There are many options and many opinions. We asked five guides in five areas, and they all touted a different clacker.
Captain Greg Hildreth, Georgia Charter Fishing, St. Simons Island, GA
“I love the tanks that Travis Harper makes, like Harper’s Super Striker. I love them for our style of fishing on the Georgian coast [a location with big tides] because you can vary your depth like a slip-float rig, and you can still pop it like a popping float. The tube you thread the line through is big enough that you don’t have to struggle to get the line through. Travis makes them in bright orange, pink, and yellow. When I use them on a chart, I put different colors on who does what. But if I had to choose, I’d say orange is my favorite.
Captain William Toney, Homosassa Inshore Fishing, Homosassa, Florida
“I prefer to use DOA caps. I like the large oval cigar stopper because of its deeper breath or pop in water, but there are quiet days when the smaller cigar stopper works better. The more chops, the better the oval plug works. The trout will travel to the pop thinking it is another trout feeding on the surface. Orange is my favorite color or red; but in my area orange seems to work best. They also work well when targeting the triple tail next to crab pot buoys.
Captain Derek York, Spot Stalker Guide Service, Galveston, TX
“I have used the Midcoast Products Evolution popper cap for over 10 years. In my opinion, it is the most versatile for the type of fishing we do here on the Upper Texas Coast. The casting distance, great popping sound and the ability to attach your leader to the top or bottom of the rig make it ideal. Tie the leader to the top to extend your casting distance if needed. My go-to color is black bodied cork with hot pink top. It’s super easy to see from the surface but not as noticeable from below when fishing from a stop for sheepshead and other structure-oriented fish. The cupped face really stirs the surface. Since the water here is normally discolored, I usually work it up for a louder sound. »
Captain Abie Raymond, Go Hard Fishing, Miami
“For trout fishing, I prefer the Cajun Thunder 3 inch Fluorescent Orange Slim Plugs as they have outperformed others for 25 years in my personal experience. I can only theorize that the slender shape and rattle of beads mimics a mullet or pilchard being attacked by other trout.
Captain Sonny Schindler, Shore Thing Charters, Bay St. Louis, MS
“By far, I prefer the Boat Monkey popping cap. The cupped face seems to make a stronger ka-chug when jumped. I’ve been using them for over 10 years. These are the toughest, farthest caps with the loudest pop I’ve ever used. I prefer bright orange or hot pink. The yellow color is hard to see when we fish in the sun. And the green is sometimes hard to see against our marsh grass. Sometimes they work too well. The rockfish will actually inhale them. But the Boat Monkey’s slogan is “Take a slap and keep slapping”.