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Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them
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For now anyway....

I cleaned out my small poppers from my bass boxes due to recurrent problems with deep hooked fish. They're being replaced with larger flies. By small, I'm referring to poppers with the typical fingernail sized and shape head combined with a tuft of tail material. These flies were generally about 2" in length counting tail material.

These poppers were great fish catchers for me and I liked 'em based on the fact that so many popper hits were from smaller bass and I believed that smaller poppers had a better hook-up ratio on smaller fish. They were also easier to cast for distance. Bigger SMBs liked 'em too.

Unfortunately, too many larger bass were getting these flies way back in the gullet and this sometimes resulted in bleeding as the downturned hook set into the vascular network around the gill juncture. I wasn't seeing such deep hookings with nymphs or streamers, only with poppers.

The longer pencil style poppers that I often use were also engulfed as well, although the body shape of these poppers seemed to keep them a bit further up in the throat.

Since SMBs regulary hit much larger surface lures and flies, I'm switching out my small poppers for bigger stuff, more in the 3+" size range. Better to miss some of the smaller fish than hook anymore big ones too deep.

Have you noted this? Do SMBs seem to take your poppers in deep? What size poppers do you typically fish for SMBs with?

Posted on: 9/21 22:04


Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them
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2006/9/11 8:26
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Quote:

Dave_W wrote:
For now anyway....

I cleaned out my small poppers from my bass boxes due to recurrent problems with deep hooked fish. They're being replaced with larger flies. By small, I'm referring to poppers with the typical fingernail sized and shape head combined with a tuft of tail material. These flies were generally about 2" in length counting tail material.

These poppers were great fish catchers for me and I liked 'em based on the fact that so many popper hits were from smaller bass and I believed that smaller poppers had a better hook-up ratio on smaller fish. They were also easier to cast for distance. Bigger SMBs liked 'em too.

Unfortunately, too many larger bass were getting these flies way back in the gullet and this sometimes resulted in bleeding as the downturned hook set into the vascular network around the gill juncture. I wasn't seeing such deep hookings with nymphs or streamers, only with poppers.

The longer pencil style poppers that I often use were also engulfed as well, although the body shape of these poppers seemed to keep them a bit further up in the throat.

Since SMBs regulary hit much larger surface lures and flies, I'm switching out my small poppers for bigger stuff, more in the 3+" size range. Better to miss some of the smaller fish than hook anymore big ones too deep.

Have you noted this? Do SMBs seem to take your poppers in deep? What size poppers do you typically fish for SMBs with?


The smallies have been really hungry for poppers most trips this year. I've also noticed quite a few deep hookings with poppers.

My go-to size for smallie poppers is size 4. Big enough, but not to small where smaller fish usually engulf the fly. The exception is, I do use a white panfish popper during a white fly hatch, but will change it out for a bigger one if the fish start taking it down too deep.

I was out fishing the Susky yesterday for smallies and caught 30+ fish, all on poppers. Most were decent sized fish but with a few smaller ones mixed in. I only had one deep hooked fish and the and the popper came right out. One thing I find helps is to have long-nosed pliers handy to unhook the popper without damage.

Also keeping slack out of your line and setting quickly usually helps with not hooking deeply. If there's slack and/or you're not right on the strike is when most problems happen.

Posted on: 9/22 7:34


Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them

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Here is one method to remove those deeply taken flies.

Full disclosure: I have not tried it. It looks counter intuitive, but this guy is one of the best around.

Posted on: 9/22 9:10


Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them

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2012/3/14 6:23
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I've been tying up most of my Smallmouth poppers on size 4 hooks and have done fairly well this season on top. These poppers end up being about 3" long or maybe a hair longer overall. I haven't had many deep hook ups but have to admit I haven't caught many big fish on poppers this year. I don't think I even fished a pencil popper this year for whatever reason.

Posted on: 9/22 21:07


Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them

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2013/12/8 21:26
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I fish gurglers almost exclusively in either size 6 or 10 and even with the small size 10's have hardly any fish take it deep.

Posted on: 9/24 14:33


Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them

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I've been using size 2's this year and have only had one somewhat deep hookset. Size 2 is good for smallies, because it keeps the little ones from wasting too much of your time, and still is small enough for a decent size fish to inhale.

Posted on: 9/25 12:02


Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them

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+1
If I have poppers or hair bugs, they are between 2 and 2/0

Posted on: 9/26 16:43
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Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them

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If I only fished sizes ranging from 2 to 2/0 I would be missing out on all of that fun that the plentiful and pugnacious redbreast sunfish offers.

Posted on: 9/27 8:30


Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them

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Well.....I'm not looking for sunfish so it keeps the little fellers off my line which is okay (most days). I've had 6" Smallmouth hit / landed on a 2/0. Eyes are bigger than their stomach. Lol

Posted on: 9/27 10:39
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Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them

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Quote:

krayfish2 wrote:
Well.....I'm not looking for sunfish so it keeps the little fellers off my line which is okay (most days). I've had 6" Smallmouth hit / landed on a 2/0. Eyes are bigger than their stomach. Lol


I love fishing for redbreasts in the summer. After all the colder weather months are when I take my smallmouth fishing seriously. Summer is just a fun screw around time in my opinion. Warm water that you can swim in while fishing and lots of fishing biting topwater makes it fun, but much better bass fishing is just starting to arrive.

Posted on: 9/27 11:05


Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them

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From collegeville, pa
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GO BIG OR GO HOME!

Posted on: 9/27 19:11


Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them

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2013/12/8 21:26
From Granville
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Quote:

govtmule wrote:
GO BIG OR GO HOME!


That's why I fish for smallies in the colder months. Winter time is big fish time!

Posted on: 9/27 21:14


Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them

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2006/9/10 9:05
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Quote:

jifigz wrote:

That's why I fish for smallies in the colder months. Winter time is big fish time!



Not having done much cold weather smallie fishing, I have a few questions.
1. Do you use smaller flies than summer
2. Do you use flashier or less flashy than summer
3. Dead drift or impart some action

My winter WW species fishing has primarily been for muskies but it's nice to at least catch something from time to time so it would be good to know a few smallie tricks to help with the catching part.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Posted on: 9/28 10:30


Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them

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2011/9/13 11:13
From Flourtown, PA
Posts: 133
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I really should try to do some fall/late fall bassin' this year, but it's hard to pull myself away from the trout and the stripers once I get started with them.

Posted on: 9/28 11:26


Re: Small Poppers - I'm Done With Them
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Joined:
2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
Posts: 2116
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Quote:

fly_flinger wrote:
Quote:

jifigz wrote:

That's why I fish for smallies in the colder months. Winter time is big fish time!



Not having done much cold weather smallie fishing, I have a few questions.
1. Do you use smaller flies than summer
2. Do you use flashier or less flashy than summer
3. Dead drift or impart some action

My winter WW species fishing has primarily been for muskies but it's nice to at least catch something from time to time so it would be good to know a few smallie tricks to help with the catching part.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


Like anything related to fishing, there are no hard and fast rules for successful fishing and catching. But as a general rule, more "low and slow" in the colder water rather than "high and fast" with warm water temps. In other words, bump 'em in the nose...and hang on!

Posted on: 9/28 11:48



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