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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So one of my co-workers is into bass tournaments. Every other weekend he's hauling his bass boat off to one somewhere.

There's one coming up on the Willamette River for smallmouth bass with the limitation of top water only lures. Normally he doesn't flyfish in bass tournaments due to the rules but for this one, he asked if he could use fly gear and they said he can.

So I've set him up with a number of poppers that work well for me to fool smallmouth with a fly rod. His fishing partner is also going to use a fly rod.

I've never heard of a bass tournament that allows the use of fly gear so the outcome should be interesting. As we know, the use of fly gear with poppers can be very effective. I'll let you know how he does.
 

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What the heck is that?

These are the white based poppers I tied for him. They worked well on the Umpqua for the smallmouth but I have no idea if they'll work on the Willamette. ... just in case he'll have a few he can try.

View attachment 123140
That's the ticket, upper left and lower right... Foam is a faster tie than spinning deer hair. Not sure why but the smallies pound white poppers.

Nice bugs gene!
 

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Using fly gear in bass tournaments is pretty commonplace. It's why sage built their bass rods to turny specs. A lot of them don't use flies exclusively, but have it as an option.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Well, it's all new to me!

Beats me why smallies like white poppers... certainly makes them easy to build when the bodies are white in the first place :D

I've started using bucktail for the "tail" instead of feathers. Feathers shrink up when wet so you lose the "V" look and any kicking effect when retrieving is zippo. I've also tried synthetic fibers instead of feathers and while they work better than feathers, they still don't look as good in the water and don't kick as well as the poppers made with hair for the tail.
 

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Edimucate me please. I have never fly fished with a popper in the past. In fact, I have never fished with a popper at all. Looking at the lovely pictures, I though it would be fun to tie up a few.
So I found a source of popper corks, now I need to know what kind of hook to use. Any other tips would be welcome also.
Sorry to hijack the thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Which stretch of the Willy are they fishing and what club?
No clue as to which club. I do know they are fishing the north end of the river in the frog water but I'm not exactly sure where... I never fish that far north.

Edimucate me please. I have never fly fished with a popper in the past. In fact, I have never fished with a popper at all. Looking at the lovely pictures, I though it would be fun to tie up a few.
So I found a source of popper corks, now I need to know what kind of hook to use. Any other tips would be welcome also.
Sorry to hijack the thread.
Well, selecting the hook is a problem. All these years of making popper bodies they have never standardized the hook size... this is why I have a ton of hooks in different sizes. Kits that include the body and the hooks is a good short cut. But as the bodies I use are individual and both soft and hard foam (some with a hole through the body and some with slits at the belly) I normally end up finding a hook that matches the body size and this means I sometimes use a 1/0 hook with a #2 or medium size body.

What size bodies did you buy? Are they the squat guys or pencil style?

This is what I'm talking about:

Rectangle Font Wood Technology Circle


I prefer to use a hook with a wide gap and shank that extends a little beyond the butt end of the body so I can add additional materials. If the hook gap is too shallow, you will have problems with a bass staying hooked. If the shank is too long, you end up with a strange looking popper and while it will work, the extra shank length can work against you by creating a lever effect so again, the bass can get off.

The white body at the top is a hard foam, standard pencil popper with a slit at the bottom for attaching the body to the hook. It is a 1/0 size body. TMC makes a special kink shank body for poppers and in this case, we have a match because the hook is a 511S 1/0, but I feel the hook gap needs to be wider.

The bodies below are standard "Half Cone" and the most popular for popper bodies.

This is where the problem comes in. TMC doesn't really make a kink shank hook that fits the shorter bodies... and again, the hook gap is too shallow for me even if they did. Other companies do make shorter kink shank bodies but the hook gap is even more shallow so they are worthless for me.

So instead, I'm using rubber worm hooks sold for spin anglers. I like the wide gap of the hook and the barbs on the shank that help keep the body in place.

The yellow half cone body on the left is a medium size soft foam with a center hole for the hook. The hook I picked to use with that body is a size 1/0 Gamakastsu rubber worm hook.

The white half cone body on the right is also a soft foam style in a size large. So, you'd think a Gamakastsu rubber worm hook in a size 2/0 would work... nope, it is too large with far too much shank exposed between the butt of the body and the hook bend, plus the gap is too wide... at some point, the hook gap is too wide instead of too shallow.

The hook that fits this body best is a Owner rubber worm hook in a size 1/0. Notice the difference between the size of the Gamakastsu hook and the Owner yet they are both designated "1/0".

This is the quandary and the reason I have such a large selection of hooks made by different manufacturers and in different size. I first decide what body size I want to use and then find a hook that matches that size. The size designations for the body and the hook are seldom the same.
 

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Well, I have not purchased any bodies as yet. Just looking at the program. Looks like a long shank hook with a straight eye is going go be big in the mix. Since they are not all that expensive,
I think I will order out a few and then search for some hooks.
Thanks for getting me in the game.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Charlie, you may want to start with a kit that includes the body and the hook that fits. This will save you from the "great hook hunt" until you know if you're really going to get into building poppers or not.
 

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Charlie, you may want to start with a kit that includes the body and the hook that fits. This will save you from the "great hook hunt" until you know if you're really going to get into building poppers or not.
Probably a good idea. Maybe I should first of all, try the few poppers that I bought some time ago, and see if I can make them work. Now to find them in my stash. I know they are there somewhere. Then, of course, to find the fish to go with them.
With the hot weather and the bikini hatch on at the local lake
perhaps I can find a nice evening to wet them down. Thanks for your help and direction.
 
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local club tournaments can make up any rules they want. B.A.S.S. or FLW tournaments state in the rules that only casting, spinning and spin-casting reels are legal.

tournament fishing is a lot of fun. I miss it.
 

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So what's the reasoning behind using a fly rod? Seems like extra work to do all that casting vs. a spinning rod.
Is it the ability to throw much smaller poppers maybe?
My guess would be that you do not have bring the popper all the way to the boat. You could make a cast, give it a few strips, then make another cast to a different locale.

Regards

Shawn
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
He wants to try the fly gear I gave him. Yes, you can cast much more with spinning gear but at least for me, it isn't nearly as much fun.

He's looking forward to using the fly rod and poppers so it's something he decided he wants to try. Besides, I'm hoping he'll get hooked on using fly gear so I can go with him on his bass boat to bass fisheries and we can both fly fish.

I don't think there is a lot of money involved with the tournament so for him, it's a fun trip.
 

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Charlie, you may want to start with a kit that includes the body and the hook that fits. This will save you from the "great hook hunt" until you know if you're really going to get into building poppers or not.
I know a guy who's close by...
Saves me time and effort. ;):D
 
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