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Current Tags for This Pattern
/ Bucktail / Flash / Flashabou / Foam / Krystal Flash / largemouth / popper / Saddle / saltwater / shad / smallmouth / step by step / striper / white bass /

Dremel Popper

 
tied by CoachBob
Fly Type: Poppers/Sliders,
Material List:
Hook: Mustad 340111 (sz 1-6); Eagle Claw 066NF-1 (sz 1) or 202F (sz 4, 6) ; Renegade RLAB (sz 2,4,6)
Body: Thick closed cell foam (from play mats) plus sheet foam (fun foam)
Tail: Any of these: bucktail, maribou, krystal flash, flashabou, cape or saddle feathers
Eyes: 3D Stick-on or holographic
Legs: (For bass/panfish poppers) Spinner bait skirting or rubber leg material
Tying Instructions: Dremel Popper by Bob Boese
Hook: Mustad 340111 (sz 1-6); Eagle Claw 066NF-1 (sz 1) or 202F (sz 4, 6) ; Renegade RLAB (sz 2,4,6)
Body: Thick closed cell foam (from play mats) plus sheet foam (fun foam)
Tail: Any of these: bucktail, maribou, krystal flash, flashabou, cape or saddle feathers
Eyes: 3D Stick-on or holographic
Legs: (For bass/panfish poppers) Spinner bait skirting or rubber leg material

Finding Foam: Thick closed cell foam is now available as floor mat material and is easily available over the Internet. Mats mostly come in 2' x 2' widths, are 5/8" thick and cost as little as $4.80/mat from www.softtiles.com, The mats are smooth on one side and have a rough texture on the other. They may be cut with a mat knife, razor blade or heavy duty scissors. Because you will be dealing with two or more pieces glued together, cutting one inch (1") squares (or smaller) is the preferred approach. Closed cell foam sheets (called fun foam) are 2-3mm thick, are available from hobby stores in many colors and may be easily cut with scissors. 12"x14" sheets cost under $1 each.

DREMEL: A Dremel tool is the best known brand of hand held rotary tool for which many varieties of bits are manufactured. Two corded models are suitable: (1) a variable speed multi-pro tool [item #300 – $55] or (2) a single speed multi-pro tool [item #275-02 – $37] together with a variable speed foot control [item #221– $40]. A cordless 10.8V Lithium Ion Battery model will also achieve the variety of speeds needed for shaping the closed cell foam.

