An old man passed away. He left a box of fly tying materials. When it was opened you knew right away it was old. It had that smell that is so familiar to packed away odds and ends we accumulate in life. The feathers were crumbling in their packaging; the deer hair was brittle and shed when you picked it up. There were two small vises, more like hook holders made of thin metal strips, that had a calcified feel to them. The box had other items littered about it like hooks, pens, pins, and even a stubby piece of 25 pair telco cable. In one tray sat a handful of cork popper bodies. I grabbed these. They needed a new life.

They smell dusty. They feel old. They’re brittle. They are both soft and hard at the same time. I tried cutting one with an razor blade and split it with the smallest amount of pressure. With my dremel I was able to cut a groove into them without breaking them. Old and fragile, just like we’ll all be someday.

I wanted to keep them as basic as possible. Some marabou, some hackle, and some legs. At the same time I needed something to make sure they wouldn’t fall apart on the first cast. I coated them with Clear Cure Goo and added some Clear Cure Eyes.

My hope is this summer I’ll be casting one of these on a small creek and a smallmouth will rocket out of the water with the popper in the corner of his mouth. I’ll silently thank the old man for leaving that brittle old cork for someone else to find.




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