During the dog days of late summer, many trout rivers are running low and warm (although this year’s runoff has Western trout streams in perfect shape), so fly fishermen often turn to warmwater species. Few anglers would argue that the most exciting and fun way to fish for bass and panfish is with a surface pattern, which allows you to see the strike. Traditionally, bass poppers were made with spun deer hair or balsa-wood heads, which made tying the patterns somewhat complex and labor-intensive. The advent of inexpensive foam made the whole process much easier.
This foam popper pattern looks great, offers plenty of fish-attracting action in the water, and is quite easy to tie, once you learn a couple tricks for getting the foam head on the hook and attaching the legs.
One of the beauties of this kind of pattern is that, once you’ve got the basic tying technique down, you can change colors and materials to create all kinds of new topwater flies. Try tying this one with a calftail-and-flash tail, experiment with different head designs, or make any other modifications you want. The effectiveness of this topwater fly is clear from the end of the video below, where the tier goes out and catches a couple nice largemouths.
Simple Foam Bass Popper
Hook: Bass popper hook of your choice, sizes 2-4/0.
Thread: Red, Danville Flat Waxed.
Head: Foam block.
Eyes: Stick-on eyes.
Legs: Rubber legs.