The photo below was taken of my father-in-law, Dr. J.W. DiGiglia, with a remarkable double he caught on a Gurgler/Clouser popper-dropper. This catch was the result of good flies and good technique. The flies here were in white and blue tied on size six hooks. At the end of this article is a recipe for the gurgler. A clouser recipe is available all over the Internet, so we will focus here on technique.
Devereaux was having difficulty persuading Marie Comeaux to part with her conservative moral principles. He tried every technique he knew, soft words and soft music; then the caveman approach; and lastly he tried liquor. She resisted everything.
Finally, one Saturday afternoon, he escorted her to DeJean the furrier where he asked to see a collection of his finest coats. From these he permitted Marie to choose one which cost five thousand dollars.
"I assume you will accept my check," Devereaux said.
Dejean explained that it was Saturday afternoon, the banks were closed and they would be unable to verify Devereaux's credit until the following Monday.
Devereaux smiled and said. "I understand, but suppose I leave the coat here and I'll pick it up on Monday. Here is my check."
Monday morning he returned to the store and DeJean growled, "Devereaux, I called your bank and your account will not cover a check of this size."
I know," Devereaux replied. "I just stopped by to thank you for a wonderful weekend."
Popper-dropper rigs can be fished in many ways, depending on the conditions and the temperament of the fish. The first option is the pop-wait/pop-wait. The key here is to be patient between the pops to allow for the clouser to travel up and then drop. An easy key is to let the ripples from the pop fade out. Most hits on the clouser will come on the drop. Each strip for the pop should move the gurgler about a foot which will result in a good up/down motion of the clouser and loud noise from the gurgler. This is a good technique for reluctant bass. Hits on the clouser will make the gurgler disappear like a strike indicator.
Next is the slow and steady retrieve. In this method the gurgler should go pop-pop-pop at an even pace and may result in a walk-the-dog "V" shaped pattern. Strips should be no more than a foot, usually six inches. This is a good technique for roving bass and shallows where you don't want the clouser sinking too deeply.
Finally is the fast retrieve in which the pops are frequent and the clouser is retrieved close to the surface. Strips are very fast and very short and cause a lot of commotion on the water. This is particularly good for active bass at dusk.
Sharp hooks are very important because the target fish is bass. Leaders are simple, a 12# test from the fly line to the gurgler and an 8# test down to the clouser. Bass are not particularly line shy. One advantage of a similarly colored popper-dropper is that bass are instinctive and frequently jealous. If one bass takes a fly and is actively fighting, it is not uncommon for another bass to attack a similarly colored fly thinking the first one found a good snack.
- Hook: Mustad 34011 or 34007 or similar in sizes 8-2/0
- Thread: Flat waxed nylon
- Tail: buck tail or super hair + (optional) krystal flash
- Under body: sparkle chenille or chenille + hackle
- Upper body: 2-3mm closed cell foam
Step 1: Cut a strip of foam that measures 3/8" to 5/8" wide.
Step 2: Lay down a thread base on the shank of the hook from the eye to a spot above the hook point.
Step 3: Stack buck tail hair or cut super hair about 1.5 times the length of the the hook shank.
Step 4: Tie the buck tail/super hair where you stopped the thread.
Step 5: (optional) Tie in a few strands of krystal flash so that ½" to 1" extends beyond the buck tail/superhair. Wind the thread forward to a point 1/8" behind the eye.
Step 6: Trim one end of the foam rectangle to a point.
Step 7: Lay the closed cell foam over the top of the hook shank, foam point aimed toward the hook eye and ending where thread hangs. Tie in foam point and wind back toward hook bend making evenly spaced segments, cupping the foam around the hook as you wind the thread forward. At the spots where you have made the segments with your thread make sure that you wrap that particular area more than once with your thread.
Step 8: Tie in a saddle hackle or crystal chenille at the last segment tie down. Strip one side of the hackle.
Step 9: Wind the hackle/chenille forward in between the segments. Tie off and trim.
Step 10: Bring the foam forward over the top of the body and tie down securely just behind the eye of the hook.
Step 11: Trim the lip of closed cell foam extending over the hook eye to a length equal to about 1/3 of the body length and whip finish.
Step 12: Finish shaping the lip into a smooth crescent or as desired.
You can also check out the fly of the week pattern at: http://www.flyanglersonline.com/flytying/fotw/051799fotw.php