Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tying Scott's Hopper

Scott's Hopper
In preparing for my guiding adventures in Montana I am working hard at the fly bench. While tying up my favorite patterns I decided to share some of them with our fly fishing friends.

The first of which is a hopper that I created specifically for Montana. It's a hardy fly and can be tied with many variations of size and color. The technique used is certainly not my design in fact the techniques are used for many hopper and terrestrial patterns. It's the different use of materials that make this fly somewhat unique.
This hopper is easy to tie assuming you know the "x threading" method of forming a body. It has a simple parts list using readily available materials.

Materials Used
Pictured above are the materials used for this fly.  The tan and yellow foam can be purchased from your local hobby store in large sheets for about $.90. You can buy CDC feathers from your local fly shop (Top quality CDC is not necessary). I would suggest buying good deer hair as it will make it easier to tie down and trim.

Step 1.  Add body foam strip to hook as shown

 Cut a strip of foam for the body about 3 - 4 inches long and a little wider than 1/8".  Then in the center (length wise and width wise) insert the hook as shown above. Add a base of  6.0 thread.

Step 2. create the first segment

You will create the first of 5 equal size sections of the segemented hopper body by lining up the foam strip along the top and botton of the hook and bind down with 3 or 4 thread wraps. Then add glue to the exposed threads along the hook shank. This will help prevent the finished fly from twisting.

Step 3. Finish the segmented body
The body should have 5 distinct segments. This is accomplished by after tying a segment, you pull the foam strips back and advance the thread on the hook shank then pull the foam back over the hook shank and bind it down with 3 or 4 wraps. Try to keep all segments the same size. Trim off the excess behind the hook eye and bind down with thread wraps.

Step 4. Add CDC Under Wing
After you have bound down the foam behind the hook eye, draw the thread behind the first body segment as shown and make two wraps. Then add two CDC feathers extending about 1/4" beyond the body. Place them one on top of the other and secure with 3 thread wraps and trim butt ends.

Step 5 and 6.  Add the Deer Hair Overwing and Legs

If you have good quality deer hair there is no need to stack. Just cut off a section of hair, comb out under fur and position it on top of the hook with the tips extending just past the CDC. Bind down using the pinch. Make sure you keep all deer hair on top of the hook. I like to add cement to the butts of the deer hair on top of the hook shank. This will hold the hair in place and make the fly more durable.
 Add the rubber legs on both sides. Note: on this fly I used two strands of rubber legs and knotted them, then cut one of the strands below the knot to give a tapered appearance.

Step 7. Add the Yellow Foam to be used for the Bullet Head

Just behind the hook eye tie down the foam to be used for the head and indicator. Trim excess and cover with thread wraps. 

Step 8. Cover thread wraps with dubbing
Add dubbing to thread and try to keep it as tight as you can. Cover the thread wraps behind the hook eye. After covering the thread wraps, move the bare thread to just behind the first segment in preparation to add the front legs.

Step 9. Add the Front Legs

Front legs can be the same or a different color than the back legs.  Get creative here.

Step 10. Form the Foam Bullet Head
Pull and stretch the foam up over the first segment and bind down with two or three wraps. Cut leaving about 1/4" beyond the first segment and trim to shape as shown.  Then add a whip finish and glue.

Finally The Finished Fly

You can use a sharpie to color the legs

Experiment with different colors of foam bodies, legs, bullet heads and indicators. The one we tied today with the yellow bullet head is an ideal fly for  poor light or rough water conditions in that it is much more visable to the fly fisher.  

Some Variations

Check back next week for another of quick "guide fly" pattern that I use to fool our trout. Good fishing to all of you and get out and get a couple with this fly.

Scott McClintock