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Diving Hopper 1
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The DH1 (Diving Hopper 1)
By Johnny Irvin

I have spent a lot of time observing the panfish and bass in the waters of Central Texas. Using top water, nymphs and streamers I have noticed different patterns the fish themselves follow. Now I do have to admit, my favorite action is top water, however I have caught many a good panfish using nymphs as well as bass on streamers.

During this last summer while fishing on the Llano, I was using hoppers, specifically the EZ-hoppers created by Peter Frailey. These hoppers were catching a lot of fish and I would go through at least five or six a day as the bream and bass would chew on them pretty good. It was during this time I was noticing that while the hopper was on the surface moving down with the current, the bream would hit it repeatedly until the hook was set or it escaped the bream to reach the end of the drift. As I was stripping it back, it was totally ignored by all fish until the currents caught the hopper in a particular fashion and it was pulled under. It was at this moment in almost each cast that the bass would take it. Most of the time it was Spotted Bass that took the hopper.

Now this got the wheels turning in my head. I departed from my tried and true drift and strip technique and began to experiment. I would cast downstream and when stripping the hopper back in I would try to get it to submerge. Just about each time I could get it submerged, the bass would do a hit and run, it was great! The rest of the day I used some sink putty from Orvis to keep the hopper down, but it limited me to using a surface fly as a sinking terrestrial. The bream pretty much would not touch it.

When I got home that night I started looking through all the books and web sites for something that could meet all techniques as well as attract both bream and bass. After a long intensive search I could not find anything that would suit my goal. So I looked at several hopper patterns along with "diver" patterns, considered the various materials available and after several trials and errors the Diving Hopper One (DH1) was born. Why the "One," it's the first fly I have created and believe to be unique. Besides, it sounds good.

The fly reacts well in moving water. The tail acts as an attractant, the chenille body provides a tougher body material that can take the repeated strikes of bass, the legs to simulate that of a terrestrial, the collar provides buoyancy and a surface plane to dive the hopper. By varying the size and angle of the collar, the hopper will react in different ways from slipping quietly below the surface up to becoming a noisy popper. Be aware that if the collar is not perpendicular to the hook, it will cause the fly to spin underwater and your tippet will only last a couple of casts before it becomes a tangled mess.

[Publishers Note: I can think of several TROUT streams where I'd love to float this through just ahead of that log jam, just so it catches in the swirl and back-eddy!]

Materials: DH1 (Diving Hopper 1)

    Hook:  TMC 5212 Sizes 4 through 16.

    Thread  Black or olive 6/0 or 8/0.

    Tails:   Marabou.

    Body:   Chenille.

    Collar:   Closed cell foam.

    Legs:   Rubber, round.

Tying Steps:

1. Lay a bed of thread.

2. Tie in Marabou tail.

3. Tie in Chenille starting about 1/3 of shank length from eye.

4. Wrap thread back to marabou tail. Wrap chenille back to marabou tail. Tie in last wrap to anchor chenille. Wrap chenille back up to starting point and hold in place using hackle pliers.

5. Tie in chenille and leave thread just in front of chenille.

6. Cut a piece of closed cell foam forming a triangle with one point coming out as a tab. Size of triangle depends on size of fly. Typically the top of the triangle is the shank length. Also be sure to clip the top corners to give a better appearance.

7. Tie in foam making sure to keep it backed tightly up against the chenille. The chenille gives support to the foam. Tightly wrap the thread around the foam starting at the triangle base and up to just behind the eye. An option is to glue the tab portion to the thread bed prior to wrapping the thread.

8. Tie another piece of chenille in just behind the eye and wrap thread back to base of triangle. Now rap chenille back to base of triangle and tie in with thread.

9. Tie in legs at the base of the triangle and whip finish.

10. Finished, view from the front.

11. Proceed to the nearest body of moving water and catch fish!

Fishing Tip:

Now I can fish the drift and strip technique, surface and subsurface all on the same fly. This fly has proven itself to be a deadly on the rivers, Llano, San Gabriel, Colorado and several local creeks including Brushy. Both panfish and bass love this fly. Yellow works best here but any combination can be applied for the various fisheries throughout the world. ~ Johnny Irvin (Hillfisher)

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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