Pike Poppers (by Stefaan)

When we go to Ireland, we always hope that there will be at least one sunny evening without (or hardly any) wind. Then it’s popper time! I’ve said it before, fishing with poppers is not the best way to catch pike, but it’s certainly the most spectacular way. Seeing a pike attack your popper, just in front of you, to me, that’s one of the biggest sensations you can experience when you’re fishing (in freshwater). So, if you got heart problems, don’t do it!

Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea, to do a post on poppers. Now, there are loads of popper heads on the market, I use them too, but here I wanted to cut them into different shapes, so I made them myself (that way they’re a bit more personal as well).

And I wanted to tie them on a tube for a change, so here we go…

The first are regular poppers, with a head like this they will plop and spit, and do whatever a popper is supposed to do. They’re about 13cm long and here I tied the feathers in the tail spreading outwards, so they will be more like frog legs, opening and closing while retrieving.

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Here I’ve cut the heads in a downward angle, so they will dive while retrieving and pop to the surface again when you stop. These are great to fish on a sinking line as well, then they will wiggle sideways while retrieving. The feathers are tied in inwards, because I wanted a ‘swimming’ tail. These are about 17cm long.

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Here I’ve cut the heads in an upward angle to have what they call a skitter bug. They will skitter across the surface or even jump out of the water when you pull hard enough, like a fleeing fish. You can expect a very aggressive attack on these. They are about 15cm long.

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And of course, you can put the head on backwards, like here, to have a slider, although these are not really intended for popper fishing. They do work great on a sinking line though. This one is about 21cm long.

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A couple of tips maybe if you consider making poppers like this yourself.

All these heads are cut out of Styrofoam with a layer of epoxy. They are glued onto the tube, but since the Styrofoam is so soft it’s good to use more epoxy at the front and the end (onto the tube) otherwise they will come off very fast. That’s why the tubes are sticking out so far (I could still shorten them a bit, but I don’t see any reason why).

An other problem with Styrofoam is colouring them. Alcohol based felt pens will ‘eat’ (read dissolve) the foam, and so will lacquer and aerosol. Put on a thin layer of superglue with a brush (that doesn’t seem to give any reaction with the foam) and then you can colour them any way you want to.

And if you don’t want any problems, just buy a pack of heads (they’re not expensive)…

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