Published Apr 15. 1997 - 26 years ago
Updated or edited Mar 11. 2023

Foam flies for panfish

I purchased a copy of Skip Morris' book on tying flys for bass and panfish and another of his books on foam flies. His books are excellent and I recommend them above all others for beginning tyers. The pictures and instructions are superb!

I purchased a copy of Skip Morris' book on tying flys for bass and panfish and another of his books on foam flies. His books
are excellent and I recommend them above all others for beginning tyers. The pictures and instructions are superb!

Skip's book is my inspiration.

A popper I bought and used last summer was yellow in color, with long rubber legs and yellow marabou tail. I've used foam, ostrich herl and rubber legs to closely approximate my purchased "popper".


Hook12-16 down eye wet fly hook
WeightBrass bead
TailYellow marabou and flash (optional)
BodyTying thread and a strip of foam on the top
BackStrip of yellow foam
LegsYellow or white rubber legs
Thorax/headPeacock herl covered with brown foam
EyesClear glass beads

    Tying instructions:
  1. Press down the barb
  2. Tie in a tuft of yellow marabou as a tail. Length approx. 11/2 times hook shank.
  3. Cut a narrow strip of yellow foam
  4. Tie in the foam on top of the hook shank. Leave space for eyes and head.
  5. Wind the thread forwards over the foam.
  6. Fold the rear half of the foam forwards and tie down
  7. Cut surplus
  8. Tie in two rubber legs as an X. Length approx. as tail
  9. Cut a narrow triangle of brown foam
  10. Tie in foam over hook eye pointing forwards
  11. Tie in the eyes on top of the hook shank
  12. Cover the base of the eyes and underside of head with peacock herl
  13. Fold the brown foam tightly backwards over the head
  14. Tie down and cut surplus
  15. Whip finish and varnish.

The foam fly. Notice the shape of the brown foam

A fly with flash in the tail.


Panfish is a broad category for fresh water fish approximately the size of your hand. They are found largely in lakes and farm ponds and include bream, crappie, sunfish, etc. They are different from small mouth bass, large mouth bass, and striped bass. When I was a small boy of 10 years or so, my Dad would take me to a
pay-for-fish pond close to our house. He would fish for bass, carp, catfish, etc. I took a cane pole and would sit close to the supply water feeding this small pond. Generally, I out fish my Dad by catching lots
and lots of "panfish". These were treasurable times and will always be remembered fondly.
I'm 45 now, trying to give my kids (two boys) some of the same rememberances given to me. Last summer, I camped at Boy Scout Camp John J. Barnhardt with my eldest son. I'd restricted myself to trout fishing until this week long encampment. Knowing that Camp Barnhardt is located on Badin Lake, NC, I carried my fly rod and purchased some "popping bugs" as I didn't know how to tie flys for small fresh water fish.
On a Thursday afternoon, in a matter of two hours, I caught 18 "panfish".
They hit hard. It was another memorable experience.


Martin Joergensen's picture

Pat, The brass be...


The brass bead is under the foam on the hook shank, while the eyes are in the front of the fly, where you'd expect the eyes to be. Omit the bead and the fly floats. Add the bead and the fly sinks slowly.


The pattern above ca...

The pattern above calls for a brass bead and glass eyes Is this correct

Thanks for the foam ...

Thanks for the foam fly. I tye it in a larger size with shorter legs and red fish love it also

Martin Joergensen's picture

Guy, To find the ...


To find the Cheap Lazy Bastard, use our search facility and you will notice that it's the first article listed in the results. Smart, huh?

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I found this page by...

I found this page by searching for "Fly Fishing yellow foam bug"
This is a great website. I came back to it minutes after I printed what I had asked for and was looking for "Cheap Lazy Bastard" June 5th 2006..... it vanished.
How can I find it again and how can I get on your e-mail distrubution?
Guy Groulx Fort Worth FlyFishers

Nice silhouette on t...

Nice silhouette on this fly very nice pattern. Bet its great for panfish!

Martin Joergensen's picture

Jack, What do you...


What do you mean "too many sites are non-exsitent"?

Links to other sites from this page? Not so! I just checked the links, and they seem to work. What other people do with their sites is out of our hands, but we try to preserve every page intact eternally... almost.


too many sites non e...

too many sites non esistant, clean up old sites


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