Surface flies/Poppers [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Surface flies/Poppers

11-21-2001, 05:52 AM
Have you had the chance to use Poppers or surface flies and what ones do you find
successful? I have found that Bob's Banger to work as well as conventional poppers
this fly makes a lot of noise in the water. Gurglers have worked also. Has anyone used
the Crease fly. If so maybe at one of the tying sessions we could tie one up.
Have a suggestion for tying session. If someone is good at a particular pattern perhaps they would
have a teaching session and show the rest of us the proper way to tie a fly.

11-21-2001, 07:27 AM
My most successful popper was actually a black foam popper head, tied backwards as a slider with purple hackle. An awesome evening fly.

#2 for me would be the standard lobster bouy foam poppers. I have to fight an internal battle to use them since I've became so accustomed to fishing the deep.

#3 I guess crease flies. A few years ago I tied up a ton of them and had moderate success with them. Make sure you something better than a standard cyranolate to glue them together. Someone told me Joe BLados claims he doesn't use them anymore.

Never really used gurglers.

How many people own a floating line for their saltwater rods?


11-21-2001, 09:28 AM
For bonefish flats I fish floaters almost exclusively. The only time I go to an intermediate is when the wind really kicks up.

I tried the floater a couple of times at the south beach flats this year and was very pleased with the results. By varying fly weight and/or the addition of a sinking tip I found I could cover most sight fishing situations. I didn't fish poppers this season but did try flatwings just sub-surface with good results.

11-21-2001, 09:41 AM
My favorite is the gurgler though I don't go to the surface very much. I have a floating line and used it perhaps five times this past season. I actually found I used the fast sink line the majority of the time even on the flats a few times with good results.

Dble Haul
11-21-2001, 09:41 AM
I'll fess up to owning a floating line for my saltwater rod. It makes picking those poppers up off the water so much easier.

My best surface flies are standard, tapered pencil poppers, either red & white or blue & white. These are dynamite for bluefish. I don't really prefer poppers for stripers. Very often they are in turbulent water and commit themselves to inhaling a popper very deep simply because they can't see the popper as clearly on the surface as they would an underwater fly. Just my opinion, but I've had too many stripers turned into bleeders as a result of this. Sliders seem a bit better because they sit lower in the water.

11-21-2001, 09:48 AM
Fishhawk -

I love fishing poppers, pure adrenalin. Stripers never cease to amaze when they start blasting on flies. Even when there is nothing showing on top, I've had spin guys hitting fish on poppers one after the other which led me to tie on a banger and join the fun even if I was doing well with subsurface flies.

I usually fish home-mades using livebody foam (the rigid variety). Some foam popper bodies are soft and can be compressed even after epoxy. Stay away from the soft foam. One of my best bangers is a squid banger, I should post the recipe and pics. It's really pretty easy:

Use a long shank banger hook. Quality counts, Tiemco recommended. Tie hackles as tentacles, trout quality hackles or ostrich herl are best. Then hackle a collar with large hen hackle so you have legs and a flare at the open end of the squid mantle.

Make sure you layer forward thread wraps or some material that will bind the foam to the shank when you slide it on!

Use a large bodkin and poke a hole longways thru the foam. Work the body onto the shank and stop before you hit the thread. Place a drop of zap-a-gap and without wasting any time fix the foam body in place. You only get one chance and a little jiggling. Cut the foam so you have a little gap between the face of the popper and the eye before you put it on of course.

I have scooped the face out prior to assembly with a dremel tool and it improves the popping but not enough for me to bother with it very often.

Anyway, now you dress up the foam. I prefer a sticky reflective strip that has little reflective gold dots on clear sticker material. When you cut this and wrap it on the foam it creates a real squiddy effect. You can highlight the foam with pantone markers under the strip and it gets a look that just signals eat me.

Then place two eyes at the back end of the foam, coat with epoxy - use a drying wheel for this one.

Even in large sizes this 'lure' weighs next to nothing and I can cast it full distance with a 9wt line no problem.

Roop - I do not fish a floater on my striper rods but fished for bones 2 of three trips with a floater (third with intermediate and floater). I would have used a floater on the third trip if Airflo had developed their clear floater by then, but they hadn't. The reason I do not fish a floater in NE striperland has more to do with extra spool costs and stuff than anything else. It constitutes such a tiny fraction of my fishing hours that I just grin and bear the intermediate line when fishing poppers. It's not ideal but it works if you keep the popper moving briskly.

I have a ton to say about sliders perhaps later...

11-27-2001, 08:03 AM
gurglers rule....especially black ones @ night. sometimes fish bangers for blues...they hold up a little better.

generally fish an intermed with all surface flies...only time I sometimes use the floater is for worm hatches...but that depends on conditions on the night in question.


11-27-2001, 12:13 PM
I've fished them once this past season and had great success with a black foam head & black bucktail, the gurgler didn't do squat. I feel it was the amount of water pushed by the popper rather than profile or color of the fly.
When I saw the fish following, they wouldn't take. When I twitched and let it sit - WHAM! Freight train strike and hold on, one of the most exciting days out I had all year...

11-27-2001, 10:46 PM
I have a floater that is absolutely the best line for popper fishing but I rarely break it out as I tend to also work deep with the sinking line 99% of the time. Crease flies I love but I have had zero success tieing them up. Too much time and work for one fly, if I need some i will buy a couple to put in the box. I even bought the kit directly from Mr. Blados at one of the fly shows a couple years back. Have to admit I haven't really practiced enough on them. I need to get one of the clear floaters though the one I have is pink and I hate that color. Bob Pink fished a Banger I think when he was on my boat a couple of weeks ago and I was really impressed with the action of that popper, I will need to get some of those as well for my spring time river assaults.

Bob Pink
11-27-2001, 11:38 PM
Funny thing, you could clean up on fish in Boston Harbor for years fishing gurglers and a gurgler modified into a slider by leaving off the front cape. A solid, go-to fly for many of the Boston Harbor guides.
Saying that, I've tried fishing them off Monomoy/Chatham for the past two years with so-so results, even when the fish were feeding actively on the surface. I even tried some long, sandeel type poppers and was less than impressed.

I've avoided using big 'bangers' in the past as they seemed like too much fly for my casting skills {no comments please here Mike, that was not one of my finer efforts ;-) } Two weeks ago I tried a big banger on my 9wt with a 10wt floating line and felt much more in control of the cast. I will be adding some of these big poppers to inventory for next year. ( By the way if you want to see some VERY nice ones, stop in to see Rich S. in Marlboro! )

Crease flies always seem awkward in the water. They will not ride hook down, they usually lay over on their side because they are top-heavy. I spoke with Joe Blados about this and he correctly predicted that they straighten 'up' during the retrieve and that up and over motion might add to their 'strike' value. Joe did feel that a potential inherent flaw in the design is one when you use any pattern that calls for a extra-long shank hook. Joe felt that you dropped more large fish with this type of hook as it gives the fish more leverage. Either way, they do catch fish but I think the bulk of their appeal came from Joe's skill in creating his finishes. He's a true artist with his use of colors and it makes those flies really come alive. I found they were actually easy to 'tie' and would be happy to run through it when we get together.

In general, I think a popper (spin or fly) is outstanding for drawing big fish out of heavy structure. Less effective out in open water.

my $ 0.02

11-28-2001, 09:38 PM
Ditto on that post Bob, and I felt like you casted the banger just fine. I have found that hauling hard on the through cast or forward cast is the real secret to good long casts with bulky poppers. They gave me much pain when I first started fishing them but I no longer have any problems with them. I don't really fish them too often though unless the situation really begs for them to come out of the box.