As I am living in Belgium most of the fly fishing here is on small reservoirs, most of them are catch & release waters with a lot of angling pressure. One of the most successful techniques at the beginning of the year is fishing with pop up flies like small boobies, FAB’s, booby nymphs etc. My favourite Fulling Mill pop up flies are as follows, the Micro Cat booby, Micro Black Blob booby, Booby Stealth Biscuit, Coral Spot FAB and the Sunburst FAB.
Early season, I normally start with a very high-density sinking line such as an Airflo Di 7, and 3ft of Fulling Mill Xtra Copolymer Nylon, but will vary its length and the speed of retrieve until I find the fish. The sinking line drags the booby or FAB under, leaving it suspended off the bottom. It is retrieved with a slow figure of eight retrieve to produce a slightly ducking and diving action across the bottom that so often proves to be deadly. The takes can be very violent, but it is not always like that. Sometimes we fish the pop up flies static, I know it’s a ‘marmite’ technique, you either love it or hate it, but if you’re allowed to do it on your waters, it can be very successful!
I often fish with a small suspender on a dropper about 25 inches from the booby. The suspender is attached to a short dropper of about 2 or 3 inches in length. This suspender acts as a guard to stop the booby getting covered in debris from the bottom. Naturally there is always the odd fish that takes the suspender rather than the booby. My favourite suspenders are the KJ Pearly or the Flexi Suspender Black.
Another great article on fishing deep with boobies by Rob Edmunds.
When reservoir fishing during early spring, these pop up flies are fished in deep water when conditions are cold. I often cast out and wait up to 40 or even 60 seconds for the line to drag the booby near the bottom. However, it is surprising the number of good trout that will get caught when the fly is static, either as a result of waiting for it to sink or just do nothing before continuing to retrieve. No doubt about it, fish will readily take a static booby. However, I must stress the majority of fish are taken whilst slowly retrieving.
Fishing deep correctly with a booby is a matter of feel, and sensitivity is everything, therefore I fish with a rod with a carbon grip! The classic grips are made of cork, an insulating material. In contrast, carbon grips are very conductive and increase the resonance of the blank in the hand. The resonance of the blank into the grip transmits the takes well in advance of a classic cork grip, which allows anticipated striking and better-hooked fish. The transmission of the resonance, vibrations is increased and is more direct, and consequently, this better sensitivity optimizes the detection of the takes. Carbon grips on reservoir rods are progressive, and as for me it has proven to be a wise move as the increased sensitivity and feel are a big plus for fly rods. The strike detection is faster, giving you better hook-ups and less chances of unhooking a fish, and that is a true plus if you fish with pop up flies. Carbon handles offer a great grip and do not slip even when wet, on the contrary!