Anybody that has fly fished for bass knows the excitement and anticipation of fishing with poppers in the summer months. The weather is warm, the sun is sinking and the sunburn on the back of your neck is only an afterthought. You start noticing ripples and top-water explosions across the lake or downstream from where you are on the river. Its time. Time to tie on the popper and chase those fish rising to feed on the surface. To me, there isn't much better than fishing the surface. Both smallmouth and largemouth are ferocious predators with big appetites and when they decide to attack, it is awesome.
This post is the first of my articles talking about my journey into tying my own flies. The first poppers that I made were dubbed "OPC's" for Original Popperhead Coleman. When deciding which flies I would start with, poppers seemed logical for many reasons. First off, I work for a California winery as a Regional Manager in the mid-Atlantic. I have an abundance of corks leftover from presentations, trade shows and of course personal consumption. Second, the company I work for prides itself on sustainability and its commitment to organic vineyards. I thought it would be fitting if I reused those corks in the next chapter of my fishing journey. The final reason is pretty much what the first paragraph of this post illustrates. It is my favorite type of fishing!
The picture on the top right shows the first cork design that I really liked. The bottom left hand picture shows three corks that I designed and tested. They didn't make the first cut, however I will certainly circle back around after some trial and error on the water. I used a Dremel tool to carve and eventually sand the body to its final shape. Also shown are two of the corks before I began.
After deciding which design I liked, I went and bought epoxy. I went with the Gorilla Glue Epoxy to set the body on the hook and also to cover the paint once I was finished. This provides durability to both the paint and the body of the fly.
For paint, I just used an acrylic paint that my wife had in her office. It is inexpensive, but with a few coats, provides a great color to the body.
Below is the first "OPC" I ever tied. Go big or go home right?
Here are my first 3 finished products.
In sticking with the "sustainability" theme here, I used a different material for the eyes on one of the poppers. The eyes on the orange fly are from the foil capsule found on a wine bottle. I just used a Sharpie marker for the finishing touches.
I hope you enjoyed reading through this post. I am working on getting better on the tying aspect of the flies. Luckily for me, in the right conditions, bass don't necessarily care if the fly imitates an actual creature!