Popper Magic!

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by olyfish, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. olyfish

    olyfish New Member

    Holy cow! Tried one of Leland's poppers I ordered from the Bellevue store (thank you Leland!) for the first time on a falling high tide in MA13. Got a boil first cast and I thought, "No kidding, this works!" About 15 minutes later I really got into them, just about dropping my rod from the startling takes. I caught big, healthy, fat cutts all morning, best fishing in years. Several of the fish had a golden color to them, is that from getting ready to spawn? It was so exciting to see fish boil and porpoise that hooking up was secondary. Also had great luck with Delia's squid pattern. I had most of my success in about 6-10 feet of water along seams. My first popper broke off pretty early so I am wondering about best tippet size and where to get material to tie up some on my own.

    I experimented with different stripping patterns and found my best luck with hard aggressive strips followed by small erratic strips. So now I have some questions:

    Best tippet size?
    Is polar bear hair available or a substitute?
    After getting beat up my popper didn't seem to float as well, do you use floatant on it?

    The other helpful thing I learned today was thanks to
    Bob Trigg's comment on another thread, "just go fish the beach and learn it at all tidal stages". I was worried that the high flood today wouldn't be productive, and boy was I wrong!
  2. Steve Knapp

    Steve Knapp Beach Bum

    Sounds like you experienced some of my favorite fishing! Here are a couple answeres to your questions from my experience...

    Use long 0x/10# leaders, no need to go light on a topwater presentation, the fish are not shy.
    Leland recomends streamer hair at his shop, but I use almost all synthetics on my sliders now.
    When a head gets a little water logged, I switch to another dry one. I've tried some floatants and it isn't worth the time, just tie on a new fly.

    I'm sure you'll get some other advice, but this is what has worked for me.
    pirate and miyawaki like this.
  3. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

    olyfish, that boat looks really nice. Is it a Nexus?
  4. olyfish

    olyfish New Member


    On those 0X leaders do you add tippet material and if so , what size? Are you finding the heads locally or order them?

    Thanks so much for your help. I have learned a ton from reading this blog. You guys really know your stuff!
    -Steve Cifka
    miyawaki likes this.
  5. olyfish

    olyfish New Member

    Thanks Patrick,
    Good call on Nexus Marine, but no, I built it with Scott Hauser here in Olympia. Light boat. Does 21MPH with a 4stroke 25hp (and gets 12mpg!) We modified the design (Skiff America) to more of a Pacific Dory bow to make it more seaworthy for the Northwest. It's been a great boat: shallow draft, semi V so it doesn't pound and you can easily control a drift with oars off a beach.

    -Steve Cifka
  6. Eyejuggler

    Eyejuggler Beech Nut

    Grats on having a great session! Poppers are a hoot!

    I use the Rainys popper heads...Pee Wee size( same size as the ones on Lelands).
    Orvis in Bellevue sells em or get em direct from the source.

    I use Icelandic Sheep wool but any long craft hair should work.

    miyawaki likes this.
  7. Patrick Gould

    Patrick Gould Active Member

    It's got a great looking sheerline, the cabin really sets it off. I've been in the NW wooden boat world for a while and have heard good things about Scott's Boats. I don't remember ever meeting Scott, but I bet we have a mutual acquaintance in Sam Devlin.
    (sorry about the hijacking)
  8. olyfish

    olyfish New Member

    Thanks for the tips....good time to tie some up during all this rain.
  9. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

    Steve pretty much nailed it.

    Congrats Oly!

  10. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

    Don't add tippet until you cut off or lose three feet of your leader! Reminder: the end of your tapered leader is your tippet.

  11. olyfish

    olyfish New Member

    Thanks! Now I'm hooked. Wish I could have made your Popper presentation this week. Thanks for your stewardship of fishing the salt. What absolutely beautiful fish these are.
    Steve Cifka in Olympia
    Eyejuggler likes this.
  12. Steve Knapp

    Steve Knapp Beach Bum

    oly, I generally start with 12' 0X leaders. Like Leland said above, I won't add tippet until I use up a couple of feet of the original leader.
    mtskibum16 likes this.
  13. mtskibum16

    mtskibum16 Active Member

    I've had decent luck with coating the foam heads with loon hard head when I tie them. This helps seal them and they don't get chewed up or waterlogged as quickly.
  14. olyfish

    olyfish New Member

    Thanks. Yep Scott Hauser and Sam used to build together. Here is a photo.

    Attached Files:

  15. olyfish

    olyfish New Member

    No wonder I broke off...I started out with 4X tippet. Would 8-10 lb Maxima be a good choice?
  16. mtskibum16

    mtskibum16 Active Member

    Yep maxima is great for leaders. I usually use 8 lb and haven't had a problem with breakage but don't have as much SRC experience as these other guys.
  17. Don Freeman

    Don Freeman Free Man

    I never use less than 12# tippets, and that's premium grade fluoro. For instance the "cheaper" Rio Fluorflex is 8# test in a 2x. The Fluroflex PLUS is 12# in a 2x. The top Seaguar and Orvis are similar strength.

    Fish in the salt are not at all leader shy. You never know when the cutts you're targeting will send in a ringer. I can show you a picture of a 32" maybe 15 pound blackmouth I caught here in the south end. On 2x tippet and a size 4 SC-15.

    Point is, with all the time and energy I spend for a hook up, the last place I'll scrimp is the part that attaches to the fish.

    Also, you'll be able to land your smaller fish much faster, reducing stress mortality.
    Jim Wallace likes this.
  18. olyfish

    olyfish New Member

    Great tips. This makes so much sense, better fly turn-over, reduces mortality, and gives you a shot at that once in a lifetime hook-up.
    Thanks. Man, the South Sound is a great place!
  19. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    doesn't get much better than topwater fishing in saltwater, when the smolt start moving try a deer hair floating minnow thingy!
  20. olyfish

    olyfish New Member

    Is this what you mean by a deer hair floating minnow thingy?