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Old 08-22-2012, 09:24 AM
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Default Dead drift a popper?

Hi, I just read a cool article about dead drifting a popper kind of like a dry fly for smallmouth bass. The article talked about casting 1/4 upstream using a reach cast and/or mending. I then was wondering whether I should:

A - reach cast, mend, feed stacks of line to the popper as it passes by

or

B - Cast it, then hold the rod high so the fly line has no means of creating drag, then feed line as it passes by

Which should I do? What do you guys do? Is there a better method of dead drifting a popper/dry fly?
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Old 08-22-2012, 10:01 AM
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Default Re: Dead drift a popper?

Quote:
Originally Posted by turbineblade View Post
Hi, I just read a cool article about dead drifting a popper kind of like a dry fly for smallmouth bass. The article talked about casting 1/4 upstream using a reach cast and/or mending. I then was wondering whether I should:

A - reach cast, mend, feed stacks of line to the popper as it passes by

or

B - Cast it, then hold the rod high so the fly line has no means of creating drag, then feed line as it passes by

Which should I do? What do you guys do? Is there a better method of dead drifting a popper/dry fly?
You'll always need to mend to control the drift.
When you fish a popper in current, you're not trying to make a drag-free drift like you'd want to do when fishing a dry. You're purposely causing the popper to drag creating a wake to attract attention. You can draw a fish up from deep doing this.
You're not using your average cupped face popper to do this either. You want to use "slider" or pencil popper style bug that's designed to do this.
This type of fishing is especially effective at night when the wake of the fly against the night sky will be especially noticeable.

---------- Post added at 11:01 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:49 AM ----------

To truly dead-drift a popper you'll want to cast upstream with a bug such as the Clouser crippled minnow. This fly floats on it's deerhair head and collar while the marabou tail wiggles seductively underwater..

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 08-22-2012, 02:00 PM
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Default Re: Dead drift a popper?

this doesn't really answer your question but I would catch a few smallmouth when my popper would drift to the end of the line and sit in the water as I was not paying attention. sometimes it would either sit 'dragging' in the water while I did something else or follow me close to shore as I walked up the bank. what riptide said about a wake seems right on. I probably caught most of them that way. A lot of those takes weren't very obvious either.
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:11 PM
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Default Re: Dead drift a popper?

Quote:
Originally Posted by turbineblade View Post
Hi, I just read a cool article about dead drifting a popper kind of like a dry fly for smallmouth bass. The article talked about casting 1/4 upstream using a reach cast and/or mending. I then was wondering whether I should:

A - reach cast, mend, feed stacks of line to the popper as it passes by

or

B - Cast it, then hold the rod high so the fly line has no means of creating drag, then feed line as it passes by

Which should I do? What do you guys do? Is there a better method of dead drifting a popper/dry fly?
B only worbs if you are really close to the fish. I have a 15' rod I use a lot and I'm still not close enough most of the time. So I'd say A. You may also wnt to try doing a 'pop pop pop drift pop drift' kind of thing.

Once you start getting some cooler nights the Smallmouth seem to really like poppers. They are just getting in the good popper mode here. When that happens, I would probably not do a lot of drifting, and do more popping.
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:04 AM
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Default Re: Dead drift a popper?

I often dead drift poppers, especially when I am floating a river. Keeping that popper within a few inches of the bank through long runs is a lethal tactic. With that being said, I am not sure you need to be as concerned about a perfect drag free presentation. There are enough times when a little "V" off the popper brings some crazy flipping out of the water strikes.

---------- Post added at 07:04 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:57 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjsacid View Post
this doesn't really answer your question but I would catch a few smallmouth when my popper would drift to the end of the line and sit in the water as I was not paying attention. sometimes it would either sit 'dragging' in the water while I did something else or follow me close to shore as I walked up the bank. what riptide said about a wake seems right on. I probably caught most of them that way. A lot of those takes weren't very obvious either.
Great point. In this situation the smallmouth is heading upstream and the strike is not "felt" because the take actually produces slack in the line. There have been times when I didn't know I hooked a fish until I get ready to cast. It happened with a small pike one time and neither of us knew it was hooked. I told my son it was all skill
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:59 AM
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Default Re: Dead drift a popper?

Fish are like Women, they change their mind before its made up. Try many presentations until you have got one that works, but just wait you'll have to find another one soon enough. While wet wading in a local stream for smallies we had to change they way we worked the fly several times to keep them interested, sound fimiliar doesn't it.
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Old 10-07-2012, 12:03 AM
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Default Re: Dead drift a popper?

Sounds about right. I was serious one day about getting every Bass I could out of a few spots, just to see what all was there. I had five rods rigged up on the hood of my car. It was interesting to see that one fish would turn down a fly that another one would take. Then turn around and hit a completely different fly. Not only do they change their minds, I don't think their minds are all on the same page at the same time.
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Old 10-07-2012, 06:49 AM
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Default Re: Dead drift a popper?

Thank you all for your advice! It's a lot easier to learn when you have some place to start .

The best teacher I've found is the fish. On a couple (okay, only 2 to be honest...."a couple" is kind of big-dealing it) of occassions now I've located some VERY nice bass, tried to sneak up, hands shaking, drop a fly in there.....AND!

They swim away never to be seen again!

It's like I dropped a phone pole into the water from a crouched position.

Anyway, I'm getting better and the fish are kind of giving me pointers . It's like the old saying that "nothing improves your driving like a ticket".
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:53 AM
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Default Re: Dead drift a popper?

On the main river I float for smallies, the dead drift with big poppers brings up the big smallies. I couldn't figure out why until I got a 'toon with a standing platform. From that vantage point I could see the ledges underwater that the smallies hid in. Almost all fish were caught on a complete dead drift. I think they snatch it just as it pops into view from their lair.
This is not a numbers game for sure but the fish are always big. If it's numbers I want I do the traditional hitting the shoreline and giving the fly movement. The fish are almost always smaller but there are plenty of them.
Ain't smallies grand?
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: Dead drift a popper?

turbine,
Poppers work great in VA during the hot summer. I dead drift, I use them like a streamer, and have used them in still water in the shade. During the summer look for shade along the banks, throw one along the bank just inside the shade. You may end up with more pan fish strikes but there is nothing like real top water action with poppers. If you want to keep the pan fish hook ups down, use large poppers in the #6 or #4s.
They are also easier to remove than the smaller ones. Which will end up lodged in the pan fishes mouth and be a PITA to remove wo killing the thing. It never amazes me how those little pan fish can suck those popper right down their throats.
Sky blue, black, and olive green seem to be the favorites in the Rappahannock and Rapidan.

If you don’t make your own…get some at the VA Fly Fishing Festival every year in Waynesboro.
Home
Walt Cary makes some great ones and sells them at the show. (A whole lot cheaper than buying them anywhere else.)
I’d also pick up some shad fly’s for the Shad runs in the spring.
Here is a site that will give you some great info on the local fishing.
CatchGuide Fishing Books |

If you don’t know…you are located in one of the prime and unadvertised fly fishing areas of the east.

So Don’t tell anyone!

Larry
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