Reels | Rods | Lures | SwimbaitsBFS Lines | Terminal Tackle | Tools | Storage | Apparel | Enthusiast | Watercraft | Interviews | Events | Autopsy




Lure Review

River2Sea makes big splashes with the Bubble Popper

Date: 8/01/04
Tackle type: Lures
Manufacturer: River2Sea
Reviewer: JIP

Total Score: 9.0

Introduction:  This River2Sea, a fairly young company makes a big splash with the Bubble Popper, topwater lure is great at calling fish up from the deep by creating a great deal of commotion on the surface thanks to the combination of a large cup and vented mouth.


River2Sea Bubble Popper (Pop88) Specifications

Type Popper
Class Floating (Top water)
Colors/Patterns 14 available
Size 3 1/2"
Weight 5/8oz
Hook Size Daiichi #4
Price $10.99


About River2Sea: In 1998 River2Sea was founded in Australia with the goal to produce unique fishing tackle throughout the world. Quality products using premium components, high-grade coats of paint, the use of lead-less materials, and producing innovative lures is part of their ongoing initiatives. Today, aside from Australia and New Zealand, they have expanded to other markets including Asia, Europe, and the USA.


Introducing the premium River2Sea Bubble Popper that comes with its own tackle storage case

Impressions: We were first introduced to River2Sea products at the Fred Hall Show in San Francisco where they had a full display of unique lures for both fresh and saltwater game species. The elegant River2Sea Bubble Popper comes in a hard-shell container that serves as a individual tackle box. The head resembles a lifelike baitfish with fine lines emphasizing the gill and mouth, along with 3D red eyes. The body's lower and upper sections are patterned differently, and sports a quality finish along with holographic reflections. The mouth of the Bubble Popper is what makes it stand out from other standard poppers. The mouth is huge and has a less concave shape. The addition of 2 side ports integrated into the mouth deliver an additional action that attracts fish to strike. The Bubble Popper also features a Tungsten Force rattling sound chamber and super-sharp Daiichi treble hooks.


The Bubble Popper is extremely detailed in design with fine lines and attractive patterns


Tungsten Force: River2Sea truly believes and promotes the use of lead-free materials to protect our environment.  The Tungsten Force lures use Tungsten to fabricate such things as bb's used in the lure's rattling sound chamber.


Complete Rig for Bubble Popper Tests

Rod Quantum PT Inshore (CBIS70M)
Reel Quantum Boca PTs (BSP40PTs)
Line 12 lb. Sufix ProMix

Field Tests: From the initial inspection of its design, the River2Sea Bubble Popper is sure to make a racket for some great topwater action, especially at this time of the year when the water is warm and the fish are aggressive. We toss the Bubble Popper in various bass lakes and also targeted stripers hiding among the patches of weed.


An innovative mouth design, the Pop88 spits high and far.  Also notice the ports in the mouth that creates a fine bubble trail when retrieved


Casting: It's a pleasure to cast the Bubble Popper. At 5/8oz the River2Sea topwater lure casts nicely. There isn't much stopping it from shooting through the air to hit that distant target area. The high-density bb's inside the lure also assist it in weight transfer that help project the lure and at the same time providing the angler with control and quality placement on every cast.


Retrieving: This is where the fun begins with the topwater lure. The River2Sea Pop88 breaks the surface of the water with a long distance spit and bubbles as you retrieve it. Unlike the traditional poppers where the mouth is more concave, the upper lip points more towards the sky allowing this large mouth to scoop the water and spit it at a greater angle. Aside from a standard popper function, the Bubble Popper also generates bubbles through a ported design in the mouth. As the water enters the two ports and vents out near the gills thus creating a bubble trail that adds to the surface commotion. As you retrieve the Bubble Popper, carefully listen to the sounds it makes. The "bloop" sound this topwater lure makes is different than other poppers thanks to the ported mouth. This unique sound and break on the surface of the water truly calls the fish from watery hideouts and during our field tests many fish came calling.


