of the tackle industry and the lore of this bait simply cannot be contained.


The Megabass PopMax stares with a downward gaze calling to the surface those fish foolish enough to fall for its tantalizing tease

In hand, these lures are truly stunning. So much so, it's a little difficult moving past one's appreciation for their shear artistry and actually tie one to the end of the line to fish! At the same time, the anticipation to throw this lure is incredible as one is forced to wonder what benefit, if any, all the high tech water chambers and balancing systems has on actual fishing conditions - oh the conflict!

The Field Tests: We closed our eyes and tied one of our PopMax baits to the end of some 14lb test Berkley Fireline which was spooled on a Daiwa Pixy mounted on a Kistler Helium He69APC. We don't normally fish topwater baits on superlines, but we did not want to take any chances with this bait!


Complete test rig for Megabass PopMax Field Tests

Rod Kistler Helium LTA He69APC
Reel 2004 Daiwa Liberto Pixy
Line 14lb Berkley Fireline

Fortunately, the soft tip of our He69APC coupled with the low rate of retrieve on our Daiwa Pixy made it possible to properly present this lure. Among our destinations with this setup, of course, were the vast waterways of the California Delta.

The Megabass PopMax in Glittershad finish mounted on our Kistler He69APC and 2004 Daiwa Liberto Pixy Limited edition reel


Casting: At half an ounce, this lure hardly qualifies as a light weight and casting was seldom a issue. However, where as we commonly throw poppers such as a Pop-R and the high priced Rico lures with little regard to stickups, trees, or other above water obstructions, we really found ourselves hesitating, on occasion, to throw this bait near effective structure for fear of losing it. We had to really bear down and concentrate to accomplish our casting goals. This was truly an unexpected obstacle but one we were obviously able to overcome.


The signature lure identification stamp found on the PopMax

Presentation: Once in the water, this bait is a real kick to work. Not only does it "bloop" like a traditional popper, if you use a snap swivel or other clip to fasten the lure to your line and retrieve it with a series of short, sharp twitches, it will walk like a cigar bait just under the surface. At pause, the lure assumes an upright position where, in quieter coves or bays you can hear the weights inside shifting rhythmically serving as an internal clicker. One of the marketed features of the bait is, if retrieved subsurface, it wobbles like a crank bait. Despite countless efforts, we're disappointed to report we were unable to create this action in the lure.


The PopMax sports intake champers within the popping surface


Design: High tech features aside, the detailing of this lure truly is exquisite. From the downward gazing eyes, to the quality feathered rear hook, to the prototypical Megabass paint job. The PopMax is truly a collector's masterpiece. Add to all of this, the internal and external sound and action of the lure and we were truly astonished to find all these features and such versatility in a single bait.


The holes in the mouth of the PopMax take water in to be pushed out at the gills during retrieve.


Durability: The paint on our PopMax lures, we found, to be on par with other lure manufacturers. Fished under normal circumstances with none of our typical torture tests, we found some of the finish wearing around the rim of the bait's mouth. The Megabass supplied hooks held up well to repeated hookups and our baits, otherwise, held up well.


A close-up of the incredible detail found this particular PopMax (Raigyo)


Application & Effectiveness: Did we find our Megabass PopMax any more or less effective than other topwater baits? It certainly FELT more effective given it's versatility and internal sound producing capabilities. There's no doubt in our minds its an effective bait. One interesting note, given the size of this lure, we were able to fish it in conditions where other popping baits would be lost - most notably under windy conditions.


Art in motion, the PopMax is an exciting bait to fish

The 1/2 ounce weight of the lure makes it easy to cast under such conditions, and the large mouth enabled us to produce enough splash, sound, and action to maintain the baits effectiveness. It's an intriguing lure to say the least.



Megabass PopMax Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Megabass quality at its finest 10
Performance We couldn't get it to dive and retrieve like a crankbait 9
Price One of the lures few imperfections 6
Features Internal water chambers, fixed and moving point balancing systems, rattles, yet still no guarantee of fish :) 9
Design A truly stunning presentation for a hard plastic bait 10
Application Topwater bait extraordinaire 10

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Super easy to cast L Cost of ownership is extremely high
J Quality hooks L You might not, in good conscience, be able to fish it
J High tech features  L Could not create marketed subsurface crankbait action
J Incredible detail  

Conclusion: Never had we experienced such initial, internal turmoil over the prospect of chugging a lure out into the water. The Megabass PopMax is truly capable of inspiring such unreasonable conflict. Of course, all that conflict is erased after that first, violent explosion beneath the lure. Topwater fishing can be heart stopping experience and such excitement is only heightened when using a bait built with as much thought, attention to detail, and crazy features as the Megabass PopMax. Collect it, fish it, or both, but no enthusiast should be without one. It is, in the mind of this editor, the ultimate enthusiast's lure!











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