fishfinder401

balsa topwater flies

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So i was thinking of turning some smallish topwater flies for saltwater to use besides my gurglers (some poppers, maybe try to get some to walk the dog etc) 

Is balsa light enough to actually work for a good topwater fly or should i jsut stick with foam?

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You've got to have more patience and skill than I do to consider making poppers for a fly rod out of balsa.  There was e a guy at some of the local fishing shows that made some really nice balsa poppers.  I always bought a couple of larger ones for my dark side fishing.  I also picked up up a few of his smaller ones, 2 or 3 inches long with the intent of using them with my 6 or 8 wgt rods.  I don't think I've used them yet.  I'll have to pull them out and give them a shot.   

  I use foam for all my top waters.  I've done spooks, Tiny Torpedoes, Hula poppers.  

It's tough to walk the dog with a fly rod, since a lot of the action is from rod movement.  It can be done but you won't get the continuous action.

 Here's some inspiration for you.  They probably took as long to make as a balsa lure, but foam is more forgiving and I can use permanent markers to color them.

  

P5050529.JPG

Hula Popper.jpg

Fat Frog Popper.jpg

IMG_0350.JPG

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I used foam popper bodies and foam cylinders.   Large salt water ones for the hula popper and the one below it.  Smaller ones for the spook and the Tiny Torpedo,  I glued two poppers together.  If you look at the Tiny Torpedo you can see the line where I joined the two popper bodies together.  Trimmed the basic shape with scissors and then sanded them to smooth out the scissor marks and do the final shaping.  It's probably as much work as shaping wood but I find foam easier for me to work. I didn't, at the time, have any wood working tools.  Still don't.  Not the best picture but it's one of bass boxes I take with me when I go to Northern Ontario.  There are a few made out of sheet foam, the rest from popper bodies.  All the flies have treble hooks, debarbed.

 

Bass Box 3.JPG

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Balsa would seem not durable enough for salt water flys. 

Squishy foam or less so cork would hold up better. Harder foam like from an old surfboard is easy to shape as well. 

There was a guy in seaside NJ named Cap Colvin. He did poppers from corks that are used for bait rigs. You cut them in half to get two bodies from each cork. Just bucktail for a tail and secure the cork to the hook with epoxy. Seal and paint til you like it. You can turn the body either way to make a popper or a slider. 

 

 

84952CD9-304B-4763-92E4-6A000E359CEF.jpeg

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Old Lobster pot buoys are a great source of foam...generally can find them on beach walks, my dog brings me a few a year.

 

One suggestion is to consider using a tube for the popper part, greatly reduces line twist.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I have made some punches out of Copper plumbing pipe to take cylinders from foam. Mostly surfboards because I have few broken ones. 

Take a small length of copper pipe in what ever diameter you want and sharpen one end to a razor sharp edge. I use a belt sander for that step. 

It makes short work out of punching out cylinders from foam blocks. Just use the back of a pencil to push them out. 

 

Edited by Kml

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I build loads of lobster pot buoy foam poppers.Go to a hobby store that deals with planes,trains,models,etc.You can pick up thin walled brass tubing in many different sizes.No need to hone the ends.Have a small propane[handyman] torch and heat just the 1st couple of inches and push it through.Too much heating will warp the foam blank.A little practice and you'll be good to go.Now, the bad part.That smoke off the foam is very bad for you.So,I have a paint respirator from cheap-o depot [$25].Then a fan blowing across the bench away from me with the garage door open.if you put your thumb on the opposite end of the tube[12"] the compressed air inside as you push will pop out the blank when you get through the foam buoy[I get better leverage not using my thumb].Oh,I cut the buoy lengthwise in half and push from the inside out.If the foam doesn't pop out I have a smaller dia. tube next to me to use as a ram.Pretty easy! You can knock out dozens of blanks in a short time.If you go to a commercial fishermans supply house look for a "sponge-x" brand buoy.They 're less than $10 ea. most places.The foam consistency can make a difference.Finding bouys on the beach can be an issue.Some may have been dragged down to the bottom during storms and get crushed plus water pushed into the foam itself.Of course the legal part too.The largest ones I punch out are 5/8" and the smallest are 3/8" round.Another method is slice the buoy into disks then cut the disk into pie wedges.The foam cut on a chop saw,table saw,etc. can be dangerous and will heat up jam and /or dull the blade.I have a friend come over to slice the bouys lengthwise and use a saws- all while he holds the buoy with a piece of pvc or wood dowel fit into the hole.Teamwork and take your time.Never had a problem.Cutting the disks I use a very fine toothed saw.A finish back saw of if you want to get fancy we use a Japanese "dozuki" finish saw $50.Don't be in a hurry let the saw do the work.Winter beach combing at some secret spots always produces a fine crop of bouys from Canada,Maine,N.H. on the Cape Cod beaches.It's a lot of fun to do and they are awesome poppers.

Edited by theshadow

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