Classic Video: How to Tie a Saltwater Popper, Part I

Most fly fishers will agree that catching fish on top is just more fun, no matter what species you’re after. And when you’re casting in the salt for stripers, bluefish, redfish, or anything else that will come to the surface, “on top” usually means a popper. This is where fly tying and old-school C. Boyd Pfeiffer-style tackle craft come together. Constructing a popper body bears little resemblance to the feathers-on-a-hook processes of tying trout or salmon flies—I mean, how often have you need a screwdriver at the vise?—but once you get the steps down, you can make popper for everything from bluegills to bluefins.

In this video from Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions, you’ll learn how to build an elegant and durable popper body that will stay on the hook without rotating. All you’ll need are hooks, some premade bodies, craft foam, and glue. . .lots of glue. When you’re tying poppers, it’s best to take a production-line approach, building several bodies at once, since each will need time for the glue and epoxy to dry. The, it’s time to dress, paint, and finish them however you like. Tim will cover those steps in next week’s video, so have your popper bodies ready!

          Saltwater Popper (Part I: Body Construction)
Wapsi “Perfect Popper” foam body, size 2/0.
          Hook: Popper hook (Wapsi or Mustad), size 2/0.
          Glue: Zap-A-Gap.
          Filler: White craft foam and 5-minute epoxy.
          Tools: Flathead screwdriver, emery board, X-Acto knife.

2 thoughts on “Classic Video: How to Tie a Saltwater Popper, Part I”

  1. Pingback: Classic Video: How to Tie a Saltwater Popper, Part II | Orvis News
  2. Phil
    This is a great video series as always but Tim employs a technique that can be hazardous to your health and it would be a disservice to the other tiers out there not to bring it up. Specifically, Tim wipes uncured epoxy off the body of the fly with his bare fingers. Exposure to wet epoxy leads to sensitization which manifests as “allergic” reactions like contact dermatitis (rash) etc. One should limit exposure by wearing nitrile gloves or something similar. Sorry for the PSA but people should be aware of it.

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