fishfinder401

budget bass and bluegill poppers

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any tips besides making them on what some decent small foam poppers for things like large mouth, bluegills, perch etc that are pretty inexpensive? while I'm not new to fly fishing I am still comparative inexperienced and not sure what to look for to make sure that I'm not buying junk when it comes to flies( but also not looking to spend $4 a fly), especially with the range of prices for similar types.

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Google Gurglers designed by Jack Gartside and well explained by Lee Haskins and  go to local craft store and get some 2mm craft foam and get to work. Gurgles cast way easier than bulky cylindrical or shaped foam or balsa poppers and are way cheaper. Posted just after previous post but ditto

Edited by flyrad10
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I've fished largemouth in Maine every weekend (in season) for 18 or 19 years now, and am amazed at what they will hit. Pieces of a wine cork, an old rod grip or a patch of foam superglued or epoxied to a bait hook no problem at all. If it floats, is 1/2" long and can be glued to the top of a hook shank you're probably in business. Usually I use gurglers, but given the stuff you cast into for LMBs I run out a lot, then scramble for anything I can throw together. Trout guys would puke if they saw what I catch fish on...

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ill definitely have to try making some of them, may try making a version of that with circlehooks. actually tried cutting a few heads out of some foam i had laying around, so ill see how those turn out, and yeah, the weeds and stuff around where i fish is the exact reason i didn't want to pay much for something i can guarantee will end up in a tree of a thicket of cat tails

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The fact is, when you find poppers that are cheap in price, often the quality will be cheap. IMO, for panfish, cheap is fine. For bass, invest in better poppers or make your own. I've had folks catch as many as 100 bass on some I've made and could still fish them, so that's a good value. 

 

I have an old friend of mine, Norm Bartlett, who made some of the ugliest flies & poppers you'll find anywhere, yet was a world class fly angler and caught many fish on his flies. He gave me a simple cork bug one time while we fished the Potomac River in MD for SM's. He hot glued a reversed cork popper body to a size #2 kink shank popper hook, drilled a small hole in the back side ( the popper face since it was facing back) and inserted a small clump of natural brown/tan bucktail from the back side of the tail in the hole after a bit of hot glue was placed in the hole. That was it, no tying & no paint. Hard to get much easier or simple for making a popper. You could do the same with ready made bodies or cork bottle stoppers. Those old cork bodies, which are now very hard to find, had a slot already cut in the belly. You may have to cut a slot for the hot glue, but that's easy to do with a coping saw blade or other tools. 

 

I agree with the posts about Gurglers too, great bugs & easy to make, but sometimes a popper or slider style bug gets attention when a Gurgler doesn't. I carry them all. 

 

Here's some pics of some simple poppers & sliders that I had made many years ago. Those in the first pic were made with cork bodies that I had purchased. The two in the lower right were some I had bought that were not dressed. 

The second pic shows poppers made with cork bottle stoppers. Those & the ones in the first pic are all on size 4 or 2 hooks.

The poppers in the 3rd pic are made with foam. The top one is one of the Wapsi pencil popper bodies, and the rest are just foam cylinders and mounted on long shank hooks. I've caught a lot of fish on bugs like this over the years. They aren't pretty, but they work & didn't fall apart easily. I epoxy the bodies when mounting them on the hook. That's the main difference with cheap poppers, they may look good, but fall apart easily. 

 

That last pic is one I make now. Hard foam head. That one would cost about $6 if it was being purchased, ( 1/0 size hook) but won't fall apart like the cheap ones. Again, value. 

 

Try making a few of your own & you'll never look back! 

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Edited by tidewaterfly

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Making them is a fun project and the best way probably to save some money. If you do buy them I have had great success ordering (service and quality) from the breambugs dot com website.

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