Thursday, February 22, 2018

Balsa Popper Sticker Templates

Greetings Fellow Tyers!

After numerous requests I have decided to offer the vinyl sticker templates you've seen me use on Facebook and Instagram for making perfectly consistent poppers. These templates come in perfect sizes for either 4/0, 5/0 or 6/0 Poppers (Daiichi 2461 hooks recommended). There are enough stickers per template to allow you to make 9 poppers and each template is $7.50 (includes postage). They will be available on the website soon but if you're ready to get started just send me an email at and I'll get you hooked up right away.

They're simple to use and effective for making all of your poppers consistent in size. Here's how to use them...

Step 1: Start with a balsa block slightly larger than the size the popper will be once sanded. You can use the templates for this step or simply measure the side and top templates and cut your balsa block slightly larger. (1/16" larger on each side works well)

Step 2: You'll want to sand the side profile first, so place the template for the side profile on the balsa block flush with the bottom of the block and sand the block until it matches up with the template. I use a 12" disc sander with a 220 grit disc for this (which makes it quick and easy), but you can sand it with a hand held block sander as well.

Step 3: This photo shows the side profile sanded. At this point remove the template from the side profile.

Step 4:  Apply the top profile template to the topside of the balsa and sand both sides of the balsa so they match up with the template.

Step 5: This photo shows the top profile sanded. Now you can remove the top profile template and move on to cutting the groove in the bottom of the balsa for your hook. Check out my Video at this link to see how I cut the groove in

Also, be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see my latest creations.

Thanks for your support!

Matt "Z" Zudweg

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Zuddy's Flash Blend Sculpin

Last fall was honestly one of the hardest I've had swinging for Steelhead. Although the quality of the steelhead was fantastic, the numbers were dismal compared to most years and to make matters worse, we were plagued with high water much of the fall. High water is an enemy to swinging flies for steelhead and getting the fly to swing slow and deep enough proved a difficult task for much of the fall. The good news is that when the fishing is tough my motivation for trying new fly patterns increases (Pressure makes the creative edge sharper!)
The pattern below is one I worked on all fall and it accounted for the majority of Steelhead we hooked. Like many of my flies, it's a pretty simple tie. I hope you find it as useful as I did.

Note: I mostly tie steelhead flies on needle tubes nowadays, but if you tie this one on a hook, tie in the lead eyes on top of the hook then place the hook upside down in your vise, tying everything else in assuming the fly will ride hook up. If you're tying on a hook I would recommend a Daiichi 2461 in size 2 to 4.

Step 1: Place your tube in the tube fly adapter (Hareline item HMH3) and tie in size small, medium (shown) or large lead eyes about 1/4" behind the front of the tube (size of eyes depends on water flow). Then tie in a Grizzly Marabou Feather (Hareline item GRIZM) as the tail (olive is my favorite color for this fly).

Step 2: Tie in the tip of a Flash Blend Baitfish Brush (Hareline item FBB22-1) in Peacock (shown) or Olive and palmer forward 3 turns. Tie off and clip the remnant for later use. I recommend teasing the brush at this point as well... fluff it up!

Step 3: Tie in the tip of a large Mallard Flank in the color of your choice (I like Natural or Tan for this fly), then dub some red Ice Dub (Hareline item ICE300) up to the back of the lead eyes.

Step 4: Palmer the Mallard Flank forward through the dubbing and tie off right behind the lead eyes.

Step 5: Tie in a wing of Riple Ice Fiber (Hareline item RIP) in Peacock (shown) or Olive.

Step 6: Tie in a second wing of 3 to 4 Barred Crazy Legs in Olive/Green Flake (Hareline item CLB263) and also 1 to 2 of Senyo's Fusion Foil Legs in Barred Copper/Red Foil (Hareline item SFF4).

Step 7: Tie in the remnant of the Flash Blend Brush and wind 2 wraps behind the lead eyes and another 2 wraps in front of the eyes. Whip finish, Tease the Brush again and go swing it with confidence.

Note: My favorite hook to use with this fly and most of my tube flies is the Owner SSW in size 2 or 4.
Also, in regard to size, my finished fly is about 2 3/4" to 3" long.