Had a chance to visit the local river for a couple of hours and test my theory that poppers would be as effective, if not more so, than dry flies. The last time out, I caught quite a few bream on caddis, but knew that there was a possibility to pick up more bass with the right fly. Turns out that my hunch was right.
Temps reached the 50’s overnight, and the afternoon high was around 80 degrees. Sunny with low humidity and a light breeze, it was a perfect day. Still no hope for trout, but the mosquitoes were absent and I was comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt underneath my waders.
Reaching into my bass box, I pulled out a small yellow popper with painted red eyes and rubber legs and tied it on. The body was slightly smaller than the diameter of a school pencil, and the color was close to mustard. Yellow is usually my 3rd choice of colors after green and red, but I thought that I might fool some fish into believing it was a grasshopper.
Shortly after hitting the stream I realized that a 6′ 3wt is not the ideal rod for tossing poppers, even small ones. It is marginal at best and most of the time felt like a slow wet noodle. That said, it got the job done on casts that were usually 30 ft or less. The water was slightly cooler than the last visit, and most of the time I was in pools up to my knees, with occasional spots up to my waist.
Within the first few casts I had a bass on. He offered a strong steady resistance and some impressive acrobatics before coming to hand. This scene was repeated at several stops along this section of the river. I continued to use the same popper until the end. Caught over a dozen bass and a few bream as well.
Maybe a Zazzy Pop or a BoogleBug would’ve done a better job, but for an afternoon the mustard colored fly won my one-fly contest. And while none were over 12″, they did put a nice bend in the 3wt. Enjoy!