My first Bass on a Popper

It was incredibly hot outside, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He stood outside at the backdoor, his tacklebox in one hand and an old Martin fly rod in the other, screaming “Come on Dad! Let’s go fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiishing!” After fifteen minutes of begging and yelling about summer being made for fishing, “Dad” couldn’t take it any more. He turned off the television, grabbed his keys and headed toward the back door.

“Alright, go get in the truck – but I don’t know where we’re gonna go, son.”

The kid didn’t care. The kid just wanted to fish. He’d give up anything to go fishing and later in life that “anything” would include friends, parties, and even….girls. At least for a while.  

That kid was me, and I remember my first bass on a popper like it was yesterday. Maybe because it was so hot outside and I hated being hot – but not as much as I hated sitting inside a house, which is something I hate to this day. I’ve made sure my wife knows that if there’s any way possible, when it’s my time to go – I want to be outside.

We turned out of the driveway onto Cherokee Drive, then right onto Parkwood, then a left onto Watson Boulevard. I always thought that was a funny word – boulevard. Once we got to the end of Watson and turned south, I stopped paying attention to where we were going. I was fiddling with my tacklebox.

Dad, is this a good lure?” I’d say as I held up a small yellow and red popper, it’s rubber legs dangling. Dad would usually look at me, smile and keep driving. No sense answering the question when he knew 1000 more were coming. The white Chevy truck we called “Light’ning” barreled along and I dug through the old tacklebox a bit more. I had all the hand-me-downs from Dad’s box. Things he didn’t want, things he didn’t use and a few hooks, bobbers and lures that were new or nearly new. I remember a plastic circular box with a clear plastic lid that would spin around and let you get to different sized sinkers. Maybe you’ve seen something like that? Sinkers still come that way sometimes.

“We’re here, Jeff. Get your rod…” 

I opened the camper shell’s glass door and reached over to get the rod. I had to climb over the tail-gate and into the truck – the rod slid up to the front during the trip. It must have been 110 degrees in the back of that truck. I was sweating before I could get the old fly rod and get back out.

The lake – wherever we were – was choked with lily pads and weeds and crooked black logs. I hated water like that because there was so much to get hung on. This place was more swamp than lake, and the lost soldiers of angler’s past hung from high branches above where we stood. There were lots of old corks and thick line, a few spinners, and one Rebel Minnow. Dad tried to get the Rebel lure down using his spinning rod but it was too short. I reached for it with the tip of my fly rod…

“No, no. Don’t use the fly rod. It’ll break the tip off if you get it hooked up there.” 

The Ocmulgee River

He pointed out a spot for me to stand – a small clearing of red clay and rocks. It looked like a great place for a snake to me, but then – what didn’t out there? Later, I learned this wasn’t a lake or pond at all – but a river. We were fishing a backwater oxbow that had formed a small pond when the water level went down. The water was stained and still. Nothing moved but a few turtles here and there.

I wasn’t very good with the fly rod. I wasn’t very good with any rod, actually. But Dad came over and stood beside me. He roll cast that red and yellow popper out for me. It landed by a log that was half submerged under the murky water.

“Now, give it a tug and make it pop.”

“Like this?”

“Yeah, just like that. If there’s a fish…”

WOOSH.

The battle wasn’t long. Maybe thirty seconds – and I didn’t even land it. It jumped three times and on the third jump it threw the hook. But I didn’t care – I’d caught it in my mind. After some whining on my part, Dad agreed we could count it. He promised not to tell Mom that it got away. We agreed to tell her that it was just too little to keep, which – had I caught it – would have been the Gospel truth. It couldn’t have been more than a half-pound or so.

But it hit that popper and it hit it hard. And that…..well, I’ve never forgotten the way that felt.

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2 Hours and a Monster Bluegill

Any time outdoors is time well spent. Whether that’s flying across a lake in a 20 ft. bass boat, or sitting on the bank tossing crickets with your kids.

Yesterday I was able to get out of the “Popper Mine” for a couple of hours around lunch time and I decided that my best bet for a little action on the fly rod was a local lake about 30 minutes from home. It’s a city watershed lake that was also somewhat managed for fishing. They kept it closed to all fishing for about two years once the dam was in place and the lake came to full pool. This gave the fish a head start on growing their populations and also gave them a chance to grow unmolested by anglers.

Throwing a #8 Traditional pattern Zazzy Pop in yellow and red, I hooked up with three of these nice sized bluegill. I missed a huge “pumpkinseed” and a nice bass when the bass leaped into the air and threw the hook! The only down side to this lake is the lack of bank access. A little boy near me constantly yelled over ” Hey! Hey look at this!” or “We’re fishing.”

Kids are cute, but not when I’m fishing. His dad let him (literally) yell at me for a good thirty minutes before I finally rounded a bend in the shore and went out of sight. You really need a kayak or other watercraft to get around the lake and I’m sure that once away from the boat ramp area, the fishing would be even better. Before I can buy a kayak though, we’ve gotta sell more poppers. 🙂

Here’s Mr. Bluegill next to my 9 ft. 4 wt. fly rod. This is the largest bluegill I’ve ever caught and I realized that I’d forgotten about them for the most part after years of chasing trout and bass. Of course, when you luck up and catch one this size – it’s hard to forget!

