ScientificFly’s Arno Laubscher invested five years, and a vast amount of thought and effort, into making his new Gnarly Headz popper heads. Here, he delves into the process and the problems he believes he’s solved.

The idea

I like fishing poppers. It’s the most exciting way to fish. You can try to make your own popper heads, but either it takes too long, you can’t get the right material, or you won’t have the right manufacturing processes. If you buy your heads, quite often you can’t find the right hook to fit the popper. This made me think. My research showed that a lot of people were complaining about poppers and, specifically, the hook-up ratio. They’d say they only get like a 40% hook-up ratio. With that in mind, I set about developing a popper that would expose the hook more. 

The problem

Some fish eat a popper from below or from the side. Others eat from behind depending on things like how fast you retrieve and what fish species it is. Most people don’t understand what hook exposure is about when they buy commercially manufactured popper heads and hooks. The packet may say “use a 2/0 hook for the popper head”, but is it the long shank 2/0 or the short shank 2/0? What must the gape measurement be to fit that popper? 

The solutions

The two most important measurements for the size of the popper on the hook are the hook shank length and the gape width. My entire design is based on that. I started with a 6/0 and created these shapes. If I put the shank length and gape of any hook into my spreadsheet, it will give me 26 measurements. With those measurements, you build the shape for a specific object. The shape of the popper can be any shape, as long as it’s within this area. 

Read the rest of Arno’s insights into the Gnarly Headz popper in The Mission Issue 43’s Fluff, below. It’s free!

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