Fly Tying Tutorial: The Sugar Pop

Fly Tying Tutorial: The Sugar Pop

If you’ve ever seen old photos of me on the internet, it’s easy to be distracted by the bad hair and chubby cheeks affixed to the shit-eating grin of an excited young fisher-girl.
But if you look closely at the photos, you’ll see something that’s not laughable.
Big fish caught in various water conditions — each with a pink and blue fly in its mouth.  The Sugar Pop.  I started tying the Sugar Pop when I was twenty years old and it has remained my go-to fly all these years later.


  • Tube of choice (or clipped 2/0 hook shank with RIO Knottable wire)
  • Thread: UTC thread in color of choice
  • Rear Dubbing: Pink arctic fox or polar bear
  • Flash: Ice dub
  • Wing: Blue rhea
  • Butt:  Blue ostrich
  • Body Wrap: Blue Flat Braid
  • Front Dubbing: Blue and pink arctic fox
  • Front Wing: Blue rhea
  • Front Collar: Pink Gadwall
  • Cheeks: Jungle cock

The Build:

  1. Apply a layer of thread near the bottom of the tube.

2.  Make a dubbing loop, then dub in the fur of pink arctic fox tail.  

3.  Use a bodkin to pick out any trapped or matted fibers. This will ensure that the dubbing will splay out any sheltering materials.

4.  Lay a half pinch of flash dub over the fox and tie in so that it covers the dubbing.

5.  Clip the individual fibers of a blue rhea feather in clumps of 3-6 and stack these fibers until they cover the entire diameter of the hook (about three wraps of thread per side, totaling twelve bulky wraps).  

6.  Once tied in, hold the fibers tightly and then unwrap all the thread until you are down to the bare tube.  

7.  Then wrap three times to secure all the fibers.  Don’t trim the ends.

8.  Attach a strand of blue flat-braid and cover any existing rhea stems.  The ostrich butt is optional.  

9.  Wrap the braid forward.

10.  Repeat dubbing and rhea steps, adding an extra dubbing ball of blue arctic fox.  Be sure to trim the stems with nail clippers or sharp scissors to avoid any bulk in the head of your fly.

11.  Complete with a pink teal feather by peeling its left side and tying in the tip (peel the right side if you’re a left-hand tier). 

12.  Hackle it over the rhea.

13.  Tie a junglecock feather onto each side as a cheek (fold each stem back over itself and secure with several wraps of thread if you’re adamant about locking these feathers into place).

14.  Whip finish. Tear the tips of the feathers until the fly is at desired length.  

15.  Slightly melt the end of tube and coat with head cement.

16.  Slide down the leader with hook, then go fishing!

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