Bruce E. Harang photo
Ear Plug Foam Popper
Originated & tied by Stefan
Mustad Stinger Hook or any big, light and sharp hook
with a large gape
A small bunch of fire orange foxtail, two jungle cock nails
dyed red, one read soft hackle feather
and about ten strands of Flashabou
Black soft hackle or marabou
Soft dense foam ear plug left original yellow or painted with
water proof felt markers to color of choice
What you prefer, but I recommend a heavy strong thread
hook in the vise.
in a pair of large jungle cock nails or saddle hackles at the bend of the hook.
in about ten strands of Flashabou or other glitter material.
in a soft hackle feather or a marabou plume with fine stem and wrap as a wet
the ear plug (see notes below) and glue in place if desired.
Paint body to desired color
and paint eyes using permanent felt markers.
The foam ear plug is first cut to length if necessary. Then using a sharp sewing
needle attach some monofilament thread
to the eye of the needle and the other end of the thread to the eye of the
prepared hook. Force needle down the length of the ear plug
and then push the ear plug down the needle and monofilament thread onto the hook
shank and up against the tail. Glue the ear plug
into position if desired, but it is not necessary. The ear plug will be badly
deformed during this operation. However, if you roll the ear
plug between you thumb and forefinger and allow it to sit a bit it will reform
and expand back to its original shape. You can either tie the
tail onto the hook first and then mount the body or you can mount the body,
compress it on the front portion of the hook shank and then
tie the tail on. In either case you will want to force the back of the ear plug
body over the tail tie down area to make a neat job.
You can paint ear plug foam using waterproof felt markers or by dapping paint on
using a cotton swab. You can also paint the
hook by dabbing paint on with a cotton swab. You can then either paint eyes or
glue on pre-made eyes.
Be sure to test any paint, markers, and glues on a spare ear plug as some of
these materials will melt the foam of the ear plug.
If you are going to glue the foam ear plug to the hook, it is easiest if you
mount the hook with the hook shank in a vertical
position, force the ear plug onto the hook then widen the hole in the ear plug foam using two needles and then letting
glue run down into the vertically positioned ear plug
You can tie these popper tails of virtually any material. Just make them easy to
cast by not overdressing them. I tie them from
salmon fly tying leftovers like discolored or short fox tail fur, and discard
soft hackles and jungle cock feathers. Using grizzly hackles for
the tail is also very good looking and Marabou is a great material for this fly.
Generally I have found pike to favor black, green, white, red
yellow colors. Additionally, use lots of flash and sparkle to get their
The advantages of this fly are the simplicity of tying it, the amazing buoyancy
and the good color, low weight and low cost of the
ear plug foam. The disadvantages, like most flies for pike, is durability.
However, the fly withstands more than one may think. It squishes and then just
expands back to shape in most cases. If it shreds, just install another ear plug
on the hook shank.
Thanks to Robert Regan for the inspiration.
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