Water enters through the two ports in the mouth, then is vented out near the gill area.  Also notice the big bright red eyes


Like other lures, working the Bubble Popper will determine on the surrounding environment and the fish's activity level that day. We enjoyed the most success with a simple retrieve and pause, just few tugs and then a good pause in-between, then repeat the process all the way back to the boat. In most situations the fish will strike at the beginning of the pause period as the lure begins to slowly sit in the water. When tossing the Bubble Popper for either Striped Bass or Largemouth Bass, the same technique above applies to both, but when you see the stripers in a feeding frenzy or if you see blow ups, a faster retrieve may be employed. And because of the Bubble Popper's mouth design, this lure has an advantage and can be retrieved fast and still be effective as a topwater lure. During one outing at O'Neill Forebay hunting for stripers, the fish began to break the surface near sunset. At this time of the day I prefer a quick long cast and begin to retrieve immediately.  The splash from the initial drop attracted these aggressive gamefish and as you continue to pop the lure, they will chase and blast the Bubble Popper from underneath, pause or not.


The Bubble Popper is definitely an effective lure thanks to features like the mouth design, bubble ports, and the Tungsten Force rattle chamber. The only thing we thought was missing on the Pop88 is a dressed rear treble hook. While the Pop35 and Pop65 sport this feature, the Pop88 does not. With a feathered rear hook the chances for getting a strike would be greatly increased especially when you allow the Bubble Popper to sit motionless at the surface. While it's easy for any angler to swap out, it would be nice if it was already included.


Field tested on largemouth bass and stripers and have proven to be a very effective topwater lure

 The overall durability of the Bubble Popper is first-rate. The quality finish didn't chip throughout our course of field tests on aggressive stripers and largemouth bass. Out of the box, the Daiichi hooks came sharp and remained that way even after many fish. We tested the point of the hooks at the end of every fishing trip by running it down the thumbnail and it showed no signs of being dull. When you buy the Bubble Popper, it comes in a plastic box, which is individual tackle storage case for this lure. Keeping the lure in its own compartment will ensure no damage will be caused and prolong its lifespan.


Price: River2Sea is a company that is out to produce unique lures that utilize a premium finish along with components such as Daiichi hooks and Tungsten bb's. A quality product with high-grade components mean that the lure will be more expensive than the traditional types. While a MSRP of $10.99 seem expensive to some anglers, the Bubble Popper in design and components used is actually half the price of other high end lures that are similar in design.


River2Sea Bubble Popper (Pop88) Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Great craftsmanship, quality finish, and premium components make this an outstanding product 9
Performance A very effective topwater popper that's different from standard types.  If it only had a feathered rear hook it would be even deadlier 9
Price A high end lure with a premium price.  A great alternative to similar lures that's double the cost 8
Features Features very sharp Daiichi hooks, a lead-free sound chamber using Tungsten bb's, attractive patterns using holographic reflections, and bubble ports all make this topwater lure action packed.  It also comes with its own tackle storage box that will safeguard it from unwanted damage 9
Design (Ergonomics) Extremely nice design with fine details and the innovative mouth with the ports make the Pop88 stand out 9.5
Application Even though this lure was only field tested on stripers and bass, the Pop88 is a good size for aggressive species that will attack prey at the surface.  This sure can be used in both fresh and saltwater 9.5

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Great topwater action L Could use a dressed rear treble hook
J Effective design L Not easy to find
J Nice finish  
J Sharp hooks  
J Lead-free  

Conclusion: Throwing a topwater lure is extremely stirring, and everyone should give it a try at least once. After you cast you begin to retrieve, your heart rate increases, as you anticipate an aggressive fish exploding underneath the lure. This is what topwater is all about, luring a fish up from the deep hideout, and enticing it to commit to a surface strike. The Bubble Popper does a great job at attracting predators to attack assertively from underneath and is effective on multiple species of gamefish. The innovative mouth design spits well and the ported mouth allows water to pass through creating a bubble trail as you tug on the line. The use of Tungsten bb's allow anglers to toss this lure in locations where lead is banned. Even though the River2Sea Pop88 is a premium lure with quality components, it comes with a price tag that's half the cost of other high end products and definitely a sound alternative.









Copyright 2000-2023 TackleTour LLC All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy information