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Hillfisher Hopper

Hillfisher

By Johnny (aka Hillfisher), Texas


Yep, another hopper pattern to add to the ole fly box. During the summer, hoppers are very productive flys here. We have everything from small half-inch grasshoppers all the way up to the "Jumbo" four inch grasshoppers. Whenever I go walking along the creek during those hot lazy summer days, grasshoppers are always jumping out and away from my approach. Eventually one will land onto the water and begin to "swim" hopefully back to the bank. Grasshoppers are excellent swimmers and their back legs can propel them quite efficiently across the water surface. It's this action that attracts the denizens below. It's always exciting for me to watch in anticipation for that swirl or sometimes explosive shower of water and in the blink of an eye the hopper is gone. May through October, hopper patterns are very effective on the rivers and creeks here in Central Texas. In fact of all the other patterns I carry in my travel pack, hoppers by far, out number them all. There is a golden rule of which I live by when it comes to how many flys of any given pattern one should at a minimum, carry when spending a day on the river. It goes like this, "One to use, one to lose and one to share." The last part being very important. I have come upon a few fellow fly fishers while on the rivers and one of the things that seems to always happen is an instant fly swap. They would be using one thing that was doing well and I would be using another. The conversation then usually drifts to "Hey, what to trade flys?" So we trade flys and then go our own separate ways a little richer in knowledge and in possession of another proven pattern.

One pattern that always seems to get peoples attention is the hopper pattern I created using pom poms from a local hobby store near my house. I carry three hopper patterns in my arsenal, Peter Frailey's EZ-Hopper, The DH1 and of course the Hillfisher Hopper. I have received e-mails and posted questions about some of my flys and even though we may never share some water, in keeping with my golden rule, I wish to share the Hillfisher Hopper and in the next few weeks I'll also share all the other flys I have created with non-traditional materials.

Hillfisher Hopper

A simple but effective hopper pattern. This is tied for bream and uses a size 10 hook. Substitute larger Pom Poms and hooks for bass.

    Hook:   Mustad 3906B, Size 10 (For bass use 6 or 4).

    Thread:   Bed, Black 6/0 Collar, yellow flat floss.

    Body:   4 Yellow Pom Poms size 5mm.

    Legs:   Yellow round latex rubber.

    Wing:   Turkey feather.

Tying Instructions:

    1. Lay a bed of thread with the black 6/0 thread, whip finish and remove loose thread.

    2. Remove hook from Vise and place the eye in the vice.

    3. Start the first pom pom onto the hook. Just before the eye, place a small drop of zap-a-gap and push the pom pom up to the eye. The zap-a-gap anchors the pom pom to the thread bed.
    NOTE:
    1. It is very important that each pom pom be centered on the hook. If not, the fly not to float correctly.
    2. Removing the barb greatly allows for the removal of the pom pom with out destroying it in case it is not centered correctly on the hook.

    4. Tie in legs behind first pom pom. Get legs as close as possible.

    5. Place another small drop of zap-a-gap behind the first pom pom. Push the second pom pom onto hook and snug up behind the first pom pom.

    6. Tie in the next set of legs, add a small drop of zap-a-gap just behind the legs and push up the third pom pom snugly in behind the legs.

    7. Add a small drop of zap-a-gap just behind the third pom pom and push on the fourth pom pom.

    8. Now switch the hook back to the normal tying position in the vise.

    9. Cut turkey feather to form wing for hopper. And use the yellow thread/flat floss to tie in wing. Ensure thread/floss is behind front legs and whip finish. Cut legs to desired length.

I realize the fly can be dressed up but the bream and occasional bass will destroy the wing after a few fish. The pom poms survive well enough to just add a new wing before another days use. Remember the fish only see the bottom of the fly, not the top.

Until next time, Good Fishing! ~ Johnny (Hillfisher)

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