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Thread: Tying poppers

  1. #1

    Default Tying poppers

    I have tied flies,nymphs,and streamers for years now but just recently I started tying poppers for bass. When The Flymen Company came out with their double barrel popper bodies, the Copic airbrush and pens.Well I didn't do the air brush cause I used to do taxidermy so I had paint and decided to hand paint the heads but first had to primer them to take paint Gesso in a spray can is great. I also decide to try zonker strips instead of feathers for the legs.Here are some of my creations.




    I'm really behind on the other things I tie now but i do enjoy tying poppers and painting them.
    SHANNON

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tying poppers

    Hi Shannon,

    You look to be on your way to being a popper artist, those look great. I hope that if you keep making / painting them you'll continue posting some.

    Ard

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Tying poppers

    Nice start. I really enjoy tying poppers and fishing them. Since Philly isn't a hot bed of trout fishing, I lean toward warm water species, and they love poppers. I buy white preformed soft body popper bodies. Gives me a nice blank canvas. Haven't tried the double barrel ones, but plan to order a couple of packs to play with. I don't paint my poppers, most of the time I use Prismatic markers, though I do have the Copic pens and another brand of paint markers. Depends on what kind of effects or color I'm trying to create. Keep experimenting. You don't need an air brush to make really good looking poppers.

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Tying poppers

    Yep, those are some good looking poppers Shannon!

    I also love tying & fishing them, all types of body materials too, but have not as yet tried those Flymen bodies. I may have in one form or another about 1000 bodies in various sizes, or materials to make them, cork stoppers, hard & soft foam bodies, plus a bunch of foam cylinders, so it may be awhile before I do. Never enough time!

    Frankly, I don't think the fish ever care, but nothing wrong with making them look good for us to admire, and I like your idea of using the rabbit strips! I generally have only done that with divers or sliders, which I want to sink some anyway.

    Most I make have a splayed hackle tail, because I like how it looks, it's light & I also like how it "kicks" when stripped.
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

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  8. #5

    Default Re: Tying poppers

    If you are feeling experimental, try turning some of your own bodies. Buy a cheap $1 pair of flip flops and you are set to go. You do need some sort of drill. Use sandpaper or an emery board to shape the foam. lots of options and variations to try. I don't know how the foam takes paint. I don't bother to paint mine, the fish don't seen to care. Have fun!





    The more you know, the less you need.

    Tenkara Fly Fishing

    Tenkara Fly Fishing Blog


    "People tend to get the politicians and the fishing tackle they deserve" - John Gierach, Fishing Bamboo

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: Tying poppers

    Me too. I make my own popper heads and I never paint them.
    IMO that's the ultimate example of a fly made for the fisherman instead of the fish.
    If I'm really ambitious they'll get a coat of epoxy but even that is rare.
    However, my largemouth poppers always, always, always get a set of weed guards due to the fact that the ponds I fish tend to have more than their share of weed and that's where the fish hang out.

    As I've shared here before (and probably too often ) I use a sharpened piece of pipe to punch the blanks out of scavenged foam, which I then shape to size







    Last edited by Rip Tide; 03-21-2017 at 08:39 AM.
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

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  12. #7
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    Default Re: Tying poppers

    Since paint isn't a factor in attracting fish, does color matter at all? Are legs necessary to make a popper effective?

  13. #8
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    Default Re: Tying poppers

    Since paint isn't a factor in attracting fish, does color matter at all? Are legs necessary to make a popper effective?
    IMO, color by itself is not a factor of importance, but some fish do show preferences for colors at times, even if it's only a matter of light or dark. In all the years I've been tying flies & fishing, I've had the most success with lures or flies in 3 basic colors, which are black, white, and chartreuse or a combination of them. IMO, those 3 "colors", cover the light/color spectrum from one extreme to the other (light to dark) & the chartreuse is close to the middle. I've never found exact shades to be critical, even though sometimes a specific shade might be more productive and I may have preferences. Some of this with color may be that the fish see our offering better when we make them a certain color.

    Sure, I've used & had success with many other colors, but these three have produced the most consistent results for me. However, again I don't feel color alone is a big factor, and when we use a color a lot, then, having success with it may be more about our confidence levels or simply a matter of probability. Use something enough, it will eventually produce most of the time.

    The fly or lure has to have other qualities that induce attention & strikes, and such things as rubber legs produce movements that are attractive to many fish species. The entire process of making poppers should have the end result in mind of enticing the fish, so that means using materials that have proven to do that, and if that means involving specific colors, then do it. IMO, the movement is going to be more important than the color.

    As an example, Rip Tides yellow popper with the crinkled nylon tail is not something I would use for panfish or even bass. Primarily this is personal preference. That nylon hair has terrible movement, particularly when cut short. For a large popper, and one like he's showing with the beveled face, the whole thing probably darts erratically, especially combined with a fairly fast retrieve rate that might be used in saltwater and even without a lot of movement from that nylon tail, the whole thing provides a different movement & that tail material probably helps provide a good profile. Here, think in terms of a hard bait type lure, such as surf anglers use with spin or casting tackle. If you make that same type of popper in a size 8 for example, it's not what I would try for Bluegills or even bass, as it's often necessary to fish slower for them, so adding some legs, and a tail material, such as hackle, marabou or whatever that has a lot more movement & particularly when sitting at rest, would likely produce a lot better results.

    Note too that Rip's other poppers, having materials added that will produce more movement, the hackle, leg materials & such are better suited for bass or panfish.

    Much depends on what fish species may be the intended target, and how the popper will be presented. The slower the presentation, then using materials that add extra movement at such slow speed is a better choice. That's why a lot of bass or panfish poppers have legs. Fast presentation, not as necessary & stiffer, more durable materials might be what you want to use.

    This doesn't mean a bass or panfish popper without legs won't work, it simply means by incorporating materials that add extra movement, you'll improve your chances with those fish species.

    Of course none of this is "rule", but just what has worked for me. From looking at various poppers posted on this forum & others, many folks follow a similar plan when making poppers, because it does work. There is also some artistic aspect, and that always is a matter of personal choice for anyone who ties flies or makes their own poppers. The fish don't care about art!

    Rip, not picking on you, as I respect all of what you post, but that yellow popper is uggggly! I'm sure you catch plenty of fish with it & similar poppers, proving the point that fish don't care about the same things we care about, when we make these things! As long as it produces, that's the true test of whether or not what's used is necessary.
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

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  15. #9
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    Default Re: Tying poppers

    That yellow popper in upper picture is for salt water. Not panfish or black bass.
    It's primary purpose is to create a wake. When fished, it's in motion all the time so there's no need for wiggly stuff.
    What's more important with that popper is that it's aerodynamic.
    It needs to cast well to a distance and that stiff "crinkled nylon tail" is the rudder that makes that happen.
    It may be ugly but it was designed to perform in a specific manner.


    Color matters, just not fancy paint jobs.
    I like to match the color of the sky. Yellow or white in bright sun, black at night, orange or pink in low light

    Legs and other wiggly stuff only matter when your bug is paused. Largemouth and pan fish will come right up to your bug and eyeball it. The wiggly stuff makes it look alive

    Smallmouth and saltwater fish like "fast food". You need to keep your bug moving and wiggly stuff doesn't help either on the water or during the cast
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

  16. #10
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    Default Re: Tying poppers

    Thanks Rip! That's what I was trying to say, but I guess I just didn't get it done.
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

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