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April 2022

Complete Rod, Reel and Line Setup for Topwater Techniques: Buzzbait and Popper

Major League Fishing Pro Andy Montgomery shows off his complete rod, reel and line setup when fishing topwater buzzbaits and poppers.



Andy Montgomery loves to fish poppers and buzzbaits and walks through his preferred setups for each bait.

Most people do not fish fluorocarbon with topwater baits because it sinks. Andy points out that it’s irrelevant on a buzzbait since you are constantly retrieving the bait during a cast. Braid has no stretch while monofilament has too much stretch, making it difficult to get a solid hookset. This is why he prefers fluorocarbon, because the stretch is not too much or too little. Strike King 20lb Contra Fluorocarbon line is what he uses for all of his buzzbaits. For the rod, he likes to use the Lew’s Signature Series Bladed Jig Rod. “This rod has a 70-30 action, which means it has plenty of backbone but enough tip so that I can make longs casts and allow the fish to eat it a little bit. I still have enough backbone to get the fish in” explains Andy.


He switches between two reels depending on the situation. If he is making extremely long casts, the Lew’s Hypermag Baitcast Reel in the 8.3:1 gear ratio is what he will use. If Andy knows he will be fishing closer to structure or skipping with the Skip'N Buzz, he will choose the Lew’s Pro SP Skipping and Pitching Reel which again is a high-speed reel. Andy points out that line capacity is not a concern with this reel. “I have fished all day with this reel and can tell you that this is not an issue and I have plenty of line” Andy explains.


For the popper, Andy points out that you can’t use fluorocarbon for these styles of baits. He prefers the Strike King 15lb Contra Monofilament line. “It’s a great monofilament line that allows me to make great casts” says Andy. He likes a shorter rod and will throw the popper on a Lew's Signature Series KVD Jerkbait Rod. The 6’10’’ length allows him to work the bait straight down. The handle is shorter too, which can help make for more accurate casts.


He will pair this with a Lew’s Custom Lite SLP Baitcast Reel. “I really love this Custom Lite reel. It’s extremely lightweight. I can get fatigued working topwater baits all day long, so having a shorter rod with a super light reel helps to reduce that fatigue. I can be super accurate with it as well” explains Andy. The Lew’s Custom Lite reel weighs only 4.9oz making it one of the lightest reels in the market today. Topwater fishing can be some of the most exciting bites visually so make sure you make time to get on the water soon.

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