Saturday, January 10, 2015

Fishing Tiny Poppers for Finicky Bluegill

I know all of us who fly fish have our favorite flies and poppers we use on a regular basis. These favorites are the ones we always pluck out of our fly box first because of their success rate. I did a post sometime back on fishing with your top 6 flies and poppers for warm water and cold water species and the tiny popper I am discussing in this post was not one of them.

There are fishing trips where all of your favorites do all the work and we never have to search through our fly boxes for that game changer pattern. For me the tiny popper has been that pattern. I have found that bluegill especially the big ones can be very finicky at times, even when they are spawning. In fact I have moved my boat within casting distance of numerous spawning beds in the spring and dropped a fly in the spawning area and get no reaction at all mainly as a result of a cold front.

Hand tied feathers and hackle
Excellent on bright days clear water
Cold fronts can be a killer during this time of the year and no matter how aggressive the fish were the day before they can practically turned off the next day. This is when you go small with tiny flies and poppers. It also helps if you have a lot of patience on those days, because the longer you let the fly sit without movement the better chance of coercing a super size bull bluegill to nail your tiny offering. During this particular time this is when I go to the tiny popper, which 90% of the time produces. As for the other 10% of the time one might want to tie more flies, clean fly line, and get ready for the next outing.
 Size 14 work best especially on those slow days, as stated patience is the key with these little gems.
I didn’t notice when I started working on this post that the world record bluegill was landed in Alabama:  

 Bream aficionados recognize that the world record bluegill was an Alabama behemoth that weighed an astounding 4 pounds, 12 ounces. In Florida, the record remains a respectable 2.95 pounds, and if interested, you can qualify for an FWC “Big Catch” certificate by weighing in a bluegill that measure at least 11 inches in length or weighs at least 1.25 pounds.

It’s interesting to note that a good spawning shellcracker averages a pound or more. However, if you’re looking for a record, you’ll have to beat out the South Carolina giant that weighed 5 pounds, 3 ounces. The Florida record currently stands at 4.86 pounds, while any shellcracker weighing at least 2.25 pounds or measuring 12 inches warrants that “Big Fish” certificate.

Can you guys imagine landing a bluegill in the 4 lb. range? Who knows some of us this season may hit that mark. Good Luck!!!


RM Lytle said...

I have never seen poppers that small before. Pretty cool. I'll have to try some this summer.

Mel said...

Bill, the obvious question is, where are you accessing those small Poppers? I have some, but, they are definitely a little bigger and probably bought at Wal-Mart. Thanks for sharing your expertise here with the tips you provided. I knew the Idaho angler who has the state record there. It was I believe a 4lb-3oz specimen I think. Those are some huge Panfish!

Howard Levett said...

Hey Bill, those are sure nice looking. Truth be told, I've never used poppers for either bass or anything else. I guess I'll have to ask Mel to give me some lessons.

Atlas said...

Great looking flies, makes me yearn for spring when I too can throw some poppers at the big 'gills.

Bill Trussell said...

I may have to give the trout a look at the white and black ones. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Get with Mel, he can break you in on fishing the surface popper, I think you will get a charge. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Can't wait for the spring time to toss a few of these--thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

I am sorry I forgot to give info on purchasing these little bugs--Bass Pro of all places carries these poppers. They told me they were size 14, I checked the size against some of my dry flies and yes they are close. I think you will be surprised to find they will produce. Thanks for the comment

Brk Trt said...

Wonderful little poppers.
Bill I've made a commitment to myself to fish more for both sunfish and crappie this season.

riverwalker34 said...

I just love casting a popper on a small Ozark stream during a sunny outing. Then waiting a few seconds right before a huge panfish explodes on it like a bass.

Bill Trussell said...

Watching that popper or fly disappear on a clam surface will certainly get you heart racing. The top water action is why I love fly fishing so much. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

I think you will enjoy the warm water action, especially in the spring, because that is the prime surface time for the sunfish and crappie. Thanks for the comment

Justin Carfagnini said...

Bill, I absolutely love popper fishing. I couldn't even imagine a 4lb bluegill. I think my biggest bluegill ever came in at 1lb. I'll have to research that. It was 2 years ago. I thought I had a bass on.

Bill Trussell said...

Who knows one of us may land a monster gill this year, that would be worth a mount. Thanks for the comment