HookUp Weedless Bass, Pike Poppers, PM SGA 7/13/23

I spent Thursday afternoon at Point Mouillee state Game Area's big pond staying out of the worst of the wind.  I threw various popper patterns at the bits of glassy calm water in sheltered nooks and crannies.  Every fly I tried got at least one bass 9 to 14 inches.  Half way out on the shore mile long main rip rap Dyke, using a 2/0 Dvie Banger, I landed a very nice bass about 19 inches.  I was working with a sprained left thumb and carelessly tried to lip lifted him out of the net to get his picture and dropped him into the water.  He hit the water just so as to flush the barbless hook out.  I spent the rest of the day trying to get a bigger bass for a good photo.  Quickly the 2/0 dive Banger got the next 2 bass, smaller but as it turned out the biggest I would land.

Kayak Bass, Diving Banger Opper
kayak Bass Diving Banger Popper

They all took the 2/0  Dive Banger solidly along with this aggressive Bluegill.

Kayak Bluegill 2/0 Banger Diving Popper

Some new glue I tried failed and I switched to a white 3/0 version which got hit and missed by one big bass but otherwise disappointing.


Kayak Bass Diving Banger Popper
HookUp Poppers & diving Poppers

The first 6 flies from the left all got hits and some bass 14 inches or smaller.  I moved to the far cattail labyrinths.  I got the first of a dozen or more medium to small bass using a 3/0 White HookUp Popper to finish out the day.  More on that popper pattern below.  

Kayak Hook Up Weedless Bass Popper
Kayak Weedless Bass Popper
Kayak Weedless Popper Pike

 I got this pike in about the 3rd Cattail Labyrinth I tried.  Earlier in another spot, I had been blown up and cut off instantly by a pike.  I waited for the fly to bob back up, it did and I retied it but with a 14 inch 40 pound Fluorocarbon bite leader.  

Kayak Weedless Bass Popper

At dusk I found this big beautiful opening in the cattails with 3 entrance channels, a few clumps of cattails scattered around.  There was a small patch of lily pads in the center.  Casting into the first entrance channel The HookUp Popper got blaster by one of the truly huge pike you sometimes find here.  She missed the hook and didn't come back.  Last cast thrown out another entrance channels I hooked one of the very big bass that live here.  5 seconds later she jumped and I got a good look at her as the hook came loose.

HookUp Poppper

  • Hook:   #2 to 3/0, standard shank length, down eye or straight eye
  • Head: 1/8th or 1/6th of foam cylinder cut as described above
  • Thread:  201 Denier
  • Tail:    Full Marabou, 1.5 to twice shank lenght
  • Body:   Pearl Cactus Hackle, UV Polar Chenille, Estaz etc
  • Body Hackle:  Optional, palmered saddle hackle
  • Colar Hackle: Wide Schlappen
  • Rubber Legs:  2 to 4 legs folded to each side
  • Flash:   2 or 3 strands Magnum Opal Flashabou folded long to each side
  • leave a thick thread base on enough forward shank to fit and glue into a hole poked along the bottom of the head

 HookUp Popper is made for fishing difficult weedy places.

  • The wide flat narrow head is shaped so it will fall and land hook point up.
  • The head falls curved side down.
  • The heads curvature raise the center of buoyancy for stability hook point up.
  • The width of the head keeps it stable hook point up to fish over weeds and other obstructions on the waters surface.
  • Tie the tail in partly around the bend help the hook point ride up.
  • Trim body materials close to the shank on the downward side of the hook
  • For good hooking, the height of the wide head should only rise to only about one half the hooks gap.

Smaller versions of this pattern in heavily fished waters had low hooking ratios from those more timid bass.  I Recently had good  hooking results in sizes #2 and 1/0 for these more aggressive fish here.  Today, this 3/0 version did well and had enough foam to keep it popping on the surface even after being roughed up by over a dozen Bass and a Pike.  I was using a 14 inch 40 pound fluorocarbon bite leader and an intermediate 1 inch per second sinking fly line and it was still staying on top.  The two on the far right are tied with wider heads that will float higher and should pop louder and disturb the surface more. 

White is always good for minnow loving Great Lakes bass and Pike, here, especially good for the hot evening bite.  White also shows off any bit of weed stuck on your fly you can keep casting without pausing to check carefully.  Yellow hooked some good pike last time out, UV Green and Black should be good for a bug oriented bite at times.

For the 3/0 size, the heads are cut from a big 15/16 inch diameter River Road foam cylinder.  Cut each cylinder into 4 or 3 disks.  You can get 8 or 6 heads from each cylinder.  Put a pencil dot on the center of the disk and slice it in halves at an angle starting 1/16 inch to one side of center and finishing about 1/16 inch on the other side of center.   I weigh all the heads I make from the narrower discs and throw out any that come out significantly smaller.

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