Warmwater fishing pre or post spawn (march-april and july-august here in Ohio) you absolutely need a popper in your box. I love to tie deer hair poppers. I find they provide a strong gurgle and provide a little more action than static wooden floats. There are frog poppers, wounded minnows, colorful chartreuse and light green attractors, grasshoppers, and a whole slew of goofy variations that you'll love to tie. In this installment I'm going to tie the simple generic popper to give you an base concept to practice. It's simple, effective and requires very few materials.
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Step 2: Maribou tail
Step 3: Spin on deer hair
To spin the hair cut off a 1- to 1 1/2 inch of hair around the diameter of a pencil. Hold the bunch on the top of the hook shank and loosely wrap once around the bundle and shank. Once wrapped give it a good tug up so that the thread tightens and the ends of the deer bundle start to spring up on each end. Once tightened to near breaking capacity perform another wrap and pull once again. With each successive tightening wrap you should be seeing the hair start to stand up on end and even may twist around the shank. If the hair twists a few times it's o.k. you'll get the feel for tensioning and ratcheting down hair with more practice, just use your bodkin to pick at the hair so that it's all standing.
Once hair stops springing any further up it's time to carefully advance thread to just in front of where the hair connects to the shank of the hook. Your going to wrap 3-4 times heres and pull back the hair so that the front of the bundle is flush and standing up as seen in the picture on the right.
Important: You will be putting on bundle after bundle of hair all the way up the shank of the hook and in order to accrue the proper density of hair your going to have to slide each tied bundle together. Do this by simply taking the thumb and index nails against the shank and applying pressure backward toward the hook bend. You should be able to slide the bundle a pretty good deal.
Continue on until you reach within 1/8 inch of the eye or so.
Whip finish a couple times to secure and then cut thread.
Step 4: Give it a hair cut
The popper above isn't fancy, not pretty, but has performed. Try these out when the big bass get hungry post-spawn. The bedding males have been guarding and prowling and will readily launch an air attack on any sputtering hopeless (as above) skittering along the surface.
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