A little old, a little new combine to make this topwater catch bass
Same size. Same action. Almost the same look. Same rave review on the results.
Arbogast hit a bass fishing home run last year when it marketed the Hula Popper 2.0, a spittin’ image of the G760 model of the original Hula Popper introduced in 1948. The reintroduction was the start of something big, something exciting, and a college graduate from Iowa was in on it as the content specialist for PRADCO Outdoor Brands.
Ethan Butler of Knoxville, Iowa, graduated from the University of Northern Iowa (Class of 2018) and moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where the company is headquartered. He got in on the tail end of the Hula Popper 2.0 campaign, the first launch of a “next generation” artificial lure by Arbogast. It was followed by the new Arbogast Jointed Jitterbug 2.0.
“I started in 2018,” Butler said. “The Hula Popper 2.0 project was already in motion. I wasn’t so much involved in the actual decision on what it looked like R&D, colors, components and feathers.”
But they handed the finished version of the Hula Popper 2.0 to him and he put his college double major — marketing/advertising and digital media, and business administration — to work successfully to help the revered topwater lure take off. Butler, 26, was one of the bass fishing enthusiasts who worked with the next project start to finish. It was a thrill to join a team that created the Jointed Jitterbug 2.0 and he was proud of his contribution to one of his favorite topwaters, he said.
Butler said the Hula Popper 2.0 “was the first one we really stepped out of the box with.”
The Hula Popper 2.0 is two inches long and weighs 3/8 ounce. It has all the characteristics of the original model save one — there are rear-treble hook feathers instead of the rubber skirt on the original Hula Popper. The feathers, a touch added by Scalish, accentuate the new model’s movement on the surface to create a tail-like look, according to Arbogast.
The designers kept the traditional shape of the bucketmouth that serves as a huge popper. The two No. 6 black nickel treble hooks are attached to new split rings rather than the old “hook hangers” for enhanced strength and full range of motion.
And it features the same popping action that the topwater was known for for seven decades. That’s what counts, according to Butler.
Hula Poppers are near and dear to the Iowan. The new one reminds him so much of the old one, the way it consistently triggers strikes, some that really get the blood pressure going.
“Yeah,” he said. “I love it. It really fits my style of fishing a lot. I grew up in Iowa. We don’t have a lot of big bodies of water. I grew up fishing small lakes and ponds. This bait … that’s its sweet spot right there.”
Butler said he adjusts the cadence of the pops to water conditions and cover. He’ll pop it more frequently if there’s a ripple on the water or around cover and less frequently (longer pauses between pops) in the spring if the water temp is in the upper 50s, he said, “when they’re not quite committed to topwater.”
The new topwater’s colors are spectacularly irresistible and feature the ultra-modern “crackle” paint job patterns. His favorite when he fishes in his home state is Blue Kill.” Other popular colors are Black Death, Coach Hog and White Zombie.
“It’s kind of crazy. Talk about a cool project just getting out of college and working on a project with Arbogast, launching such iconic products, first the Hula Popper and then the Jitterbug,” he told this magazine in June 2020.
Butler worked for PRADCO two and a half years before he and his wife moved back to Iowa for another job, but he rejoined PRADCO as regional account manager in mid-summer 2021. Chad Warner, PRADCO product director; Bill Jarboe, product development director; Frank Scalish, former pro bass angler and lure designer, and Justin Johnson were responsible for the Hula Popper 2.0.
Butler said he had the fun job, marketing the great product.
For more information about the Hula Popper 2.0 and other PRADCO Outdoor Brands products, go to pradcooutdoorbrands.com.