Vokey's Sugar Pop Steelhead Fly
Sugar Pops in every picture above. The Sugar Pop is a large pink and blue intruder type fly that was born in the vice of fly fishing celebrity and professional fishing guide April Vokey. A native of British Columbia, she has guided the world famous Dean River for steelhead and Chinooks, and April has done a world tour as a guest tying instructor for a number of distinguished angling clubs and shops. One of her most popular flies is the Sugar Pop. The Sugar Pop, like April herself is unique and classy.
Mark says, "After fishing a Sugar Pop for most of the day last Tuesday, I found it to be engineered different than other Intruders. This secret was revealed on the first steelhead run that I fished with a Sugar Pop. The fly was attached to a four foot leader, on the end of eleven feet of T-11, attached to a 510 F.I.S.T. line, which was propelled by my my Sage 7130-4 X rod. After fifty yards of aggressive bouldery water was covered in a quarter hour, I was in front of the boat. Then the line was reeled in to have a cup of coffee and the fly floated to the surface, The wheels of pink fox fur in the central construction of the fly had not become entirely saturated with water even after fifteen minutes of nearly constant submersion. The fur was still dry inside with trapped air. No heavy lead eyes on these flies. They are neutral to buoyant when submerged in the water.
When I discovered this I was nearly disappointed, then remembered that the fly had been engineered by a professional steelhead guide who had spent many years perfecting her craft. April is the equal of anyone regarding steelhead fishing skills. I spent a day helping her teach a Skagit casting class, and a day of fishing with her. She is as tough as they come. On the day we worked together, it was 22-degrees and the wind was blowing 20 mph. One pupil's line became encased in a half inch of ice. April was the last person to leave the beach.
The rod was laid in the boat with the fly trailing in the water. I studied its movements while sipping the hot liquid from a thermos cup. Sugar Pops are about 4.5 to 5-inches long when submerged, yet they are mostly hollow and move in the currents with astonishing liveliness. The twin wheels of fox fur create a hydrodynamic shape of a squid. Many squids are pinkish with blue blood vessels in the surface layers of skin. April says the colors were chosen one day when she was in a girly mood.
After downing the cup, I pulled the fly from the water and saturated the fox fur with saliva. The fly now sank at exactly the same rate as the line tip.
The water downstream from the boat was perfect for this fly and line combination. It was deep on the other side where the main current was, and it got shallower and slower toward our side. Often the challenge was getting the fly deep but not getting it hung up as it came across the river. It was in this wide section of river that another facet of this fly's personality came to light. the two wheels of fox fur grip the surface of the water in a very predictable manner and allow for an anchor with most of the line free above the water. You can really bomb some long casts with this fly.
April Suggests to customers that they may want to break down the rear strands of rhea to shorten the fly and change the fly profile, and also to avoid short strikes. In corresponding with her, she feels that these flies were tied a little longer than her specifications and that breaking the rhea was preferable to cutting it.
Our feeling was that they looked plenty good as they came out of the box. We liked the way they fished, and had no problem with short strikes. These flies have a very large profile, and steelhead are prone to take such flies in the middle and become hooked on the outside of the mouth. For this reason we caution not to extend the hook on a loop back to the tips of the rhea, because doing so can result in a fish being hooked in the eye.
Blue and pink has been a more or less secret color combination for winter steelhead on local rivers for several years, and has been especially potent during the winter of 2017.
April's Sugar Pop Steelhead Flies in a boxes set of 3
Below, April's Sugar Pop swims in the nude: