The Global FlyFisher
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Tube, foam, strips and a hook and not too much messing around
Quite a few really strange contraptions have seen the light of day during my hunt for an easily tied and durable pike fly. The Plipper seen on this page is one of the branches of this sometimes really strangely evolving obsession.
This particular fly has quite a history.
One of my most successful sea trout patterns is a foam diver based on an original, which was designed for pike. I shrunk it to fit the meeker mouths of sea trout. I tied a few in the original size for pike, but honestly found the work too much. The foam would shred to atoms with the first strike, and trashing the newly tied fly with hook, rabbit strip and everything after a single contact, was not something I yearned for.
So I set out to make the simplest imaginable foam fly for pike. I wound up punching and folding a strip of foam to form a lip, forehead, and a body in one step.
The first ones were tied on large, inexpensive hooks, but of course still meant that the hook would be dumped if I dumped the torn-up fly. The concept was perfect for tubes. A shredded fly could be dumped without loosing the hook. Tubes it was.
The first samples were tied with a tail. I skipped the tail.
The pike did not care.
The first samples were tied with tying thread, but whip finishing and varnishing was beyond what I wanted to offer this fly. I skipped the thread.
The pike did not care.
I simply started binding on the foam with small nylon strips for electrical cords. A couple of drops of superglue, two strips, snip, snip, and I was done. No thread, no vice, no nothing...
Lately I have even omitted the glue. I use pliers to tighten the strips and snip the tags. That yields a strong enough fly. I insert a large gape, short shank, straight eye hook directly into he plastic tube and save using a piece of silicone.
The name "Plipper"? Well, take a popper and give it a lip. What do you get?
Tube: Plastic 1½-2 inches
Foam: Colourful closed cell foam, 1½ millimetres thick
Glue: Instant super glue (optional)
Strips: For electrical wires. As small as you can get them
Hook: The Plipper is a large fly meant for pike, and the hook should reflect this. Use at least a size 4 or 2 single hook. Short shank, large gape hooks are suitable, and these can be found both in the saltwater and bait-hook (carp) assortments.
- Melt a small collar on a 1½ inch plastic tube
- Cut a 1 centimeters or a little less than ½ inch wide strip of floating foam
- Poke a small hole in one end of the foam
- Pass the tube through this hole
- Bend the foam in shape (See sketch)
- Bind the foam down with two small strips
- Pull strips as tight as you can (use pliers) and cut tags
- Trim the foam
This is a fly designed with two things in mind: easy and quick use-and-throw-away-construction and fish attacking in the surface!
I find that many short shank carp or salt water hooks work well. I almost always use plastic or silicone tube, clear or coloured, to guide the hook—unless it fits into the rear of the tube itself.