Published Feb 9. 2018 - 5 years ago
Updated or edited Feb 14. 2018

Book review: Designing Poppers, Sliders & Divers

Practical Advice for Crafting Top Water Fly Fishing Lures

This book raises the bar for warm water fly rod lure making books. Elmer Meiler reviews Steve Schweitzer's book.

Steven B. Schweitzer
Publishing year: 
Reviewed by: 

I'll say this right from the start: The book by Steven B. Schweitzer; Designing Poppers, Sliders & Divers is a book that's a definite ten on a scale from one to ten. I definitely will put this book right along my copy of Pfeiffer’s book, Bug Making. This book raises the bar for warm water fly rod lure making books.

There is a tremendous amount of information in this book. The book is 12 by 9 inches, a little over two pounds, 305 pages on high grade paper, over 800 photographs and is spiral bound. The spiral binding makes it easier to open up the book to read and follow the step-by-step process in making poppers, divers or sliders.

The book is broken down into a number of main sections:

  • Beginning
  • Tools and Materials
  • Elements of Design
  • Making Poppers, Sliders and Divers
  • Step-by-Step for Top Water Patterns
  • Tips & How-To’s
  • DIY Projects (50 projects)

Each section has multiple subtopics. The author discusses the information in detail in each of the topics. An example of the list subtopics under the Tools and Materials section you have:

  • Tools of the Trade
  • Lure Body Materials
  • Hooks & Thread
  • Paints
  • Markers
  • Adhesives
  • Body Fillers & Finishes
  • Body & Tailing Materials
Page sample
Page sample
Pages from the book
Steve Schweitzer

A good example within the Element of Design section is about Body Shape Characteristics. Most warm water fly fishers just want a surface fly lure to do its job to either pop or slide under the surface of the water. In this small section you see the effect of different types of fly lures and how they present themselves in the water. You see how high density polyethylene foam with different head shapes looks in the water. You may start to think about your own designs and what the effect would be when you give a yank on your fly line. What the effects different types of diving heads, lips, rattles, spinners or weights will do to the fly patterns that you are making.

There are also fourteen Figures and Tables: ranging from Advantages and Disadvantages of Top Water Lure Body Material Types to Effect of Rattle Sound in Different Lure Body Material. The author has a list of his experiential and observational choices for products that are used in the book.

Page sample
Page sample
Pages from the book
Steve Schweitzer

The book may seem pricy, but it is worth cost of the $44.95. Whether you are just starting out or have been making poppers, sliders and divers already, this book is for you. If you have been making these bugs for a number of years, there are nuggets of information that will improve your fly lures.

I have been fly fishing and tying for warm water fish for over fifty years. I also make my own fly lures, which includes copies of the old classics that are not sold any more. I have just about every book on fishing and tying for warm water fish. Still I consider this book is a must for anyone who wants to design and make their own poppers, sliders and divers.


We know that this book was written by someone who has a long time involvement with this site, being one of the founders, but Steve Schweitzer is no longer contributing to the site, and the review has been done by an outside reviewer - Elmer G. Meiler - who is a respected and very experienced warm water angler and fly tyer, so the review is completely unbiased.


Body materials...

Does the book talk about using cork and balsa in popper making? I still use both, although I think that I'm now in the lost art stage, especially in using cork. LOL

Cork & Balsa Body Materials...

Hi Jerri Bullock: yes, the book goes into great detail regarding how to use cork and balsa. Both cork and balsa are still very much relevant as popper, slider and diver making.


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