This is gonna sound strange, but when bluegill (or bass) hit the popper, don't
set the hook. Many times bluegill will just smack at the popper or nip at the tail/legs (maybe to see if it will bite back). Bass often actually miss the bug because of the bow wake they push.
If you set the hook & the fish doesn't have the fly, you will yank the fly out of the target zone. Don't set, just continue to strip - if you feel weight then you can set. But if the fish has nipped or missed and you don't feel weight, just keep stripping. He will often come back and hit it again. He may even miss it again - if so repeat. I often have fish hit & miss numerous times before finally hooking up. But you gotta leave it in the target zone for that to happen.
Now, the main problem here is how to refrain from pulling the trigger when a blows up on your fly. Saying it is one thing - doing it another altogether.