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Sam's One Bug
Created by Craig E. "Sam" Blevins
By Warren Patterson

I was asked to set-up my vise and tie in a booth for the local TU at a fund raiser where the money raised would be used to help restore the local trout river fishery and water quality. That is where I met a wonderful gentleman who was tying at another booth. He was tying his popper creation he had named Sam's One Bug. His name was Craig E. "SAM" Blevins. I said 'was' because he died about two years ago. We struck up a conversation and immediately became tying friends. Sam was a member and very active in the FFF in Huntsville, Alabama. He agreed to sell me a dozen of his Sam's One Bugs if I would agree to go fishing with him to test them out before he would let me purchase them. I later found out that his health would not permit him to fish alone anymore. He needed someone with him to assist him if a health issue came up so this provided him one more fishing trip. We used his boat and we caught many fine bluegill with this popper. Sam's One Bug and another popper he created for bass named Sam's L-Eye-Bee, were featured in an article in Flyfishing & Tying Journal, Summer 2002. If you can get a copy of that article, the tying instructions for both of his poppers are in it and probably explained better than my instructions. I wanted to submit Sam's One Bug as a memory for Sam. He was a fine person and I do miss him.

Sam's One Bug is a great bluegill popper and the way you fish it is really easy. Just cast it out and do nothing more. I have watched bluegill come up under it and follow it about 2 foot and then just "jump" all over it! I have had bluegill come out of the water and come down on top of the popper! It is a fun popper to fish with! It will float forever and will make a good "strike indicator." I have caught trout on it when used during the hopper season here.

Here are the tying instructions:

Materials List, Sam's One Bug"


    Hook: - For this demostration I used a #8 nymph 1x long and 1x strong. I also have it tied on a #6 hook. The larger hooks help to keep the smaller bluegill off and assist with the bass that decide to hit it.

    Thread: - I use Uni 8/0 and try to match the thread color to the body.

    Body: - 1/4" sandable foam which I found at FeatherCraft. Yellow has been my most successful color, but, I am sure other colors will work.

    Tail: - I used marabou with 2 to 4 strands of krinkle flash tied in. Sam stated not to use too much flash in the tail. I am sure other material could be used for the tail.

    Legs: - You can use any rubber leg material that you prefer and in whatever color you want.

Step One

1. Here is the hook in the vise with a thread base from eye to tail tie-in point, tail and flash tied in. After that you run the bobbin back to the eye of the hook and do a whip finish and cut the tying thread. At this point you can lay the bobbin aside for later.

Step Two

2. Slice one end of the foam body at a sharp angle. Measure the body length to start behind the hook eye and end at the hook point where the angle should start. This will keep the hook gap clear for better hook setting. Carefully slice the bottom of the foam at the center line the full length of the foam to about the center of the foam cylinder and then, with your fingers, spread open the slit to assist with putting it on the hook shank.

Step Three

3. Spread a couple drops of your favorite super glue on the top of the hook shank over your thread wraps. Careful to stop short of the tail tie-in point or the tail material will soak up the glue and ruin the tail action. Take the foam body and slip it over the hook shank with the glue on it and position it with the angle starting at the hook point and the body stopping behind the eye of the hook. Press the body around the hook shank and together at the bottom of the hook shank. Hold in this position until the glue sets and seals the slit the entire length. This is where reverse action tweezers come in handy to hold the body together until the glue sets. Some glue will squeeze out and if you are not careful, you will glue the popper to your fingers. Don't ask me how I know that!

Step Four

4. Once the glue has set, re-start your tying thread about one hook eye width back from the hook eye and do several thread wraps in one place to create a "head" for the popper. Do a whip finish over these thread wraps, cut the tying thread and you are finished with the bobbin and tying thread. Apply some head cement or Sally Hanson to this whip finish and thread.

Step Five

5. Thread your rubber leg material through the eye of a needle and insert the needle just behind the "head" of the popper on the side facing you and push it through the body at an angle so that it comes out on the back side of the body at the back. Do this step again from the opposite side which will give you two legs on each side of the popper. Trim legs to size that suits you.

Step Six

6. Picture #7 shows legs in place and trimmed. I usually apply one drop of head cement or Sally Hanson at the base of each leg where they enter the body. If you don't the bluegill will yank the legs out of the body which does not affect the "fish catching" of the popper but it does give the popper a better look.

Finished Fly

7. Your Sam's One Bug is finished and ready to go fishing.

Bottom View

8. This is a view of the bottom of the popper showing the slit is sealed the entire length. This is a very durable popper, easy to tie and a real fish getter! Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

"Sam, this was for you my friend." ~ Warren

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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