Ok, here's my .02 cents. Having chased these tuxedo fish around for the past 20+ years out here, and seeing the evolution in baits, I have come to many conclusions when it comes to my topwater baits. However, the most important "today" in my opinion are movement, weight, and noise. As of the middle of September, the Delta is as clear as I've ever seen it, so I don't think the fish are having a problem seeing the more natural colored baits, and they have been more apt to readily commit to these colors from what I have seen.
Right now the fish I have been catching want a slow glide, no noise, and when a big fish comes up on my punker I don't want it to be easily moved by the thrust of the fish. So, for me, I choose the wood version, and to answer everyone's question, I stick to two colors, Delta Shad, and Trout. However, my partners have also caught fish on Chanteuse Shad, and Perch at close to the same rate.
Furthermore, I have noticed the injected version works well over real shallow water that has weeds close to the surface, but the wood version is my choice in areas that have at least 2' of water over the top of those same weeds. Plus, there is a casting advantage; I don't have to get as close to active fish with the wood version. I use a Shimano 7'11" XH Crucial swim bait rod, a Curado 300, and 65# Power Pro. So, yes, I can reach out and touch fish that are a ways away no problem.
As I mentioned earlier, I prefer the wood to the injected in most situations right now, especially with all of the larger fish that are in the system right now. Why, because when they come up for it, they rarely cause a miss from moving all the water that they do. The havoc they tend to create when they come up tends to moves a ton of water, and sometimes the bait gets moved right along with it. That’s hasn’t been the case as much with the wood punker. The bait sits right there and they don't have a problem finding it in the midst of all that havoc. FISH ON!
So, in closing, I have one more tip…..Don’t put it down! It’s just like any other bait. You need to build confidence in it, and once you do, man is it fun.
I hope these thoughts help someone with their Punker experience here on the Delta, and just for the record, no I am not sponsored by Black Dog Baits. I’m just an addict like so many others.