Yellow Baitfish Popper – 6/0

To link in with our article entitled “Popping Good Fun”, here is an instructional step-by-step to tying a Popper.  This is a great fly for fishing on the surface during the warmer months, or alternatively it can be popped up off the bottom on a short leader during the summber months.

The materials used for this pattern are as follows, and are available in our online shop.

  • Fulling Mill 6/0 Hooks
  • Holographic Magnum Flashabou – Yellow
  • Yellow Synthetic Yak Hair or Icelandic Sheep Hair
  • Yellow American Saddle Hackles of Schlappen Grizzly Hackles
  • Yellow Turkey Marabou Feathers
  • Saltwater Popper – Yellow (Large)
  • 3D Holographic Eyes – 8mm
  • Big Fly Yellow Tying Thread
  • Zap-a-Gap

Ok so let’s get started………..


Step 1 – Secure your hook in the vice


Step 2 – Offer up your popper head against the hook shank so you can get an idea of where to start tying in your thread.


Step 3 – Start tying in your thread roughly where your popper head ends.  It doesn’t have to be exact, but pretty close.


Step 4 – Next, take a generous hank of Flashabou and tie in with a couple of loose wraps of your thread with two thirds of the flashabou out the back and one third at the front.


Step 5 – Now with your finger and thumb, gently roll the flashabou around the hook shank so you have an even distribution around the shank.


Step 6 – Now secure your flashabou with a few turns of thread, advancing forwards.


Step 7 – Now with the one third of flashabou that is forward facing, fold it back on itself and secure with a few wraps of thread.  Once secure, hit it with a drop of Zap-a-Gap.


Step 8 – You can now see the proportions and length of the flashabou.


Step 9 – Now take a generous hank of Synthetic Yak Hair or Icelandic Sheep Hair.  Now take the same steps as the flashabou and tie in with two thirds of the material out the back and one third facing forward.


Step 10 – Using your thumb, push the Yak Hair down so it spreads around the hook shank ever so slightly.  Then secure with your thread and advance forwards.


Step 11 – Now using the same method as you did with the flashabou, push back the forward facing butts of the yak hair and secure in with your thread.  Once secure, hit it with some Zap-a-Gap.


 Step 12 – Trim the Yak Hair to form a nice baitfish shape.


 Step 13 – Next, tie in two hackles either side of the hook at the point where you tied in the yak hair.  For this pattern I have used large saddle hackes, but schlappen fibres work equally well.  When tying the feathers in try and make sure you include some of the webby part of the feather.  I don’t cut off the stalks preferring to bind them down tightly to the hook shank.  I find this makes the foam popper fit more snugly.


Step 14 – Tie in a large marabou feather and bind down securely.  Once tied in add a drop of Zap-aGap to keep everything in place.  Allow the Zap-a-Gap to almost dry.


Step 15 – Next wind the marabou hackle to form a nice webby head, stroking back the fibres as you go along.  Tie off and hit it with a drop of Zap-a-Gap.


Step 16 – Advance your thread towards the eye of the hook.


Step 17 – Secure the thread using either a half hitch or whip finish.  Then add a liberal amount of Zap-a-Gap all the way from the eye of the hook upto the marabou.  This is really going to make sure our foam popper head sits securely on the hook.


Step18 – Take your foam popper head and slide up up the hook shank right upto the marabou.  If you’ve got it right it should be quite tight sliding the popper up the hook.


Step 19 – Finally add the eyes of your choice.  This step is optional as you don’t have to add the eyes if you don’t like.  I prefer to add them though just to finish the fly off.


Step 20 – And here you have the finished fly.


Step 21 – Some people like to add rubber legs to their poppers to give them added attraction, therefore the next few steps show you how to add legs if desired.  Take a dubbing needle and heat it using a match or lighter.  Then, push the heated needle through the foam.


Step 22 – Next, take your bobbin threader and pop it through the whole made by the dubbing needle.


Step 23 – Take your rubber legs and pass them through the end of the bobbin threader and then pull the bobbin threader so it pulls the legs through.  Be careful not to try and pull too many legs through.


Step 24 – Here is a front view of the fly with the legs pulled through.  I have left some of the legs long whilst cutting others short.  It just mixes things up a little.


Step 25 – And finally, a view of the legs coming out of the side of the body.


We hope you’ve enjoyed this step-by-step guide to tying a Pike popper.  It’s great to experiment with different colours and patterns.  If you are of an artistic nature, you can paint the foam popper a different colour.  Use an acrylic water based paint and then coat it with a clear finish.  Most good art shops sell a range of acrylic paints.