The Zudbubbler- by Matt Zudweg

featured, Fly Patterns, Step-by-Step Tutorials — By on April 20, 2012 9:37 am

In my world, one of the best things about a warm summer is the explosive strike from a Smallmouth or Largemouth Bass to my popper. I love fishing poppers for bass, it’s nearly as exciting to me as big brown trout on dry flies. The instructions below will guide you through tying my favorite popper “The Zudbubbler”. When tied properly, this is one effective and durable bug. Nearly any color combination is possible, but my favorites include combinations of yellow, green, black and orange.

Captain Matt Zudweg guides for Feenstra Guide Service on Michigan’s Muskegon River and also owns BoneYard Fly Gear. Check out his product line at

Purchase some soft foam floor panels. I usually find them at Home Depot, etc. They’re made for kid’s rooms, they’re inexpensive, and one 2’x2′ panel will tie hundreds of poppers!

Cut the foam into strips (using a razor blade) that are about 3/4″ wide (this will actually be the length of the popper body). From the strip, cut bodies that are about 1/2″ wide at the front, tapering to about 3/8″ wide at the rear. You can see from the photo, the foam I buy has a cool texture on one side… I make this the bottom, because the texture traps air bubble’s under the popper.

Using a razor blade, trim the top of the body to a downward taper as shown.

Using a good size bodkin, poke a hole near the bottom of the body, from front center to rear center.

Slide the body onto a size 3/0 #2720 Daiichi Stinger hook. (do not use glue yet). Secure 3/0 Uni-Thread to the hook just behind the popper body and wind back up the hook to just behind the body.

Secure a marabou feather on top of the hook. Color of your choice.

Secure one barred rubber leg (folded over) to each side of the hook. Color of your choice.

Secure a hackle feather (black schlappen shown) by the tip, then dub some Ice Dub or Senyo’s Laser Dub onto the thread and wind forward leaving the right amount of room for the popper body. The color of the dubbing is not critical, although I prefer olive or black.

Wind the hackle forward over the dubbing and secure, then wind the thread forward to the hook eye, (cover the hook completely, as this thread will be a good base for the glue used to attach the body securely to the hook). Whip finish.

Apply a generous amount of Zap a Gap CA glue to the thread and slide the body in place. Attach doll eyes and rubber legs as shown. As you can see, I also add spots using a green or black sharpie and a red lip (with a red sharpie). Not necessary, but it looks cool:)

Many times, I will also lightly stroke a sharpie on the textured underside of the popper body, hitting just the high spots… this helps break up the solid color from the fish’s point of view.

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  1. Brian Koz says:

    LOVE this Frog Popper from Zuddy! I also use gardeners knee pads for the foam body> Simone, my daughter loves to tie these and go poppin’ for bass!

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  2. Mitch Gunner Svaty says:

    I like it alot, there are not many bass fishing places where I live, but I’m certainly going to tie some.

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  3. larry pauley says:

    I think you have you have a real winner here i like it a lot i will give it a vote of 5

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  4. shotgunfly says:

    Thanks for this. I’ll look to give this a try.

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  5. Bob Lauben says:

    An easy way to form the foam body is to buy a coil of window backing foam tubing. simply cut at an angle and use thread to compress the foam at the rear to form a tapered butt. I then color with magic marker or model paint and seal with softex.

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  6. Mark Johnson says:

    I like the rectangular/trapazoidal body – I always punch out cylinders. Also, I found Old Navy flip flops to come in a denser foam, with more color choices, and they put them on sale 2 pairs for $5 often. I looked at Home Depot last night and found the tiles – I wasn’t expecting them to be 2′ x 2′ (a 3 life time supply)!! I love reading about what others use for bodies. I’m playing around with the new synthetic wine corks – they are even denser than the Old Navy foam, and appears to be easier to work with than the real cork. And, the best thing about this material is they put them in cheap wine!!

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