HOOK: WAPSI’s Lightning Strike popper hook, size 1 or 4
HEAD: WAPSI’s Perfect Popper Hard Foam Pencil Popper Body. Face cupped with Dremel bit. Painted with acrylic paint, white and Silver Metallic Pearl and topped with a Grey Duck flank feather or other barred flank duck feater then washed with thin coat of gold metallic paint. Clear coated with 30 minute epoxy.
TAIL: Tuft of rabbit fur.
SKIRT: DDH dubbing or rabbit fur loop dubbed around shank.
MISC.: Elmer’s wood filler to fill hook slot after gluing in hook. Thick formula CA glue for gluing body to hook. Acrylic paint sealer. Set of dowels of different diameters for applying the eyes.
1. Prepare Perfect Popper body by cupping the face to help with the popping. Then, run a piece of sand paper in the hook slot a few times to roughen for maximum glue adhesion.
2. Glue hook in to slot with Thick formula superglue or superglue gel or epoxy. The head should be set no further on the hook than necessary to hide/bury the hook. If you stick the hook to far in, it may not ride properly in the water.
3. After dry, fill the hook slot with the wood filler. Sand smooth once dry.
4. Apply a coat of acrylic paint sealer that helps the paint adhere to non-porus surfaces. Apply two or three thin coats of white paint followed by two coats of metallic pearl paint. Of course, you can use your favorite colors but the white base coat is a good foundation to ensure the next colors are vibrant and true.
5. Put fly in vise and select a barred flank feather long enough to go from front to back of body; straighten the feather stem with your fingernail so it lays down the center of the top of the popper body. You can trim the barbules of the feather parallel to the stem to the size you want the feather to cover the popper back or just leave natural and paint over the parts of the feather that extend and overlap on the underside belly of the popper – I’ve done both and still am not sure which method I prefer.
6. Once you get the feather prepared, apply a coat of clear nail polish or other thick and sticky fast drying clear coat. Lay the feather on top of the body with the stem on the top center of the body and pat the feather barbules down in to the sticky clear coat, the barbules may not want to stay down in which case, apply some clear coat over the feather patting the barbules down with your brush – that usually coaxes them to stay put.
7. After dry, touch up the belly with your colors of choice and feather/blend the belly color up on to the edge of the feather. Paint the face of the popper a nice fluorescent red or again, color of your choice. I like painting a brown stripe down the back and feathering the paint along the edges of the stripe to blend it in to the feather. I like putting a thinned metallic gold wash on the sides to add a little glimmer.
8. Add eyes by either using flat stick on eyes or painting them on with the dowels. I like starting with black followed by two coats of yellow or fluorescent yellow followed by red or fluorescent orange and finished off with a black pupil.
9. Finish the popper to protect the paint by coating the painted head with your favorite clear top coat, mine is 30 minute cure epoxy.
10. After 12 hrs. you can tie in your tailing materials. I used rabbit hair in the picture but also use rayon floss, congo hair, etc. For the skirt (space between the tail and head) I used a dubbing loop filled with Stu Thompson’s DDH dubbing. A dry fly or similar saddle hackle works well also or just plain chenille or Estaz. You should wait 24 hrs. before putting in water to fish.