Sheet Foam Fly Poppers

Through most of the summer when I fly fish for bass I will target them with top water lures. These last few years I fished a lot of grasshopper patterns since they were made from foam and would float indefinitely. I had fished poppers on the fly rod many times, but being cheap I refused to buy the bodies for them to make more once I lost the last I had been given. I tried using the foam from flipflops to make new bodies, but this resulted in some pretty mediocre flies. They did float, but it was very difficult to craft a decent looking fly without having to paint them. In search of a better solution I stopped at a craft store to see what kind of foam they had. After looking through an incredibly small selection, I purchased sheets of craft foam.

I found that if I cut the foam into roughly 1 inch by 1 inch squares, I could layer these squares on a hook, glue them together and then trim them down with an exacto knife to make a decent body. The body wasn’t perfectly symmetrical, but it could have color patterns by stacking the foam in different orders(meaning no need to paint). To finish the fly, a simple marabou tail is tied on and some googly eyes glued to the body. This pattern has caught me countless bass and crappie, and this way I can make hundreds of bodies for same cost as buying a pack of 20 turned popper heads. And the results look pretty good too



Fly Tying: Beetles and Minnows

The beauty of fly fishing is that it can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. There is nothing more satisfying than catching a fish on a fly you tied yourself. Since I was snowed in today, I took the time to dig into my fly tying boxes and practice a few patterns.

The first pattern I tackled was a super simple minnow imitation. The recipe is simple: White marabou, a piece of ball chain for the eyes and white thread. This fly is my go to pattern when I fly fish for skipjack shad in the Ohio River. But it is also a great pattern to work for large panfish and small largemouth in midsummer.

skipjack fly gif

The other pattern I played around with was a simple beetle pattern. Nothing new here, just foam, ostrich herl, turkey feather and white thread. It may not be a pretty pattern, but I have taken my limit of bluegill on this pattern many times. This dry fly pattern works from the start of spring right through late fall during hopper season.

bluegill fly

With the amount of ice on the lakes right now there is no chance to try out these patterns, but they have worked before and I trust they will work again. If this weather keeps up I just might have the chance to catch a few fish through the ice (fingers crossed).