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Getting the right "plop"


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#1 Blackwater Virgil

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 09:44 AM

I noticed as a young kid that fish seem to respond or react to the sounds things make when they hit the water just as much as they seem to react to their appearance.  Clear water and many, many repetitions convinced me that the sound of the "plop" made almost as much of a difference in fish's reactions as the item's looks.  Dad used to find himself out of beer, and one of his favorite Sunday afternoon activities was to dispose of a good cold one at a leisurely pace.  Only problem was the beer stores were closed on Sunday, so he'd go to a local bootlegger he knew that ran from a big mill pond, and while he took care of his business there, I'd catch and throw grasshoppers, crickets, or anything I could find in the water, and it being clear and my being almost directly above them in the millhouse, I got a good view of them at rest and how they responded to the many various offerings I'd catch.  The flightless pea green (chartreuse or green chartreuse) grasshoppers were always the hands down winner for fastest reaction and least degree of caution shown by the fish.  It seemed they didn't have to be facing the "plop" to be able to tell what was hitting the water.  That's when I began to realize that the sound made such a difference.  I then observed that those chartreuse hoppers seemed to be built a little denser than the crickets, and most other colors of grasshoppers.  I've reverified this many times through the years.  That changes the character and degree of the sound light wt. insects make when hitting the water, and fish seem to respond to those variations in sound.  I also know that water is a MUCH better conductor of sound, and that it travels 4 times as fast through water than it does in air.  This, I reason, should be a help to fish's hearing, and what allows them to sense sounds so well through their lateral lines, or maybe other mediums that help them sense sounds/pressure waves of whatever kind.  That makes me  think that the subtleties of the sounds a lure or fly make on entry into the water is more of a factor than we often give it credit for being.

 

I've tried often through the years to recreate the density, weight, etc. of various flies and lures to test my theory, but have not been able to have consistent success doing it, probably because I'm usually more at ease when I'm tying and don't really "bear down" in my efforts to recreate some "plops" that I sort'a half-way am trying to duplicate, but what successes I HAVE had have been kind'a interesting.  Just adding some epoxy glue to foam spiders or other flies can have an impact, I think, though it's not all that great, usually.  However, we've all probably had experience with a single particular fly we've tied producing better than others that look essentially the same.  I can't help but wonder if the "plop factor" isn't at least sometimes a factor in this? 

 

Have any of you observed anything like what I have, and what have you done or been able to do with the observation?  I've found simple eyes made from plastic bead headed straight pins can make a difference, but whether it's the look or the slightly altered "plop" that makes the difference, I can't tack down, so have to resort to surmising what the difference really is.  Anybody got some comments on all this?  Observations?  Ideas to input?



#2 Piker20

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 09:55 AM

I had one summer in 2009 where I thought I'd discovered a magic dry fly. It involved weighted hook and detached foam body(float really). Made a great plop, sat low in the film and fish were just nailing it. Gave some to others who all reported back how good it was on varied water (wild and stocked trout). Then never had anything like the success again. I'm still happier with a fly that plops over one that doesn't though.
Matthew 25: 35-36 "Out of every 100 men, 10 shouldnt even be there, 80 are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior and he will bring the others back. "No man ever steps in the same river twice"   Heraclitus, 5 B.C

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#3 Adam Saarinen

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 10:02 AM

Interesting! But what kind of fish were they?

#4 ditz2

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 11:24 AM

The correct plop.......tie on a 5/8 oz Jitterbug and listen to the plop plop plop plop.....They just sing the right tune.



#5 Piker20

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 11:26 AM

Jitterbug, now there's a lure. I had a zebra pattern one, think they called it leopard. Landed quite a few pike. Lucky 13 still my numero uno.
Matthew 25: 35-36 "Out of every 100 men, 10 shouldnt even be there, 80 are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior and he will bring the others back. "No man ever steps in the same river twice"   Heraclitus, 5 B.C

Based Scottish Highlands. UK

MUSTAD The wise anglers choice.

#6 Philly

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 07:44 PM

The Jitterbug. I tie up one standard top water that does an excellent job of imitating a Jitterbug. It was a very hot fly for me last year. Got the idea from a pattern Harrison Steeves showed me about 12-15 years ago. This is the original he gave me as a sample.
Side view
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Front view
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Here's my variation of it
Side view
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Front view
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Now over the winter there was an tying article in Eastern Fly Fishing on top water dubbed the Schmidterbug. Interesting pattern. What the instructions showed me was how to make a Jitterbug lip. I cheated and removed the lips of a couple of my Jitterbugs and used them to make foam templates for the lip. After that I just need some foam popper bodies, articulated shanks, some sand paper. A not so standard top water for a fly rod.
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Front View
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"All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."

