Category Archives: Poppers
Having designed commercial patterns for Rainy’s Flies for two years now, I am constantly pushing the boundaries of movement and effectiveness with my patterns. Being a Bass guy my whole life, my eyes weren’t opened to the whole long rod thing until a family trip to Montana in high school changed my perception of what fly fishing is. Big streamers for aggressive brown trout was the ticket. I quickly learned that these trout can be fished very similar to smallies on a river system by quickly ripping streamers through pockets, over drops, and around cover. I was a convert almost instantly.
When I got back home I picked up a simple tying kit and began to experiment. I will admit I tied a lot of awful buggers and some terrible Adams before I had something that resembled a decently tied fly. I would go to Chris Helm’s shop in Toledo, Ohio and watch a true master spin and stack deer hair and go to Cabela’s on Saturday mornings to watch guys like Bear Andrews and Dennis Potter tie and after a while, all the time and energy paid off. I was able to design patterns and go fish with moderate success. I really started getting into Pike with their nasty attitude and speed. The tug is the drug when you fight these toothy, slime bullets. The more time on the water I spent, the more I started to notice things and by the time I was in college I pretty much had my home waters figured out.
I have learned a lot along the way and now that I am getting waist deep into the waters of the business side of things, I am learning the fly industry can be fickle and tough. You always have to self-advocate and no matter how many patterns you have on the commercial side, you always have to keep being creative and inventive. I do a fair amount of realistic tying but those flies never see the water. The real bread and butter is being able to tie a fly that works for the intended species and is easily repeatable. For the most part, my flies are developed for the way I fish. The people that I take fishing and my friends always get annoyed with me because I fly fish for bass like a tournament bass fisherman. I rip streamers or drift a nymph through a hole and if no takes I move on. I really like to cover water when I fish, especially if I’m wading. When I tie a streamer, I want the movement to be instantaneous when entering the water, get the attention of the fish, and then trigger a strike. Things like the movement of rabbit and hackle together or my addictive and generous use of ice dub in a dubbing loop to create collars and bodies lends to this method. I generally fish clear water so the patterns must not spook fish but have a good draw from a distance.
I was a teacher by trade so I love teaching the art of fly tying as well. The trick to becoming a good tier is always simply doing it. Instead of just trying to tie a wooly bugger, tie seven or eight in a row. You have to work out the kinks in the process whether it be rushing the eye or overly bulky bodies. You will tie a bunch of ugly fuglies before you tie something decent so be prepared for that. Have fun while you are at the vise. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a $500 vise and expensive tools to tie. The same goes for gear, it is really nice to have a $300 fly rod, but it simply isn’t a necessity. Get something in your price range and go fish. It’s as simple as that. A little extra information though, for big or tough fish you don’t want to skimp and be outgunned.
For tying tips, questions, and inquiries folks can visit my facebook business page River Raisin Fly Company or email me at RiverRaisinFlyCompany13@gmail.com for water levels, suggested patterns, and additional information about myself, my patterns, and the adventure we all call fly fishing.
Gunnar gives a step by step instruction on how to tie a Pike Popper using FlymenFishingCo’s new Faux Bucktail.
2/0 Ahrex Light Predator Sting
Tail: Faux Bucktail
Wing: Magnum Flashabou (Barred Yellow, Dyed Pearl)
Bottom Wing: Polar Flash
Collar: Extra Select Craft Fur
Head: Flymen’s Double Barrel Popper (L)
Eyes: Flymen’s Dragon Eyes (6mm)
Legs: Hedron’s Perfect Rubber
I think the way he shows how to cup the foam in the front on this popper is a nice idea.
The Foam Panfish Popper is an easy to tie and very effective popper. It can be tied in a variety of different colors and sizes to match any situation you might find yourself in.
I learned from my dad and grandfather when I was very young. I grew up with a cabin we spent most weekends at on the Stillaguamish river in Washington state. I learned to fly fish at the age of 8, and I never truly learned to throw a spinning rod until 2016….. Spinning rods scared me. Too easy to knot up.
Did you have a mentor of any kind? Someone that you learned a lot from or was inspired by when fly fishing or fly tying?
I wouldn’t say I necessarily had a mentor, however one person that I highly respect that continues to challenge me in my fly tying even from a few states away is my old work colleague Andrew Grillos. He is also the single best fly naming person I’ve ever met.
How long have you been tying flies?
I taught myself at ten.
What species do you fish for most often these days?
Sea Run Cutthroat and Salmon in Puget Sound
Would you describe a couple of your rod setups? For example, the size and type of fly rod, line, and leader you use?
I use a Sage 690 X rod with a RIO Coastal Quickshooter intermediate fly line or a RIO Outbound with a 5-10’ versileader and a 4 foot section of 10lb fluorocarbon tippet.
Have you designed your own fly patterns?
Yes. All of the flies on my Instagram I’ve created. I have specific Umpqua flies that are copyrighted.
What is your process like when designing a new fly?
There aren’t many things I will admit I am good at. And being self-taught with no formal casting instruction for 25 years I am by no means a perfect fly caster…. But the one thing that has always come very easy to me is tying, and I’ve worked hard at it. There are few baitfish in the world that I can’t look at the fish and duplicate it in a fly form. I have never used recipes, and it bores me to try to follow a recipe. I don’t cook well either for that reason 😉 It challenges me daily to find fish to recreate, and I love the physics involved in order to enable it to ride correctly in the water.
What are some of the things you are thinking about when designing a fly for steelhead specifically?
“Texture and colors” are what I usually like to consider… In that I always want lots of movement in the water, and different forms of movement. I also want different colors that compliment the pattern, yet also give a “depth” to the fly pattern.
What type of fly tying vise do you use?
Beat up old Renzetti Traveler…. One day I’ll upgrade, but this vise won’t die and I love it.
Could you describe a couple of your most memorable fish that you have caught?
I generally look back on certain fish as being memorable not because of the fish necessarily, but because of the company too. One fish was my Clearwater steelhead hooked on a skated muddler. The fish wasn’t that great, but the whole weekend was amazing fishing with my friend and guide Brian Styskal.
I read that you are an encyclopedia of fly tying materials of classic and modern flies. Can you explain a little about this?
I joke with people that I’m a plethora of useless knowledge… I spent decades ordering tying materials for the fly shop I worked at. We were and still are the most eager shop I’ve ever encountered to special order tying materials for customers, which required me to memorize every catalog that came through over the years. I can look at virtually any synthetic and most natural tying material and tell you exactly what it is. I used to have people bring in boxes of materials consistently for me to look over and label what the fur and feathers were.
Do you still fish any classic flies?
Yes. Most are renditions of classics and my own take on them. I love Alec Jacksons Spade fly, the Orange Heron, and Dec Hogans versions of the Akroyd fly. I tie a large number of Dee flies for my own use as well.
Can you explain a little about what spey fishing is for those that do not know?
In general, it is a technique for casting that originally was developed on the river Spey with heavy rods that were upwards of 20 feet initially. It utilizes a water load as opposed to false casting in the air like a single hand rod. Spey casting allows an angler to cast a great distance with little back casting room, and allows more control over the speed of the swing of the fly.
I notice you tie various flatwing flies. Could you explain what that is?
This is a technique for tying that was developed and created by the legendary Kenney Abrames for stripers on the east coast. It is not one fly specifically, but a technique and fishing method. There is nothing I have ever found that fishes the way a correctly tied flatwing fishes. Many claim to tie flatwings… But there is a method to the madness, and without the correct order and specifically placed materials it just isn’t a flatwing.
Thank you for doing this interview for FrankenFly Brita, it was a pleasure!
Brita is a fly fishing guide at The Avid Angler in Washington. She also teaches classes there and works for Far Bank(Sage Rods) full time during the week. Be sure to look her up for your next trip to Washington!
The finalists have been decided, now it is time for you to vote for the best in the Surface Seducer fly tying contest by Flymen Fishing Company. Vote by going to the Flymen Fishing Company Instagram page and liking the fly of your choice. http://flymenfishingcompany.com/pages/surface-seducer-fly-tying-contest
Here are the finalists.
I want to send a thanks out to everyone that ordered Zudbubblers and other flies from my online store during the recent sale. I still have a few sale orders to tie and send out. The Zudbubbler sale has been a success, but all good things come to an end. So this weekend will be the end of the sale.
Here are a few shots of some of the orders that came through. Also, I went out last weekend and threw some Zudbubbers to largemouth, so check it out!
Zudbubblers are now on sale in the FrankenFly online store! If you haven’t tried these block style poppers, you are missing out! They are as good or better than any popper out there. Bottom line, they catch fish!
Regular price on these are $5.00 each. They are on sale 40% off for $3.00 each.
Get them while they’re hot!