PREPARING THE FLY BODY: The Dremel method can be used to shape large saltwater flies, medium size bass flies or small panfish poppers (the diameter of a pencil). The smaller the intended final product, the smaller the squares of foam to be glued together. Generally larger flies require a higher Dremel speed because of the amount of foam being removed. To adhere pieces of closed cell foam to each other you use Loctite super glue which instantly adheres foam to foam. The brush on applicator works best.
HOW TO: To make the basic fly (two color) glue the smooth sides of two ˝"-1" squares of foam together. You need only coat one side of the foam with glue and squeeze them together. Apply pressure for about 15 seconds. To make multi colored flies, sandwich layers of contrasting colored fun foam between the larger pieces of closed cell foam. Flies may also be made using nothing but layers of fun foam. When the foam is glued together use scissors (easiest method) or a razor blade to trim down the corners of the foam stack, thus starting to round off the foam to a cylinder. Impale one end of the foam cylinder with an ice pick or small knitting needle. I buy small knitting needles and use a Dremel bit to hone off the hook end and sharpen the point. The foam should not spin around the needle.
Put on an apron, pair of safety glasses and bandana over your mouth/nose before proceeding.
Install a rotary bit on the dremell: use a flat grinding stone (#8215). Get a good grip on the ice pick in one hand and the rotary tool in the other, then turn the Dremel on at a speed you can control. (As you get more practice, you can work at higher speeds.) Bring the foam and dremel bit together in your lap and slowly rotate the ice pick to make the foam move against the blade in a rotary motion. (Don’t move the tool except to get a flat face against the foam.) [NOTE: As you apply pressure, foam will come off in a fine dust, coating everything in a one foot radius.] By slanting the angle of the Dremel bit you can shape the foam into a smooth cylinder or cone, or anything in between. Once the foam is shaped, hold each end of the foam against the bit to take the rough texture off of the ends of the foam. To make the face of the fly concave (for popping) you can use a #911 or #921 round bit or #8193 grinding stone. This takes great care and control and flies will work without this step.
MAKING A HOOK HOLE: When you have completed your desired shape, you need a hole for the hook. For larger flies drill a hole the length of the fly with a drill bit or (my preference) a high speed tile cutting bit (#562). This again takes great care and control and is best done holding the fly face down on a solid surface (preferably on more thick foam to protect against “drill through” onto your desk) and (using the dremel like a drill press) moving straight down. Alternatively, you can heat a bodkin and push the hot needle through the foam. Extreme care is required for this approach. For smaller flies merely pierce the foam with a large upholstery needle or small knitting needle. The hole should allow the eye of the hook to snugly slide through.
PREPARING THE TAIL: Tail components are at the whim and option of the tyer. Use a sturdy thread (flat waxed nylon preferred), lay a layer of thread on the hook shank down to the beginning of the bend. Measure your popper head against the hook shaft and mark with Sharpie.
For a saltwater fly (targeting jack crevalle, speckled trout, permit, redfish, snook, spanish mackerel, etc.), cut maribou (as long as the hook shank) or bucktail (twice the length of the hook shank) and tie in at your mark. Take four strands of krystal flash or flashabou and tie in. Take additional bucktail or maribou and tie in. Repeat, moving down the hook shank slightly toward the hook eye with each new tie-in until you have achieved the thickness of tail you want. With each layer you will build up the diameter of the hook shank tapered from the eye. Select two well shaped cape or saddle feathers and tie in with curvature of the feather flaring out from the fly for more action or into the fly for a sleeker profile. Tie in two large feathers from a neck of contrasting color and wrap to form a dense collar up to the sharpie mark. Cover the remainder of the shank with thread to make a smooth and uniform diameter. Tie down and cut thread.
For freshwater flies tie in similar, but shorter and less dense, components.
COMBINING PARTS: Push the foam body over the hook shank to make sure it will fit snugly. If not, make the hole slightly larger or, if it slides very easily, you will need to build up the materials on the hook shank.
Take the foam body off and coat the hook shank with super glue. In one quick motion, push the body of the fly over the hook shank until it meets up with the tail. Make sure the eye of the hook is showing. Place holographic eyes or 3D on the foam and coat the entire body of the fly with Sally Hanson’s Hard-As-Nails, fingernail polish, or epoxy. (Please note that any of these finishes will remove the painted black center from foil stick on eyes. 3D eyes are strongly recommended.)
LEGS: For bass or panfish poppers, rubber legs may be added. The easiest way to do this is to thread two or more round rubber legs or pieces of silicone skirt through an upholstery needle and pierce the foam, pulling the legs through. Assess the correct leg length, bend all legs around the foam body together and hold together to trim with scissors. Gluing the legs is usually not required but applying a finish to the fly should be done carefully to avoid adhering the legs together. For frog patterns, the legs can be knotted to make joints.
WEED GUARD: A weed guard can be added by tying in a piece of 12# monofilament along the hook shank before adding anything else. Heavy mono is not required because the fly is very light. About 6" should hang over the hook bend. When the foam is inserted on the hook shank about 1/8" of shank should be left between the foam and the eye. After the foam is installed, attach thread to the 1/8" space, bring the monofilament through the hook eye to create a loop below the hook point, fold the monofilament going through the hook eye toward the foam and tie down so that you have locking down the mono above and below the shank.




Presentation Tips: FISHING THE FLY: For saltwater species, cast in front of the fish then strip the fly very fast to create a noisy retrieve. For bass, cast to cover then pop the fly back with small hard strips making a pop-pop-pop sound. For panfish, pop the fly and let it sit. Pot and sit. Panfish generally hit on the sit.


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