This spring I introduced a new 1 1/2 oz. popper at the spring flea markets and I did a few without any paint, just the bare wood with a clear coat finish. I thought they looked good. The wood has a really nice color to it, and it was nice to showcase how they were crafted since you can't hide any blemishes with paint or filler.
People generally asked, "Where's the paint?" I got the feeling that people might have thought that the bare popper was a gimmick. They weren't fishing plugs, or there was something different compared to the painted poppers. Actually, a few lessons were learned that lead to me making them that way.
Last fall, myself and a few friends headed to New England for few nights to fish until we couldn't fish no more. After a hard night with only a few fish caught, we found ourselves finishing up at dawn and making a few final casts. I had two versions of the 1 1/2 oz. popper with us to do some final testing. One painted, and one bare. The bare one wasn't even clear coated, just epoxy sealed. I spent the next 30 to 45 minutes being taught the importance of color, or lack of. I got out fished pretty handily, with the largest catch a 12 lb bluefish that never lost its green. Other wise it was a bunch of 6-8 lb bass that mainly wanted the bare plug. They didn't even remotely care that I took the time to make the painted plug a really nice mullet scale. How dare they!
I was just happy those dawn popper fish helped make a memorable morning out of a night where the fish spent most of the night sleeping. But, It left me really wondering about the emphasis fisherman put on a plug's color.
So in an effort to pretend the color of the bare plug mattered, I decided that they were keyed into the yellowish brown color of the wood. And since yellow is always a good color to fish, yellow is what they wanted. Either that or it was just a plug that was performing well. But most likely my comrade is a better fisherman than me. It could be a coin flip to any of those possibilities.
So as a small tribute to that morning, I made some bare poppers. No gimmick needed. I didn't run out of time to paint them. I wasn't being lazy. I had the results of quite a few fish caught on the bare poppers and I thought it would be something interesting to do. Sometimes it takes a lot of learning to tell you to do nothing.
|Just one of many striped bass that likes their plugs unpainted|