Classic Lures, the Yo-Zuri Surface Bull GT popper.
To target truly large Giant Trevally and other larger reef predators, you need a really decently large size popper. In places like the Coral Sea or Exmouth in Western Australia, or in far flung spots such as New Caledonia or the Cook Islands, truly Giant “GT”s lurk around reefs and lagoon passages, along with out tropical predators such as Dogtooth Tuna, Wahoo, Spanish Mackerel and…well, hell, the list just goes on really.
However, it must be said that the GT is a sucker for a popper, and the bigger the GT, the bigger the popper.
Big Popper, Big GT…this GT inhaled this Yo-Zuri Surface Bull, missing paint and all, so deeply it had to be surgically removed back at the jetty, at Zipolo Habu Resort in the Solomon Islands.
I guess the standard “Big GT” popper around the would have to be the superb Yo-Zuri Surface Bull GT. This much copied lure has been around for a good twenty years or so now, and is still going strong.
A decent size, at 200mm long and 100gms, this lure can cast a mile, something that is very important when trying to reach prime GT territory, frequently right in a pumping reef surf break, and has a very solid boy design.
Made of polybalsa, I have had a few get chunks chewed from them, especially from BIG barracuda hits, and the paint flakes off these lures in pretty short order once the first tooth marks pop the skin, but none the less, this does little to affect the lures awesome action and fish-pulling power.
The Yo-Zuri Surface Bull GT….losing large chunks of its paint didnt stop this little GT from having a crack at it. This lure has been re-rigged with some very heavy duty trebles and split rings.
The only other issue I have had with these lures is that they are chronically underpowered in the hooks and split rings. I have had many hooks straighten and split rings pull apart, losing good fish in the process and have learned now to replace the pathetic supplied hooks and split-rings with decent heavy duty ones, such as 5xstrong Owners. You are targeting big fish with these lures, and so you definitely need to load your Surface Bulls with seriously decent hardware.
The Surface Bull has a decently wide mouth to give a good “boof” of water if you are blooping the lure, and as the lure is a floating lure, this mouth displaces a nice big splash of white water when it bobs back to the surface after splashdown from the cast….frequently the instant the lure is mugged by a hungry GT.
Another nice GT to the Surface Bull…this is rigged with the factory supplied hardware, and as you can see, on only an average fish like this, the tail hook had started to distort. Re rig with decent trebles, like Owners or Hamachi’s!
The face of this wide mouthed lure is also slightly sloped, so that as it chuggs along on the surface, the angle of the mouth lifts the lure clear of the water. This means you need to use a lot less effort to get the lure to work on the surface. Many other lures have straight faces, which make just as much white water to attract attention from lurking predators, but take a lot more effort to pull through the water to make them work, let alone to run quickly.
The main body of the lure is double tapered like a bowling pin. This gives a better hook point exposure, and also the fatter rear of the lure improves the casting aerodynamics, and allied with the sloped face, means that when retrieving the lure quickly, the lure sits up on the wider rear of the lure and skips easily across the surface of the water.
A lot of large poppers have the wide open mouths to make the huge explosions of white water that GTs seem to love, but this in effect turns them into a small bucket on the end of your line, making retrieval at speed a real chore.
If casting from stationary boats to a fixed point, say a breaking reef point, this is not too much of an issue, as you can slowly work the lure back to your boat for most of the way.
If you are slowly prospecting along reefs, casting forwards to baitfish or whatever, you need to work your lures back to the boat fairly quickly to avoid trolling them against the pull of the boat for the last half of your retrieve. Not only is this a lower percentage strike area, it is bloody hard yakka to do so with a big bucket mouth lure! Big mouthed chugger poppers like the awesome Hawaiian Island Design lures, that shift huge amounts of water and ring all the bells for big Giant trevally, are hard work to retrieve quickly….the Surface Bull? Not so much, and that makes a long day poppering far less exhausting.
This is where the sloped face and the body shape of the Yo-Zuri Surface Bull pays off so well, you can work the lure in the prime strike zone, as far from and forward of the boat as possible, making it chug and bloop nicely, then when it leaves the prime strike zone, you can start cranking the line a bit faster, the lure sits up on top of the water and skips at speed quite easily back to the boat.
This speed is by no means a turn off for fish either…in fact it seems to ring the bells for more open water predators like Spanish Mackerel and Dogtooth tuna as well, which I have frequently had smash these racing lures within metres of the boat.
Not just GTs hit poppers…this small Mackerel loved the look of this racing Yo-zuri Surface Bull.
The Yozuri Surface Bull GT is an excellent popper, the plethora of look-alikes that it has spawned around the world is testimony to this. A great lure for 50-80lb poppering.
If you are after a slightly smaller version of the same lure, the Yozuri Sashimi Bull, at 150mm and 70gms, is an excellent lure as well, and this one does have decent hardware as standard, good hooks and split rings. I use these fairly often on my 20lb poppering sets to great effect on all sorts of fish.
This Yo-Zuri Sashimi popper, which I have re-rigged with 4/0, 5x strong owners, proved to the a terminal meal for this greedy Long Tom at Zipolo Habu Resort in the Solomon Islands. The Sashimi has a far better, stronger body than the standard, larger Surface Bull lure, and does not have a flakey paint job either. An awesome smaller lure.