In the Fall of 2007 and Spring of 2008, I was extremely lucky.
Having returned from a year long tour in Iraq, I had to opportunity
to take a few months off while settling back down into normal life.
While in Iraq, two great things happened to me: I was
fortunate enough to buy a wonderful piece of property
along the Chickasawhay River in South Mississippi, and
I developed an interest in fly tying.
I have always been a fly fisher of sorts, my dad and
his dad started us early with popping bugs and bluegills.
My dad tied his own poppers (learning from his uncle), and I
never had any interest in it until about halfway through my tour
for some reason. I chalk it up to the fact that while over there,
you have plenty of time to re-evaluate things and decide what
not to take for granted anymore.
Regardless, I bought the Orvis starter kit and several sizes of
corks and had it all shipped home ready for my return. The
first few were pathetic attempts. I kept going and experimenting,
and hit on one that was good looking to the eye, but good looking
to the eye doesn't necessarily mean good looking to the gills. It
has its origins in the Accardo frog pattern, but I have no idea how
or why I on hit on the specific color and pattern. I call it the Hypno
Toad. It's really nothing more than some green spray paint over
some white model paint, dipped in lacquer to harden the body,
and is finished off with yellow rubber legs, with white and yellow
hackle and tail. Nothing too fancy at all.
I tied up a few, getting better with each popper completed. Finally,
spring came, and it was time to try them out. Now I had tied white,
yellow, black and chartreuse poppers also; so there was plenty to
choose from. I tied three dozen, one dozen each for me, my brother
I and my dad were fishing the same water, my brother a river in
North Mississippi where historically, and I have experienced this,
only a white popper will work. We have tried many times, with
many different flies, and the white popper always out performs.
Here is what I learned: I will never tie another popper that is not
the Hypno Toad pattern! This fly has out produced every other fly,
either homemade or store bought, in my fly box each time, regardless
I have since tied the patterns in the round dinny body style, and
experimented with other styles just for fun. All of them have
been equally effective.
Proof you ask? Well, I may have some pictures:
This was in September 2007, right after returning home.
All the bluegill were caught on the Hypno Toad. This was
in North Mississippi. Can you tell I am glad to be home?
About two hours of work with the Hypno Toad and
2-wt. rod the day before a full moon, August 2008.
The original Hypno Toad tied using a Wapsi foam body, size 8 hook.
Bottom view. White underbelly with two or three red dots.
Some other shapes and body styes.
One pile of bluegill fillets and some tater tots
be my favorite meal of all time.
The view from my soon-to-be cabin front door.
The Hypno Toad at work.
I have since got the bug, no pun intended, completely. I
have acquired much on the order of hooks, feathers and
other materials. I have begun to delve into the wet fly game,
and have tied quite a few, but I must admit I am still a work
in progress. Not nearly the same success with the poppers.
But it will come, as my skill at reading the water and mood
of the fish comes along.
Ladies and gentlemen, I read every article on this board in
many dull moments of down time in Iraq. This is a great community,
and I have learned much. I see many posts on the bulletin board
organizing things to send to troops, and many other comments of
support to the other veterans in this community as well. For that,
I say thank you, we couldn't do it without your support.
And as I have seen many times on the board, yes, if asked I
will submit this as a fly of the week.
Hope you enjoyed my rambling. Rick, there is no way I could
do this weekly, thanks for what you do. ~ Jeff