View Full Version : Fishing a popper fly...

06-11-2007, 02:57 PM
If I may pry into the collective knowledge of the LRO forums, I have a question. There may be a fairly straight forward answer to this, but I am relatively knew to fishing and even newer still to fly fishing.

Is there a correct way to fish a popper fly? Is there a "best" way to fish a popper fly?

I think I'm over complicating the "how to" on this one. A week ago, I was able to catch a few bluegill on a popper fly, but as it was the first time I had used one, I wasn't really sure what to do. I tossed it out, and gave the rod a little yank to ... pop? the fly. I observed two different types of "popping". One, where i yanked a bit too hard and the fly actually dove down a bit, making some air bubbles. Two, where it just kind of skittered on the surface of the water.

What is the desired result of the actual pop of the popper? I know that it is designed to make noise to grab the attention of the fish. Or is this also a misconception on my part?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.


06-11-2007, 03:11 PM
Cast the popper, let it sit until the ripples dissapear. Then make small quick strips to get the desired action. Sometimes they like it slow sometimes they like it fast, and sometimes they'll take it as soon as it hits the water! Depending on what fly you are trying to present should make your presentation different IE; A frog popper is best fished going directly away, directly towards, or towards cover (lili pad/grass). A white/minnow pattern will likely twitch on the surface so I usually stip fast followed by a few small "twitch" strokes. It's like anything else in fly fishing, just mimic the real deal and you'll do fine!

I'm sure the Main Popper Man will chime in here, Troutman where u at? He's good w/em', he even ties em' up himself!
Hope that helps!

06-11-2007, 03:41 PM
Don't know what else to say! you covered it pretty well Brett. I would not use the rod to yank the fly. Keep the rod tip low and pull the flyline between your finger and handle to control the amount of action on the popper. I use subtle pops on calm water so as not to spook the interested fish. moving water that is deep and off color may require more noise to get interest. Some places a slider (sneaky pete style) will outfish the poppers, so I carry a selection of both. Experiment with different colors and actions they are fun to fish and you don't have to constantly dry them out! Should I change my name to "Popperman? Naw , don't think so!!

Sidenote: I've been trying those crease fly poppers on the lakes to imitate dying shad. They work pretty well in the early mornings when the L-mouth are breaking the surface.

06-11-2007, 05:47 PM
There're also different rules for different species -- conventional wisdom says for largemouths you let the popper sit still for a longer time before popping it, and for a longer time between pops. For smallmouth the usual rule is to keep it moving somewhat more.


06-11-2007, 10:45 PM
Do you use the rod tip to work a popper in a river? Just wondering, b/c you said you dont on stillwater.

06-11-2007, 11:25 PM
I would consider stillwater to be a lake or pond with no current. I consider "calm" water in moving rivers to be the slick section below riffles, or a long flat pool before the tailout. I myself don't use the rod to impart action on a fly, some may do that and there's nothing wrong with that. I generally follow the fly with the rod tip low and pointed towards the fly throughout the drift and work the popper back towards me across or even upstream against the current. I do this so I can be ready to set the hook quickly.
Like Steve said, smallies like movement more so than largemouths. I will sometimes speed up the movement over areas I believe a fish will be holding in ambush to simulate fleeing prey. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't so I recast and try something different. No set rules, just experiment and have fun!

06-12-2007, 12:23 AM
No set rules, just experiment and have fun!

Ahh, well said Troutman! No rules! Just nature, rod, reel, and catching fish! Ditto to just experiment and have fun! It wouldn't be fun if you didn't have to experiment to catch fish, but it is frustrating when you aren't catching any fish! I've had more than my fair share of those days! Matter of fact, I just got completly skunked the other day! All I had to show for a sore arm was a 4'' warpaint shiner!

06-12-2007, 01:21 PM
Thanks guys. I appreciate the feedback!