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The twin to the one in yesterday’s post – I think this one is actually bigger. The third one was smaller than the two in the pics.

Monthly Zazz?

The other day a friend of mine suggested a “Popper of the Month” Club. Now, I’m wondering if this would be something fun for folks – maybe to give as a gift or even for yourself? It would work something like this:

It would be a “Mystery Popper of the Month” Club and the designs sent out to Club Members would be unavailable to the general public. Additionally, each month we’d do a drawing and one lucky Club Member would get an extra Zazzy Pop in their package.

The price would be our normal price $5 each. But with the Club, we’d pay half the shipping – saving you $12 off the total and giving you a surprise in the mail each month.

Right now, this is just an idea – but if the feedback is very good it may be something we start next month or in Jan. 2013.

Whatcha think?

Surprise! We’re here!

Big Fish Contest Prize: A $350…NO, A $500 FLY ROD!

It’s confirmed – we’ve worked out a deal with Mark Allen over at Misfitfishingrods.com to supply the Grand Prize and it’s going to be AWESOME!

Over the next several months, the winner’s rod will be designed and made especially for this contest. I’ll be helping Mark design the rod and we’ll show you the progress as it happens. What should YOU be doing? Fishing a Zazzy POP for a BIG FISH of course!

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If you need to get a Zazzy Pop, now is a GREAT time, because we’re running a “Buy 3, Get 1 Free” Deal. It’s our most popular deal ever and it’s only good on this run until April 1st, 2012.

So catch a big fish on a Zazzy Pop, post a photo showing the fish and the popper on our Facebook Page and WIN an incredible custom rod from ZazzyPop.com and Misfitfishingrods.com!

You’re welcome!

Owl Jones

Our newest “standard” color: Tequila Sunset

Yesterday we released some early shots of our new Tequila Sunset color scheme and everyone seems to like it alot! I didn’t count a single “boo-hiss” anywhere online. 🙂

Well, today the epoxy has set on the first round and we took them outside into the sunlight to try and get a few photographs of them in the finished state! Oh, and I also took out some Traditional Style poppers that were on the drying rack with the Tequila Sunset Thunder Pops. Next week, we’ll be doing 10 pc. batches of the more “fishy” colors like Dirty Bream and Babee Bass. If you have a color/pattern you think would look great on a Zazzy Pop, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

And now, the pics!

Workin’ it Out

Well, we’re taking most of the weekend off this week. Today we company coming and also a Tea Party rally to attend and alot of “running around” to do in town. I don’t really like “town” very much, but it seems that’s where most things are located. 

Then, Sunday we’re headed back to the “bass ponds” one last time this spring to try and get some video for the website. Gonna try to make a real-life-bona-fide-commercial for ZP. We’ll see how far that goes. Might just be some video of rejections by carp – who knows? That’s why they call it “fishing.” 🙂 

Next week, look for some new “3 pack” designs and specials as we gear up for eBay and Etsy. Or Esty. Whatever it is. 

 

ZP

 

Wapsi: No Reply. No Comment. No care?

Recently, I used the contact form on Wapsi’s website to check on their wholesale account program. After reviewing their website, it seemed as if they were saying they wouldn’t sell wholesale to American fly tiers, even if the tier in question was thinking about turning their popper hobby into a business (ahem.).

What I got from Wapsi was…well, …..nothing. No reply. So I guess that settles that! After talking with someone who already has a lucrative commercial fly tying business yesterday I was able to confirm that no, Wapsi will not sell wholesale to tiers, luremakers, etc. in the USA. However, they apparently have no problem selling their products to overseas companies doing the exact same thing (ie making lures and/or flies).

Now, I can see how 20 or even 10 years ago this made sense. You want to protect your relationship with fly shops in the USA. After all, if I can buy them from Wapsi for less than I can at Local River Fly Shop, then that would put Local River Fly Shop in a rather ill mood.

But today? In this economy? With fly shops closing left and right? I’m thinking that perhaps Wapsi needs to reevaluate their strategy. After all, aren’t most over-seas commercial tying factories owned by American companies? What’s the difference in selling wholesale to them – or to me – other than the quantity of products being sold?

I think their marketing/sales plan is almost obsolete. Why? Because even as a hobby tier, I just ordered $500 worth of popper bodies and hooks from my favorite fly shop. That’s good for the fly shop, and really means that Wapsi’s plan of not selling to independent tiers is doing what it’s intended to do – it forced me to turn to a shop to buy my Wapsi bodies.

It’s also caused me to look for another American manufacturer of hard foam popper bodies which doesn’t put fly shops above independent tiers
.

Is there such an animal out there? I’m planning on finding out so that I can keep the cost of a Zazzy Pop down as much as possible.