Rainy's Blog

Tying with Rainy’s® Fish-Head Slider / Popper
by Paul Mason


I love new products, they excite me. So it is a treat for me to be part of the product development team here at Rainy’s. I am always amazed at the creative minds of fly tiers and love seeing new and innovative fly patterns come through the door. Although coming out with new flies is a large part of what we do here at Rainy’s, we also develop new foam materials. We have been leading the way with foam in the fly fishing industry for over 30 years.

One of our new foam products is the Fish-Head Slider / Popper. This head is very different from other heads and bodies that we have developed thus far. The Fish-Head Slider has a symmetrical shape which creates erratic movement to the fly when retrieved. We hollowed out the back of the head so that it reduces buoyancy, allowing the fly to be used subsurface with the addition of little weight. We found that this hollowed head when tied in reverse can be a very unique and productive popper as well. And with additional material removed from the face of the popper it can spit more water and makes a louder popping sound! Another feature that we added to these heads are recessed eye sockets. These eye sockets allow for perfect placement of the eyes and keep them in line with the head. The sizes of these eye socket are 6mm (small), 7mm (medium) and 8.5mm (large). The Fish-Head Slider has many applications for chasing panfish, bass, trout and large pike and muskie. Let your creativity run wild and see what new patterns you can create.

Tying with the Fish-Head Slider is the same as tying with any other foam head that Rainy’s has to offer. Here are some simple steps to follow:

Step 1: Create a pilot hole in foam popper with your bodkin (if you are tying with larger hooks use a finishing nail to create/stretch a larger hole). If you are tying surface patterns place the hole near the bottom of the popper to reduce surface tension. If you are tying diver or slider locate the pilot hole hear the center of the head to help pull your fly under water. (Nearly all of Rainy’s® foam poppers already have a center hole in them created while shaping them, but this is not necessarily the recommended hole to use for the hook to go through, especially for poppers)

Step 2: Dress your fly however you like but be sure to leaving enough room for the head to slide on the hook without covering the eye of the hook. Be sure to lay down a thread base on the exposed hook, this will be your anchor for the foam to be glued to the hook.

Step 3: Apply a little super glue (I usually use Zap-A-Gap or epoxy) to the thread base and push the head onto the hook shank using the pilot hole created. Once your head is in position, allow the glue to dry completely.

Step 4: Add some finishing touches to your fly. I recommend adding eyes, legs, and/or marking with markers or paint to compete the look. Legs can easily be pulled through the foam using your bodkin to create a pilot hole and using a monofilament loop or EZ Leg Tool to thread legs through.

Rainy® Popper foam is specially formulated so that it is soft enough to work with, but perfectly dense enough to not only make a super durable and buoyant popper, but allows the foam to “bounce back” against the hook shank to keep the popper head secure and, if glued properly, prevent spinning. This feature also helps you avoid having to cut into the foam and making an unsightly seam on the bottom of the popper and lowering the integrity and durability of the popper.

Rainy’s® Fish Head Slider used on a streamer



Paul Mason grew up fishing the rivers and lakes of Utah, Idaho, & Wyoming. He began tying flies at the age of ten and has pursued his passion of fly fishing for over 20 years. Paul spent his academic career studying fisheries and aquatic science and obtained his Master's degree in fisheries from Utah State University.