#7 mikechell

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 08:03 PM

Since I fish the coffee colored waters of my area, sound is ( I think ), more important than in clearer water.  I've gotten into a pattern of increasingly noisy landings.  If I am fishing the shore, getting under overhangs, etc ... my first few casts I try for a gentle landing and as little noise as possible.  If I get no response, then I'll go for a splashier landing.  I'll slap the fly on the water before I move on.

If I am fishing along the edges of the pads or reeds, I don't even bother with the quieter presentation.  Noisy, slapping hits are the norm.

 

I haven't noticed a difference in "the right plop" ... any loud smack on the water gets something's attention.


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#8 tidewaterfly

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 12:13 PM

Virgil, I too spent a lot of time tossing insects into the water & making observations. Mostly it was the Bluegills or Pumpkinseed Sunfish I spent time watching because they were the most prevalent fish species. I spent some time watching bass too. I agree with you that sound certainly plays an important role, and as Mike said the water clarity combined with those sounds seems to have various affects on how the fish react.

A lot of my observation also was on how these insects floated & acted after they were on the water. Hoppers & crickets often remained motionless for several seconds, then would start kicking towards shore. Sometimes they appeared as if they didn't know where they were going. Most times they didn't make it very far before being eaten.

IMO, that "plop" varies, as it should depending on the size of the bug or whatever else it may be, so the sound will not be exactly the same. Also, as Mike noted, we affect the noise our fake offering makes as much as the weight of it does when we cast, so again IMO it's not so important to try & get an exact sound and not something we can attain consistently anyway.

One feature I prefer in poppers or sliders is that it sits lower in the water. To me this is more natural, as most larger terrestrial insects or other land critters that fall into the water sit low in the water. This also seems to improve hook ups as fish can get them into their mouths more easily than if the bug is floating high on the surface. I also believe that making my bugs to sit low creates a better "plop" as you've said.

IMO, we can control some aspects of what we make, but simply have to adjust to get aspects we can't control such as the sound they make when they strike the water.

#9 artimus001

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 01:25 PM

Philly; cool flies. i have two questions....

 

1) what do the foam parts look like flat?

2) what is hidden under the foam for the body?


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#10 Blackwater Virgil

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 09:54 PM

Ditz, you really cracked me up.  All I could say was "Amen!"  Hadn't thought about that one, but you're right. 

 

You guys really amaze me.  The creativity here has me hooked!  I doubt there's a subject here that can't be expanded upon by a number of you.  And here I was concerned that I might be asking a dumb question.  Looks like I'm not alone, I guess, and that's comforting.  BIG time!  Whenever I ask locals things like this, they look at me like I had two heads!  It's really nice to have a place where my "dumb" questions are not only taken fairly seriously, at least as a theory, but expanded upon so they don't look quite as crazy as I thought they might be.  I guess I need to get to know more fly fishermen.  There aren't many in my area, and those that do use the long rod seem to keep quiet about it.  Bugs DO tend to sell well at the tackle shops, though, but a lot of guys just use old fashioned cane poles in the river and slingshot them under the willows for bream and redbreast.  They do quite well with that, and the sound of a tight line singing in the current will always get my attention.  I'm too clumsy for it, though. I can keep my mind on either the tip of the pole or on the bait, but not both.  One track mind, I guess?  And one or the other ends seems to get tangled in the overhangs every other cast.  I like my fly rod MUCH better, and standing off a little further tends to earn more strikes from the big reds.  Many don't give them the credit they're really due for skittishness, but the big ones DO like to clam up if you make much noise or get too close.  The little ones are careless, but the big ones are pretty cagey rascals, and who DOESN'T like catching the big ones?

 

Just wanted to say "Thanks" for taking some of my more fanciful theories seriously, and giving good comments about them.  If we don't theorize, we don't have much direction, and can't improvise as effectively.



#11 Philly

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 10:29 PM

artrimus001
I assume you're asking about the first fly. The two underpieces are strips of craft foam, tied in facing forward
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then folded back
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and the tag ends trimmed

The top part is a heart shaped piece of foam

Pinched at the pointy end and wrapped down

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Add legs and eyes. Coat with UV resin to stiffen the head.
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and it's ready to go.
"All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."