Fly Fishing Poppers for Late Summer Smallmouth


I have had a couple of requests on the ‘how-to’ of popper fishing for smallmouth. While fly fishing poppers is a method I don’t use all the time (poppers just don’t always attract smallies)…when the time is right, as it was on this night in early September, a popper is not only fun, but very productive as well.

As you can tell from the video, the water was down, hardly moving…and this is for sure the perfect time to throw a popper or Chernobyl at them. This year in Indiana we have had enough cicadas buzzing around to make it interesting and thus I chose a black Boogle-Popper for the night. I often see others fishing poppers and the big mistake is simply way too much movement. It is so hard to do…but so necessary-cast your bug and LEAVE IT ALONE!

If you watch a cicada that has hit the water, and I recommend that you take this opportunity if ever presented…you will see that they hit with a ‘splat’. Next they just sit there. I am assuming they are trying to come to their senses. What happens next is a quick twitch, I might even call it a vibration on the water. They may ‘vibrate’ for a couple of seconds, then they simply float. As you can see from the video, this is a technique that has been good to me for many years and very productive.

As I moved into the last pool I could see smallies chasing and busting baitfish as several points and therefore I changed flies and tied on one of my reverse tied bucktail flies (that I showed you how to tie in the last video). I had only a dab of light left…but it proved to be productive as well as I landed two nice fish before succumbing to darkness.

If you get a chance to try some late summer or early fall popper fishing…go for it. I would suggest that you use a 6 weight or a rod big enough to make long casts with a heavy popper. These pools are low and skinny and the big fish will spook easily! Have fun, move slowly and stay patient…

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