Bob Popovic’s Banger is a big, simple popper perfect for jacks and cuda and stripers when they’re up on top. This is a pretty quick and easy tie and the fly is tough and holds together well. Don’t forget to tie up a few in a chartreuse color too.
Hook: Mustad Kinked Shanked Popper Hook
Thread: White UNI 6/0 or 3/0 Danville Monocord
Tail: White Bucktail
Body: Pearl Cactus Chenille
Head: White Foam Cylinder ½” Diameter, covered with Holographic Silver Sheeting
Eyes: Silver Holographic Adhesive Eyes
The foam cylinders come out of the package at the right length to cut exactly in half to make two popper heads. Use a single edge blade and make a single, straight cut through the foam to begin.
Use your bodkin to poke a hole half way through each end of the foam blank right at the center. If you only go half way through from each side you stand a much better chance of centering the hole through the foam.
Cut a strip of holographic sheeting that is as wide as the head is long. Peel the backing off and roll the foam head along the sheeting until it slightly overlaps. Clip the excess and squeeze the sheeting tightly onto the foam.
I like to reinsert the bodkin for the next step so I can hold onto the foam. If your sheeting doesn’t line up perfectly with the edges of the foam, use the razor blade to trim the excess.
Put a small drop of Zap-A-Gap on each side of the head and apply an adhesive eye over the top of the glue. Wrap a rubber band around the head over the eyes to hold them flush against the curve of the foam while they dry. Set the head aside for the moment while it dries.
Start the thread on the hook just behind the kink and wrap a thread base back to the bend, forward again to the kink and back to the bend again.
Tie in a clump of white bucktail at the bend of the hook. The bucktail should extend beyond the hook bend about two shank lengths. Wrap forward over the butt ends to just short of the kink in the hook, slip the excess stubs and bind the leftovers tightly in place.
Tie in a length of Cactus Chenille at the bend of the hook.
Wrap the Cactus Chenille forward to the kink, building a thick body. Tie the chenille off and clip the excess. Whip finish and clip the thread then add a drop of head cement to the thread wraps.
Push the eye of the hook through the pre-made hole in the head, forcing the head over the kink and back to the front edge of the chenille body. You can put some Zap-A-Gap on the shank first if you want to permanently attach the head (in which case you would want to put a thread base on the forward section of the shank for adhesion), but the beauty of this design is the ability to mix and match heads and body/tail combinations so the removable head is pretty crafty.
Finished fly, Side view.