Tuesday, August 7, 2018

When Poppers Fail


If you are a fly fisherman, then you have fished surface poppers and landed fish using them. There are times when the popper isn't as productive as you've like for it to be, today was one of those days. A lot of factors always affects the fish bite on a big lake like Smith. Falling water, clear blue skies, heavy rains off and on for the past week can put a dent in how the fish will react to any lure presented their way. When conditions get tough then one has to experiment and work harder for the bite, weather you are fishing warm waters or cold waters.
I started the morning at daybreak fishing silk smooth water, perfect for popper action. The rock walls wouldn't give up the quality spots or bluegills this morning using the size 4 Boogle Bug, neither would the Barr Nunn popper produce. As I worked the walls I encountered sticky humid conditions so bad that the seats in the boat were moist. Thank goodness the humid conditions improved some after sunrise. 
I retired the poppers after an hour of landing a couple of small gills; when I say small I mean the kind you could actually false cast with. Lucky I had my 5 weight spooled with the sink tip line that I hadn't used since 2015. I like to fish a short leader when casting the sink tip usually 6 ½ to 7 ft. I've found that I can control the cast better and get a little more distance using the shorter leader.

The black gnat tied to the short leader was the fly that got the most action during the 3 hour trip. Four nice gills like this gem produced 16 fillets giving Cathey and I a delicious meal mixed with a green salad and sweet tea.  

16 comments:

Howard Levett said...

Bill, you're funny. By the way, I've never fished with a poppper since I mostly fish for trout, but I do have some compliments of Owl Jones. They're beauties and I hope I can use them one of these days.

Bill Trussell said...

Howard
If you get a chance give the popper a try, they are a blast to use. Thanks for the comment

Al R said...

Hi Bill, I don't get trout fishing as mush as I'd like but I'm surrounded by warm-water lakes and streams and I love fishing poppers for bass and panfish. But like you say, sometimes you gotta' go under!

Brk Trt said...

Bill I do fish for panfish and bass. I think I have fished poppers only once.
Perhaps I should reconsider.

Michael Agneta said...

Hey, a good angler adapts to the situation. Poppers are great, but glad you called an audible and brought the fish to hand. Looks like a good time.

Bill Trussell said...

Michael
Sometimes anglers want the fish to hit a particular fly no matter what---simple give the fish what they are hitting, Tuesday it was this little black gnat. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Alan
The popper is the fly that most all fly fisherman use when fishing for bass and bluegill. The reason one can see the explosive hits. With fishing down under you miss the awesome takes, but the nymphs catches fish go for it. Thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Al-R
I wish I had some small streams near by to fish like you have, so much fun with a short fly rod landing the gills and bass. Thanks for the comment

Mark Kautz said...

I'm almost to the point where I'd take that Southern humidity over this stinking smoke. Glad you got at least four good ones.

Lester Kish said...

Bill, I still remember the sound that a big bluegill makes when it sucks in a popper. Brings back fond memories of kid hood. You got some nice ones, even if you had to go "down under".

Bill Trussell said...

Lester
Nothing like landing those monster bull gills killing those poppers for sure---thanks for the comment

Bill Trussell said...

Mark
Jason said the other day that he will not buy a house out there simply because of the fires and of course the high prices of the houses. It seems when one fire is contained another one starts when does it end?? Thanks for the comment

Walt Franklin said...

Bill, Your experience should remind us that when water conditions change, we have to change our tactics for success. When dries won't work, maybe a wet fly or a streamer will. Ingenuity and an open mind puts the panfish in the pan.

Bill Trussell said...

Walt
The spawn can really spoil all of us because the fish at that time will take any fly that comes near their spawning beds. Big difference when the fish move back onto deeper water after the spawn is completed. The streamer is a pattern that I will give a try next time the popper fails. Thanks for the comment

Josh said...

You are really making me want to leave these Smallmouth streams for my old bluegill haunts.

Bill Trussell said...

Josh
Hope you make it out to a bluegill hole and land a few before cold weather sets in----thanks for the comment