Kayak Fly Fishing. casting Top Water is a great way to fish this shallow, very weedy water of the Point Mouillee State Game Area. I started at 4:00 and the fishing was very slow. As the evening bite kicked off at 6:30, I found open patches of water in some cat tail labyrinths. I had a 3/0 Flashy UV Green HookUp Popper on and the first 3 cast into the first bed room sized pocket all got hit by good sized bass, (the same one??). The 3rd hit hooked this bass.
Later the second bass took in a smaller connected pocket.
I moved the kayak quickly from one series of open pockets to the next good looking pockets. I cast and retrieved quickly to cover the water and move on quickly.
I finished at dark with six bass 15 to 18 inches, six more about 12 inches and two pike, small and medium small. This bass may be the one that made a forceful pike like run I had to yield line to before I turned her around and netted her.
I had not brought any spare 12 pound or 40 pound bite leader and I was reluctant to risk switching out that popper for a White version or a hook down flashier White Banger pattern. As the light fades, I can see the white poppers much better and the bass seem to hit them better.
I lost one really big bass that hit with a very loud suck sound. It quickly burrowed down into thick weeds that I couldn't budge. Then I could move it and I netted a huge clump of weeds with no bass in there. Another bass made a quick turn toward some cat tails and I leaned really hard on her and the hook came free. I had some bass rush the popper but turn away without hitting. One fast moving bass wake was 6 feet from the popper when I stopped the retrieve to wait for the hit. A second later I resumed the steady popping rhythm because the last bass I paused to wait for never hit. This bass hit it confidently.
Frequently when fighting bass in weeds they can push the fly against the weeds and knock the fly free or a head shake against the weeds pushes the hook out. I fish all my poppers with the barb broken off.
This hook up popper design is a great confidence booster. If you cast it past or to the side of an open water pocket there is a good chance it will land hook point up and you can crawl it over to open water and begin fishing with a clean fly. It will slide over any bits of weed it bumps into. I fish all my poppers with a steady rhythm of medium sized pops, frequently letting it rest for a bit 10 to 15 feet out, waiting for a possible follower to hit, before picking up to cast it again.
The curved "Bottom" of the foam head helps it fall hook up. The width of the head keeps it stable hook up. If you cut the head taller it will land and fish a higher percentage hook up and be more weedless. If you cut the head lower, it will hook more hits so some good compromise is best.
This version is tied with flashy minnow triggers. Insect, Frog or Rodent versions are another way to do this.
- HookUp Popper
- Hook: Straight eye #4 to 4/0 Here 3/0 VMC 7250BN Predator Hook
- Thread: Chartreuse for light colored Flies
- Tail: Full Marabou, 1.5 X Shank length
- Body: Estaz and Palmered Saddle Hackle here
- Collar: Fluff from base of Saddle Hackle
- Flashabou: Magnum Opal Flash folded back against the front of the collar
- "Legs": 2 to 4 each side Red Rubber folded back against the collar, cut short
- All the body tying must leave enough bare shank to fit the head over the bare shank. Build a thread base over the forward bare shank for the glue to get a good grip on.