New Jersey angler Bob Popovics is one of the pioneers of fly fishing for striped bass, bluefish, and anything else that swims in the briny deep. His 2000 book Pop Fleyes introduced many tiers to the joys of using epoxy, silicone, and other artificial materials to make innovative patterns that are durable and catch fish. The beauty of his Bob’s Banger is that it requires none of the painting, shaping, or sanding that were the most time-consuming parts of making traditional wood- or cork-body poppers. The 1/2-inch foam head pops, slides, and darts irratically along the surface, driving game fish wild.
I this great video from Tightline Productions, clear step-by-step instructions from Tim Flagler take all the guesswork out of tying a foam popper. His techniques for preparing the foam are ingenious, especially how he ensures that the hole goes directly through the center of the cylinder. As should be clear from this video, the best way to make these patterns is in a big batch. You can prepare all the popper heads firstusing different cylinder sizes, tape wrappings, and eyesthen start wrapping the rest of the materials on the hooks. The last step of each pattern will be to simply grab one of the pre-made heads and slide it over the tread base.
Hook: 4X-long saltwater hook (e.g. Mustad 34011), size 2/0-4/0.
First Thread: White, 6/0 or 140 denier.
Tails: White bucktail.
Midsection: Estaz or Cactus Chenille.
Head: Wapsi Foam Cylinder, 1/2-inch.
Head covering: Yellow Fishscale Witchcraft Tape.
Eyes: Prismatic Silver Witchcraft Tape Flat Lure Eyes, 1/2-inch.
Note: You can experiment with different sizes and colors,
as well as make warmwater versions tied on freshwater hooks.