I took a deer hair popper down to a pond I know, the same spun deer hair popper I teach at fly tying sessions. It’s a lot simpler and easier to tie than the commercial versions they sell at fly shots for $3 or $4.
I buy a patch of deer hair, dyed chartreuse, put a number 6 hook in my vise, and near the bend, I wrap my thread. Then clip about pencil size piece deer hair, laying it at about a 45-degree angle on top of the hook, then I take wraps of thread. As I take the second wrap, I pull up and the hair spins. I wrap several tight loops of thread, then repeat until there’s no room on the shank for any more hair. I’ll finish with several half-hitches, and set it aside until I tie several.
With several flies tied, I’ll take them outside, and with sharp scissors, trim each to look flat on the bottom and tapered up the sides.
On a size 6 hook, I’ll tie 3X or 4X leaders. Fish seem to strike these flies with abandon. The deer hair bugs are small enough to use a 5 or 6 weight fly rod, although I have an old fiberglass Abercrombie and Fitch fly rod that works great.
For bass and pickerel, cast it with a splat near some grass, lily pads or other structure, and let it sit until all the ripples are gone. Then, twitch it until a fish strikes. If there are any nearby, they’ll come up for it. I once caught a big largemouth bass and plenty of bluegills along with a few pickerel casting the little deer hair bug.
Oh! Just like Henry Ford said about his Model T, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black,” bass and bluegills seem to like any color as long as it’s chartreuse.
If the weather stays hot with the beginning of bass season coming up and you don’t want to fly fish, try an old favorite of mine. The Jitterbug in just about any size will catch fish, but try the smaller versions for bluegills during the day. At night, black
Jitterbugs work best for bass.
Even though it’s not bass season, you can still catch them and immediately return them to the water and their spawning beds.
Farm ponds are a favorite of mine at this time of year, but those little deer hair poppers and Jitterbugs will work on backwaters of rivers and coves on big and small lakes.
Give them a try.