These flies are meant to be slowly pulled across the surface, perhaps diving ever so slightly. The protracted bubble trail and the subtle action might trigger a recalcitrant fsih.
That easy tantalizing action is sometimes too much for Big Daddy Small-jaws to resist. The Sneaky Pete pattern has rubber legs and a feathered tail. The Drakes’s Slider, a hair pattern, is extremely versatile.
These flies can dive sharply and wobble at the same time. The most famous are the deer hair Dahlberg Divers created by Larry Dahlberg of Grantsburg, WI.
Some feel they are the best all around choice because the pop and dive. They act as a surface popper when twitched and, with steady retrieve, will dive and swim. Use these when the fish simply won’t take the bouyant surface poppers and require a different presentation.
Some have fur strips and others employ feathers for tails. Generally use a long pull to start these, let the fly rise a bit, shuck it again, and shake it as it rises to the surface with short strips.
Skitter pop type poppers such as a pencil popper definitely have their moments. This group is a saltwater standard, but not commonly seen bouncing off rocks along the river shoreline. The slender body offers a different profile, more minnow-like in appearance.
They can be worked to simulate a struggling minnow on the surface. These kinds of flies need a more erratic retrieve than sometimes used with a traditional popper.