It’s silver season in our neck of the woods, and when it comes to fly fishing for silver salmon, there’s no way we like targeting them more than on the surface!
To elicit top-water coho takes, the majority of our guides prefer foam, deer hair, or hard-bodied poppers over more traditional ‘pollywog’ or skater style patterns. The surface disturbance and noise created by poppers does a great job to aggravate otherwise resting silvers as long as, you know, it pops!
Ideally, a correctly retrieved popper should ‘pop’ or ‘glug’ on each strip of the fly line. However, that’s often easier said than done, particularly in moving water. Strip too slow and the fly makes no sound. Strip too fast and the fly exits the water completely making it nearly impossible to impart the correct action on the fly on the following strip. Like anything of course, it takes practice.
That being said, one thing we’ve found to make a difference when retrieving poppers in moving water lies in how you attach the fly to your leader. From our experience, attaching the popper to your leader with a straight-line connection such as an improved clinch, uni knot, orvis (becker) knot, and so forth does a better job to produce consistent ‘pops’ to the fly on each strip.
On the other hand, attaching the popper to your leader with a loop knot (non-slip mono loop, perfection loop, double surgeons, etc.) allows the popper to move more freely often knocking it off-course of its retrieve, thus reducing the popping action of the front of the fly.
Long story short – The next time you tie on a popper, try tying direct.. We think you’ll dig it.