Figured while we're talking about fishing with popping bugs, I might as well address a common problem with using these flies - that is lifting the popper cleanly from the water when picking up to make another cast. Screw this up and at the very least you've set yourself up for a crappy backcast. Even worse, you have probably spooked every fish within that immediate zip code.
Most popping bugs have cupped faces (for obvious reasons), and if you get in a hurry to pick one of these flies up, that cupped face "grabs" the water. This immediately pulls the line taut and puts a sudden bend in the rod, which then rebounds as the popper releases from the water. Kind of like a sling shot. This is a pretty good formula for completely jacking up your back cast. The other part of this is that the popper creates a lot of commotion in the water with this "grab and release". A whole lot. You folks out there who fish popping bugs are nodding your heads right now. You know exactly what I'm talking about.
The solution is simple - lift the rod as vertically as possible to pick up the line and lift slooooowly. The idea is to lift as much of the line and leader off of the water's surface before you start to accelerate into the backcast. By lifting vertically and slowly, you lift the face of the popper slightly and make it much less likely that the cup will grab the water. You get a nice clean lift off of the water and can then accelerate smoothly into the backcast.
And One to Rule them All
3 days ago