When I heard the news that the Rebel Lure Company was going to release a new version of its Pop-R model in 2021, my hair stopped greying and I felt ten years younger; when I heard the lure was a throwback to Rebel’s legendary P-70 design of the early 1980’s, I felt like a kid again.
It’s a funny thing, because if I ever fished an original P-70, I don’t remember it, even though its appearance in the late 70’s coincides with the time I started fishing. I didn’t discover the Rebel Pop-R until the late 1980’s when I was entering adulthood. As legend has it, it was around that time that the pros who had kept the lure a secret for over a decade let the horse out of the barn. Specifically, it was anglers like Zell Rowland and Rick Clunn who made the lure famous. As this article notes, however, by the time I was buying the lure, Rowland was modifying its original design. All I knew was that if I fished the Pop-R in the right places, I caught fish.
Jump ahead twenty years to the 2016 KBF National Championship on Kentucky Lake. I had been researching local websites and following local anglers on social media when I noticed that a bass fisherman on Kentucky Lake had been catching bass on topwater – in February. At first glance, I thought it was a joke. But the day before I left town I packed a Rebel P-60 Pop-R in the chartreuse shad finish. One morning I heard a noise while paddling out to Sugar Bay (my son picked the spot for me because he liked the name), and before I knew it I had found an area where the bass were herding bait. I cashed my first big tournament check that week and it was because I had packed that Pop-R and fished it in cold, clear Kentucky Lake.
In sum, I have a long relationship with the Pop-R, and that love has not been unrequited.
The Rebel P-71 returns to the classic P-70 design of my youth and adds some new wrinkles while retaining the features the made the lure excel. When I saw the color line up of the new P-71 Pop-R’s, the “Blue Candy” model reminded me of Sugar Bay. And because I am superstitious about fishing, I decided then it was the model I would tie on first. It hasn’t left my rod since.
So consider this a love letter as much as a review of the new P-71. I’ll discuss how it casts and retrieves, how it is made and how it behaves while it is sitting still on the water and when fish are on it. I’ll also compare it to previous Pop-R models. Most of all, I will speak sincerely. Be warned: I may sound like a teenager who got bit by the love bug. Like I said, the P-71 makes me feel young again, and if you like topwater fishing, it will likely do the same for you.Continue reading