Bruce E. Harang photo

Ear Plug Foam Popper
Originated & tied by Stefan Siikavaara


Hook:                           Mustad  Stinger Hook or any big, light and sharp hook with a large gape
Tail:                             A small bunch of fire orange foxtail, two jungle cock nails dyed red, one read soft hackle feather
                                   and about ten strands of Flashabou
Hackle:                         Black soft hackle or marabou

Body:                           Soft dense foam ear plug left original yellow or painted with water proof felt markers to color of choice
Thread:                        What you prefer, but I recommend a heavy strong thread for durability.

 Tying Instructions:

1.             (Optional) Remove barb.
                  Mount the hook in the vise.
                 Tie in a pair of large jungle cock nails or saddle hackles at the bend of the hook.
                 Tie in about ten strands of Flashabou or other glitter material.
                 Tie in a soft hackle feather or a marabou plume with fine stem and wrap as a wet style hackle.
                 Mount 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 hole.
                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 attention.
                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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Copyright 1997 - 2006 Bruce E. Harang
Information in this document is subject to change without notice.
"Beaucatcher" is a service mark of Bruce E. Harang
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Last modified: January 04, 2006