I did see that Fly tyer article. The new issue has a real good one on painting poppers. Making them is not hard, dressing either, Painting has been the problem. They recomended and I went to water based craft paints. Whole selection avalable with sealer for under, color coats , sparkle coat and high gloss varnish. All quick dry and water clean up.
Boats, for panfish poppers ... I usually just cut little cubes from 1/4 or 3/8" square balsa strips. Shapes easily with sandpaper. Then tie it directly on top of the shank using thread.
Build-up a thread-base on shank prior. Just 5 or 6 wraps and not too tight. Then a thin coat of 5 minute Devcon. Then paint. Then another thin coat of epoxy. Tail feathers and
legs to your liking behind balsa body. Make sure ya got enough hook gap between point and body. I use water-base acrylic paints. Cheap and easy to clean-up the brush.
I don't tie these much anymore since sheet-foam is so much easier to play with.
Better get them finished. I hit a small local pond yesterday evening and caught a number of 8 inch plus blugills. They all hit the nymph I had trailing my popper, but the first few were bumping the popper as well. I'm guessing if I had gotten there earlier they would have been more interested in topwater offerings.
Tomrrow for sure. Early season they like the warm spots mid day. Foam is better by most counts. I just like the retro approach. Pax thanks may give it a try. However for this season I am poppered out. Unless the Stripers at Weldon NC eat my latest production up.