Category Archives: Paul Beel, Frankenfly

Fly of the Month – Double Mini-Me Popper

Guest Blogger & FOM Tyer: Paul Beel, J. Stockard Pro Tyer Team Leader and owner of FrankenFly.

For me, poppers are one of the funnest style of flies to tie. There are all kinds of materials you can use to spice things up, plus these days there are quite a number of poppers to choose from.

I will say, without a doubt, the best quality of poppers I have fished are Rainy’s. They hold up very well and they float better than any foam popper I have used. The hole is already there for you to slip it on the hook as well.

I have used many of Rainy’s styles and they are all made from the same quality foam. The latest I have tried is their Mini-Me Poppers. These come in a variety of colors and their round shape and cupped front provide a great pop in the water when stripped.

What I love about tying poppers is experimenting with various materials on the back to obtain different movement. This is what I have done when creating the Double Mini-Me Popper. To add to the experiment, I added two poppers placed together for the head. Why two? Well, I was thinking it would give this fly a different kind of silhouette. Something the fish aren’t used to seeing that may attract them even more. Besides the silhouette, it gives the popper a bit more splash and adds to the attractiveness. In my opinion, that’s what poppers are all about…being attractive to the fish.

The other materials I added to the back were for movement and fullness. Movement again for attraction and the fullness gives the illusion of a hardy meal.

If you are wanting to tie this fly, you don’t even have to use the same materials I use in the rear of the fly. You can use the materials you have available or come up with your own design and order what you want. Experiment and have fun with it.

Below I provide all of the materials I used, plus a step-by-step on how to tie the Double Mini-Me Popper. I hope you enjoy it!

Recipe:
Hook: Size 2/0 Ahrex PR351 Light Predator Barbless
Tail: FrankenFly Werewolf Hair
Side Tail: Hedron Barred Flashabou Magnum
Back Legs: Hairline Grizzly Flutter Legs mixed with Hairline Round Rubber Legs
Front Legs: same as above
Back Body: Nature’s Spirit Coyote Premium Wing Fur
Wing: Hairline Ostrich Herl
Popper Head: Two medium Rainy’s Mini-Me Poppers
Eyes: Hareline 3D Adhesive Holographic Eyes in red.

Tying instructions:

Step 1: Place your hook in the vise.

Step 2: What I do when I tie poppers, is I first slide the popper head on the front of the shank temporarily to give myself a marked position to where I can tie the rear materials.
First, slide your first Mini-Me Popper on the shank. I use a yellow one for this.

Step 3: Then I grab a chartreuse Mini-Me Popper and slide it on right after that. Push these poppers together and then slide them up until they hit the eye of the hook. This is the position you want. It doesn’t matter if they spin around the shank right now.
Next, take your thread and start tying a thread base behind the two popper heads. Run the thread back just past the point of the hook and stop. If you are using a hook with a barb, a good rule of thumb is to stop when the thread lines up with the barb of the hook. We now have a thread base and this is the area we will use to tie the rear materials on. You can now remove the two popper heads to get ready for the next step.

Step 4: In this step I use two colors of Werewolf Hair. Take a small clump of yellow and tie in the middle, then bend the other half over the top and tie this down. Take a small clump of chartreuse and tie it in the same way right over the top of the yellow. Use your scissors to cut the yellow from the bottom at an angle and then place your scissors over the top of the chartreuse and cut down at an angle. If done correctly, this will kind of create a point in the back of the Werewolf Hair tail.

Step 5: Now take about 5 or 6 strands of Barred Magnum Flashabou and keep them lined up together. Place the faded side on to the side of the shank back by the tail and tie it down. Wrap the other end of the strands around the top of the shank to the other side, so they are running along that side of the shank and tie them down. Use your scissors and cut the ends of them off, but make sure they are slightly longer than the Werewolf Hair.

Step 6: In this step I use two types of legs. I did this because I wanted a different look, plus I wanted to use two different colors. Feel free to use the same type of legs. But here, grab two chartreuse Grizzly Flutter Legs and two yellow Round Rubber Legs. Hold them together and put your thread in the middle of them and tie them down on the shank. Wrap the legs around over the top and tie them to the other side. Cut these to be about ¾ the length of the tail.

Step 7: This part is where you start adding some fullness to the back of the fly. I used coyote fur for this. Clip out a clump from the patch of fur you have and place it over the top of the shank, covering up the wraps you had just made to tie the legs in. Make sure the fur goes all the way around the shank. You may have to use another clump to place on the bottom of the shank to cover it.

Step 8: You are going to use coyote fur again in this step. This time place the clump up to the front of your thread base. This will make sure it will butt up against your popper when you place it on later. The fur will cover the space of thread base in between your last clump of fur. Make sure it goes all the way around the shank, like the previous step.

Step 9: The black strips you see in this step are ostrich herl. Take an ostrich feather and cut about 7 strands from it. This may take a little practice to tie in, but what I do is keep them together and you will see they naturally angle one way. I hold them by the butts and let them flow over the back of the fly. I hold the butts down on to the shank and tie them down. Take a couple of wraps and then take your fingers and spread the strands out, so they fan over the top and sides of the rear of the fly. Then tie them down the rest of the way. Try not to make such a large bunch of thread here, because you need your popper to slide back against it.

Step 10: You need to get ready to slide your poppers on permanently. Before you do, take your thread and start making a thread base on the part of the shank you have not touched yet. You may have to wrap back and forth many times to build up enough for the popper to slide over to fit snugly. You could also use a very small amount of dubbing and wrap thread over it to build bulk more quickly. Once you have done this, you can now snip off the thread.

Step 11: Now you are ready to place the poppers on the shank. Before you do this, you need to use Krazy Glue or Super Glue on the shank to make sure the poppers don’t spin around the shank. Have your popper ready and place your glue on the shank. Then slide the first popper on and then the second after that. Make sure the eye of the hook is showing once you have both of the poppers on. Give this time to dry before continuing to the next step.

Step 12: We are going to grab the same amount of legs we used earlier, two chartreuse Grizzly Flutter Legs and two yellow Round Rubber Legs. You are going to put these through the back yellow popper. To help do this, I highly recommend using Zuddy’s Leg Puller. Try to stick the leg puller through the popper as evenly as possible. Once the hole of the leg puller shows on the other side, place the end of the legs into the hole and then pull the leg puller back through which will drag your legs with it. Use scissors to cut the ends of the legs so they reach a quarter of the way past the other legs.

Step 13: Finally, we take the eyes and use Loctite Gel to glue them to the popper. Place a small dot on the back of the eye and then hold them to the popper for about 30 seconds.
If you want to make the black stripes I added to the top of the poppers, just use a Sharpie to do this.

The Double Mini-Me is now finished!

Quick Review: Barred Variant Strung Schlappen

Guest Blogger: Paul Beel, J. Stockard Pro Tyer and owner of FrankenFly.

I had a chance to tie with and test out Nature’s Spirit’s Barred Variant Strung Schlappen recently and here are my thoughts.

The barred schlappen from Nature’s Spirit comes in a package with a decent bundle of feathers. The feathers are brilliantly barred and made quite an impact when I first opened the package. The feathers are long and in excellent shape. For testing purposes, I used two feathers and made a tail from them on a large articulated streamer (pictured below). These feathers work perfectly for this type of application, and you could also easily take the feather and wrap it around the shank of the hook to form a collar or palmer it across a body to make a full body of a streamer. It was easy to see these feathers would look terrific in the water and they did. The webby fibers flow great in the water.

You need to keep in mind that with the barring, comes a higher price. You can get regular schlappen feathers without the barring for less. However, I believe that various colors on a streamer will attract fish so I think the barring can make a significant difference.

To summarize, I think Nature’s Spirit has a quality product in their Barred Variant Strung Schlappen. I would definitely recommend these if you are in the market for barred schlappen feathers.

Video: How to Tie the Bluegill Belly Bean

Guest Blogger: Paul Beel, J. Stockard Pro Tyer and owner of FrankenFly.

In September of last year J.Stockard Fly Fishing posted my Bluegill Belly Bean as their Fly of the Month. This was the first time I had released the details about the fly. Please refer back to that post to find out even more details about the Bluegill Belly Bean.

In the following video, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions, shows how to tie my creation and also includes some nice tips while tying. If you haven’t been watching Tim’s videos, you should really treat yourself and start. Tim has been making professional quality tying videos for many years. Check out his YouTube channel for many different types of flies.

          Bluegill Belly Bean
          Hook: 60-degree heavy jig hook (here, a Daiichi 4640), size 6.
          Thread: Light-olive, 8/0 or 70-denier.
          Eyes: Double Pupil Lead Eyes, x-small.
          Tails #1: Root beer Krystal Flash.
          Tail #2: Olive barred clear Chicone’s Micro Crusher Legs.
          Body: Opal olive Estaz, petite.
          Legs: Chicone’s Barred Micro Crusher Legs.
          Head: Light olive Frankendub.