Joe SillsWritten by

Zell Rowland’s Accident: The Story of the Booyah Boss Pop

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In bass fishing, there are legendary fishermen and there are legendary baits. Occasionally, those two worlds intersect, and when they do, signature lures are born. Such is the case with bass fishing icon Zell Rowland, a man whose storied professional fishing career began at just 13 years old. He’s the youngest angler ever to fish a B.A.S.S. professional event, and age rules were soon after established to guarantee that he holds that record for as long as there’s a B.A.S.S. In the decades since, Zell Rowland has made a living on the water, and for nearly that long he’s done so with a popper at his side.

Most are familiar with the story of the Rebel Pop-R, how Zell would sand the bait down to create a unique sound, a “spit” as Zell calls it. He’d shave the lure millimeter by millimeter until it had just the right look—a more oval head, a more pointed tall, a smaller bait overall. Zell’s prowess with the Pop-R is mythical. It lead him to wins on the tournament trail and into the ranks of fishing’s elite.

But what some might be less familiar with is the story of Booyah’s Boss Pop—a lure carried over from the Excalibur brand that brings with it Zell’s own personal touch.

“The Boss Pop started as an accident,” Rowland recalls. “I accidentally shaved too much off of the face of a Pop-R, and it made the mouth of the bait flatter than I wanted it to be. But I tried it out anyway, and I found that the bass ate it just as good, if not better than, the Pop-R. That’s how the Boss Pop was born.”

Rowland has been deploying the Boss Pop successfully for years. “Whenever and wherever the bass are feeding on shad near the surface,” he adds. “I’ll fish the Boss Pop.”

Zell says the best time for Boss Pop action is just after the spawn, or when the shad themselves are spawning. “It’s also good in the summer, when you find bass in the back ends of creeks. If you see the shad flickering on the surface,” he says, “the Boss Pop will catch them.”

Booyah’s Boss Pop carries the lineage of a legend. It started as an accident in Zell Rowland’s garage; then, it proved itself on the water and earned a permanent spot in Rowland’s tackle box. “The biggest fish I caught on it was 10.5 pounds,” he adds. “Right after that, I had a much larger fish come up for it, and it straightened my hooks.”

Now, Booyah’s Boss Pop has become a must-have for any serious top water fanatic.

Joe Sills Hi there, did you know? Each week, we curate a list of the Top 5 stories in fishing and send them right to your inbox. Reading Tackle’s Top 5 is one of the best ways to become or remain an industry expert. -Joe Sills, Digital Editor

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