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kennebec12

Popper Flies

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Back in July a buddy of mine asked me to tie him some poppers, real froggy looking ones. Since I tie mostly dry flies and nymphs for trout this was a nice little challenge. He fished with them all summer and got some nice bass, but had problems getting caught in the weeds. Now the people he fishes with want some also but I don't want to spend a pile of time tying up flies that are going to be hassle to fish with and get lost in the weeds. What are some solutions you guys who tie these came up with to make them weedless? Does the heavy mono work good, or light wire, or is there a way to tie them USD that doesn't kill the ability to hook?

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I'm lazy. I use hooks with the weed guard already on them. Gamakatsu makes a good one. I use the slotted soft foam popper bodies so they're really not that hard to put together, and they can be easily colored with permanent markers. Here's a picture of a couple.

 

post-309-0-42301300-1417404065_thumb.jpg

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IMO, it depends a lot on the size of the hook & the type of hook. Most I make are rather large for bass, with hook sizes from 2 to 3/0 generally and I also use those wire guards that Philly has shown. I use both the hook with the wire already secured & add it to other hooks. However, I'll use hard mono too.

 

Smaller size hooks, smaller than a size 2 don't work as well for me with weed guards although I have added them to hooks that small. Usually a single strand of hard mono is all I'll use, glued into the popper body so it slants back towards the hook point & which simply deflects the hook away from snags. Not the best for real nasty snags or some vegetation types, but fairly good around the edges of pads & larger wood where the fly is cast near the edge & not up into the snags so much.

 

Unfortunately no weed/snag guard is perfect for all situations.

 

Here's a pretty good hook for bass flies in general & for poppers, similar to what Philly has mentioned & a bit less costly than Gamakatsu.

100_4944_zps884828cc.jpg

 

I didn't make these, but they will give you an idea for using the hard mono.

100_4796_zps440a240c.jpg

 

Although not a popper, here's another type of weed guard that can also be used on poppers. It's a single strand of wire.

100_4189A.jpg

 

 

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I've made lots of poppers, but never a weedless one. Actually I've never to my recollection gotten one snagged. I was wondering if anyone has tied a popper with the hook upside down like a clouser, and if that would help any.

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I thought about using the pre-made weedless hooks, how does the weed guard fair when you bend it out of the way to tie on materials and then try to put it back in place?

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Here is an image of a double weed guard tied in another way.

 

OrangeYellowSideview.png

 

Two ends of the mono are first tied in behind the body of the popper. The part behind the hook

eye is tied in as the final finishing step. It helps to twist the mono in tying it in behind the eye.

It seems to make the two mono loops flare out when the fish bites. It also helps when fishing the

popper to gently move the popper over any obstruction such as lily pads. The loops act something

like skis keeping the hook from snagging. If you yank the popper over something, it is more likely

to get caught.

 

Weed guards are a bit of a trade off. You might miss a few fish. You will also spend less time

dislodging your popper from the salad and submerged tree parts. I am satisfied with my experience

using these type guards in the way I fish them.

 

 

 

 

 

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I thought about using the pre-made weedless hooks, how does the weed guard fair when you bend it out of the way to tie on materials and then try to put it back in place?

 

I've never had a problem bending the wire out of the way for tying. It's not something you want to do repeatedly, as that would fatigue the wire & cause it to break. Once is fine.

 

That wire's a little tricky to tie around, but it's not impossible.

 

I've also used the type of guard that Stippled Popper has shown. I've gotten away from them, but point here is we each like different types that work best for us & in the places we fish. No right or wrong about it, as they all do as intended. As I stated previous, none will be perfect for all situations. Also, personal preference & confidence plays a role in what we choose.

 

I also agree with his assessment of gently pulling the bug over or thru the snags. That's been my experience as well. Too aggressive & I get snagged up a lot.

 

Anyone who fishes in the snags & weed will get snagged some. That's just part of the game! wink.png

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Although most of the flies I tie have wire weedguards (everything except most tarpon flies and all of my poppers) there is one weedguard for poppers that works pretty well... It's simply a small loop of mono set into the bottom of the popper to form a loop that is at right angles to the hook shank. I don't have a pic of it but the loop is set into tiny holes on each side underneath the bug and works by forcing the bug away from snags and weeds. The loop itself is just large enough to stick out farther away from the hook shank than the point of the hook does. it's usually done with 20 or 30lb mono. For most situations I deliberately do without any weedguard since I don't want anything to interfere with the bug's action on the water. Almost all of my bugs are used in brackish or salt waters around downed trees and mangrove roots.... Hope this helps, wish I had some pics of it.

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Flafly I experimented a bit with the hook up idea. Somewhere I have three tied on a double hook and added length by attaching the hook to a swivel so I could tie in the tail and hackle. I tied them up to use in a weedy lake but weather washed out the trip and I never thought to use them since then. I just dug them out of one of my boxes so here's a couple of pictures

 

post-309-0-89767900-1417485783_thumb.jpg

 

post-309-0-48082200-1417485882_thumb.jpg

 

Sorry no fancy fly testing tank. I took this right after I dropped it in but once the tail gets wet it floats straight up and down.

post-309-0-05543900-1417485929_thumb.jpg

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Wonder if you had used deer belly hair if it would float right. They really look good. But I was a bit concerned whether having the hooks up would make it difficult to actually hook the fish since it would actually be above the waterline if the but sat properly.

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Wonder if you had used deer belly hair if it would float right. They really look good. But I was a bit concerned whether having the hooks up would make it difficult to actually hook the fish since it would actually be above the waterline if the but sat properly.

 

I'd agree more floatation in the rear which didn't interfere with hooking ability might improve the situation.

 

My belief is that the reason tapered and cupped poppers such as the ones shown above tend to float

straight up and down is because there is little flotation capability at the rear of the popper head. Whether

the hook point is down or up doesn't much matter for the bouy effect to occur. I have found that if you turn

the head around and turn the popper into a slider, the attitude in which the resulting "fly" sits in the water

is dramatically changed. You would have to put a serious bend in the hook if you tried the "hook up" idea

on a tapered cupped slider in order to have much if any hook gape.

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bugsguards.jpg102_0774.JPG

IMG_000214.JPG

Like Stippled double loops with 25# mono...tried the post guard was worse to me bouncing off limbs etc...

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Philly

When I first read your post about, about your "clouser"-type popper floating heads up/tail down, it seemed to make sense. Now after thinking about it, it doesn't seem right... If the popper head it facing forward, one would think the rear end would behave the same, regardless of its orientation. I've tied many poppers, with a variety of materials for tails (bucktail, marabou, most often hackle)... none of them ever floated tail down, so I'm wondering whether the floatability of the tail even matters. I can only guess that if you used a heavy hook, it might go tail-down. I haven't tried any experiments yet, and its late tonight, but when I get a chance, I think I'll just stick a light size 6, 8, 10 and 12 into a popper head, hook up, and see if they float right (without going to the trouble of actually tying). I can see that a nice hackle tail would make the fly sit high in back, but like I say, I've never had a marabou tail sink either (that's what it looks like you were using).

Stay tuned.

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