The excitement of fly fishing with a popper, is all about the visual of a fish eating the fly and the strike. It has nothing to do with anything else period and I will argue this with anyone. I have heard every argument in the books of why someone fishes a popper. There is only ONE REASON the EAT!!!
We all have had success and failures with fishing any topwater popper on fly or conventional gear. From the fly getting pushed out of the water, the fish missing it, grabbing it and running with it and then comes off, or the best one striping too soon and pulling the fly away from the fish.
Use monofilament instead of a fluorocarbon for your leader material. Mono floats and will keep the leader up in the water column. Go up in leader material size when going from fluorocarbon to monofilament. If using normally 30 pound fluorocarbon go to 40 pound monofilament. I use 10 pound size increases.
Shorten your leader. If you are fly fishing in Louisiana for bull redfish or jack’s use a 6 foot leader. This will allow you to turn the fly over and make longer cast with a heavy popper. I prefer to go 3.5 feet of 60lb or 50lb to 2.5 feet of 40lb. Some of my clients who are not chasing world records, so no IGFA leader requirements, will go straight 50lb and only have a 4.5 foot leader.
Practice casting the largest Popper you have a 100 times each practice session. You are only as good as your last cast when you are tired. When practicing I see people only practice the cast and not the retrieve. You have to do both for the balance. You must be patient and let the fly load on your back cast. Slow and fast stop and wait and load the rod and forward motion and a hard quick stop. Let the rod go forward more, so the wind does not catch the big popper.
Learn to push your fly rod down from 12 to 6 position on a clock as you make the strip. This will keep the fly from popping out of the water and not making the correct noise in the water. It will drive the double barrel popper down in the water.
Go up a rod weight. This alone will make your topwater popper fly fishing experience a lot more enjoyable. The extra backbone is need to deliver that fly cast after cast. Some days we cast 125 times with a big popper on a 6/0 hook to get the bull redfish to explode on top.
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