In this paper, we demonstrate the development of plasmonically active PMMA optical fiber probes by the attachment of gold nanoparticles to the probe surface functionalized by means of flowing post-discharges from dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) plasmas for the first time. Polymer optical fiber (POF) probes (U shape to improve absorbance sensitivity) were subjected to reactive gas atmospheres in the post-discharge region of a coaxial DBD plasma reactor run at atmospheric pressure in different gases (Ar, Ar + 10 % O2, O2, N2, N2 + 0.5 % H2). Plasma treatments in Ar or N2 gave rise to water-stable electrophilic functional groups on PMMA surface, whereas the amine groups generated by N2-containing plasmas were not stable. Subsequently, PMMA surfaces were treated with hexamethylene diamine (HMDA) to obtain stable amine groups through the reaction of electrophilic groups. Gold nanoflowers (AuNF, 37 nm, peak 570 nm) binding to the amine functionalized fiber probes was monitored in real-time by recording the optical absorbance changes at 570 nm with the help of a UV–vis spectrometer. Absorbance response from Ar or N2 plasma treated probes are 100 and 60 times, respectively, that of untreated control probes. A 25 fold improvement in absorbance response was obtained for Ar plasma treated POF in comparison with only HMDA treated POF. The shelf life of the hence fabricated plasmonically active probes was found to be at least 3 months. In addition, plasmonic activity of U-bent fiber probes treated in Ar plasma is better than the conventional wet-chemical activation by environmentally hazardous acid pre-treatment approaches. © 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.