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wjc 10-30-2012 09:44 AM

Trying something new
Hi all,

Well, I'm trying something new in hopes of getting a decent sailfish popper that looks similar to a ballyhoo and won't ride ass-end down so much with tandem hooks - which I'm going back to after dismal hookup ratios with singles.

It took three different trys to get expanding foam (that contractors use to insulate around windows) to expand inside of Mac Greaseburger straws. The large expansion only worked on the ends with goo in the middle. Then the less expansion foam did the same thing even with the straws cut in half.

Finally, I discovered that the foam uses moisture to cure, so I put a bunch of slits into the straws on two sides with a razor knife. Then I dunked the straws into hot water before squirting in the foam and Voila, about 60% of them worked. I threw them into a pan of warm water after filing with foam. Both my hands are now covered with the stuff and will have to wear it off.

Since the trailing hook is a 7/0, just putting a Cam Sigler foam head in front of a standard tandem fly doesn't work so well when stripping in the fly (unless you plan to troll it like they do in S. America) - and doesn't resemble a ballyhoo in the slightest. Also, once a sail gets interested, I like a slow steady retrieve so they don't start slashing at it with their beaks - but just eat it instead.

So I wired up the trailing hook and ran the wire through a foam-straw about 3 1/2" long and wired it up to the lead hook. Then I half tied up a fly. A test try in the sink looks pretty good, and I think it's going to work way, way better than the standard way of doing it.

Am headed down to the dock in a few minutes to give it a real try. The wind is now down to about 15, and am hoping to get out for a test on animals in a day or two. It turned into winter in about 10 minutes after the storm passed, and I think the sails will be right out front now.

Will let you know how it works out.

gatortransplant 10-30-2012 10:00 AM

Re: Trying something new
Jim, I'm interested in hearing the results! Hopefully I can get down there to help you test them out some time!

wjc 10-30-2012 11:12 AM

Re: Trying something new
Oh Yeah! This baby works super with the Sigler popping head on backwards. Pops great, rides parallel the the surface with very little forward movement, casts into the wind amazingly well with the popper head on backwards and is easy to pick up and lay down. I am psyched.

Now I got to wrap up to the eye of the lead hook with a bunch of hackle so this thing doesn't look like it's head is detached from its body. These Sails around here are much pickier eaters than Pacific Sails. I had a bunch of refusals last year with the popper going the "right" way.

Got lucky just a few minutes ago, and yanked it away from a cuda before he ruined it.

Now I'm off to try to find some better materials for the fly - liKe synthetic stuff.

Rip Tide 10-30-2012 12:47 PM

Re: Trying something new

wjc 10-30-2012 04:22 PM

Re: Trying something new

I don't have a regular camera but I've got a video camera. I'm still experimenting with materials. I'm hoping to get out for sails Thursday or Friday and can do a short video of the fly working in the water as well as some closeups.

Guest1 10-30-2012 04:29 PM

Re: Trying something new

Originally Posted by Rip Tide (Post 494881)

I'm seriously impressed with your smilies skills!

Ard 10-30-2012 10:17 PM

Re: Trying something new
I was sort of envious of those myself, in a quiet sort of way :D I would at least like to see the finished product because I am totally ignorant of these type setups. I won't ask for a step by step since I know you have the sticky nasty spray foam all over your hands :icon_cool I forget what took that off of my hands when I got into a batch of it years ago............. I'm thinking GoJoe and leave it on for about ten minuets before scrubbing it off.

wjc 10-31-2012 08:02 AM

Re: Trying something new
OK Rip, your effort with the smilies deserves more effort on my part. I was going to do it anyhow, so here are some pics.

I used a length of #4 wire bent in half, shoved through the hook eye towards the bend of the 7/0 Gama Octopus. Then I turned the bend 180 degrees and slipped the hook back through. Then did the same again, and snugged it up by pulling on both tag ends with pliers. #4 Malin is 40 lb test. I wanted to keep the weignt down.

Then I set the hook bend into the vise and twisted the wire by spinning the vise while separating the two wires between thumb and two fingers of the other hand. I really like that vise. Can get very a very uniform twist that way.

As I said earlier, this thing casts amazingly well. The popperhead is way more aerodynamic "backwards" than the other way. And the total weight as compared to drag is a very good ratio - the weight offsetting the drag. It would be easy to cast with a 10 wt - so long as it was relatively calm (not common during the winter here).

There is a quarter in the picture below for a size comparison. The fly is about 10 inches long.

Ard, I'm going to be tapping a couple thousands holes today and the cutting oil will get rid of that stuff on my hands. It's amazing how much we depend on our fingerprints for our grip.

mcnerney 10-31-2012 08:29 AM

Re: Trying something new
Very ingenious! Like Ard, I have no experience with those kind of flies. Just wondering out loud.......once you have the two hooks connected together with wire, wouldn't you get the same results using that 2 mm foam tiers use to make Chernobyl ants and foam hoppers? You would have to somehow use two vice jaws to hold the two hooks together with the wire taut while you wrapped the foam strips around the wire....."IF" it would work, it sure would be less messy than working with the expanding foam.


wjc 10-31-2012 09:22 AM

Re: Trying something new

Thanks. I'm not up on all the new materials. I looked at all the stuff at Sandy Moret's and the evil empire (Bass Pro):D, but didn't find anything I thought would work. I've got a good supply of the straws now, and my initial trial off the dock was really much better than I was expecting.

I may give Cam Sigler a call, ( he's really a good guy, by the way) and see if he'd be interested in making some foam tubes from the stuff he uses.

One good thing about the straws though is that I can use a stiff threading needle, and run the wire through it so it is touching the ID of the straw so the foam is facing the top of the water. This, I think is what made the lead hook track down (without having to add lead) even though the trailing hook was dead vertical too, but rotated 180 degrees from the front.

Now it could well be that the foam you are talking about may even work better because it could be tied to the top side of the wire as well. I will definitely check it out, and I thank you for the suggestion. It has to be very bouyant to hold up 7/0 hooks though.

The topwater bite is often nothing short of spectacular, which is why I am getting so excited about this setup. The actual catching can almost be anticlimax. We use live balyhoo teasers which jump and go ballistic when a Sail comes up , and the fly should resemble them as closely as possible.

If they are not really hungry, but hang around for a while, you can sometimes get a bunch of casts at them. I had one fish that refused about 4 what I thought were perfect presentations, but finally said WTF and ate on the last one. I think he had gotten fixated on the live teaser and was reluctant to eat the fly because it didn't look close enough to the real ballyhoo. That's why I'm really happy with how easy this thing is to cast. Our fish aren't like the Pacific ones you see on the videos for those guaranteed Sail on a fly charters. They are much more picky about what they eat.

OK back to my tying.

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