As another River season draws to a close I look back and reflect on things that have stood out, including the flies that proved their worth.
Once again the little hopper pattern amongst a handful of others, has been a standout fly especially during the sweltering dog-days of summer.
I have also recently had a number enquiries about my hopper that prompted me to write further about the new variant. It also formed an integral part of a recent lopsided deal that ended with me being the proud owner of a beautiful, handcrafted net from Andrew Savides. I think the ‘deal’ was more tounge-in-cheek than anything else. In truth it was rather a case of the generosity of Andrew, a reflection of the hallmark of the man. But, to hold up my end of the deal, I will show him how to tie the latest version of my hopper.
I wrote a piece for Tom Sutcliffe’s Newsletter, The Spirit of Flyfishing, a few years ago. For want of a name he referred to it as Pete’s Hopper. It’s kind of stuck.
Since then I have made a few changes to improve it’s fish attracting qualities. These little terrestrials are widespread and consistently active during the summer months in the vicinity of the rivers and streams. Many end up in the water and struggling to reach the safety of terra firma again. It’s no surprise then that hoppers are familiar and recognisable insects to the fish, something they have seen, eaten often and enjoyed.
The new Variation
What is of course important is to have a fly that has features that represents the natural insect’s distinguishable profile, legs, wings and colours. Movement is another trigger and the inclusion of materials that will achieve this helps.
Materials and procedure.
Hook – my preferred hook is the TMC 103BL in #13 and #15’s. Alternatively Grip 11011BL in # 14 and #16s.
Abdomen – yellow foam cylinders heated and shaped into a blunt taper.
Head and wing – deer hair. It takes a little practice to achieve the right length of the wing after forming the head. The deer hair is added facing over the eye after securing the abdomen. Make sure when the hair is secured that a space of approximately 2mm of the shank is left clear behind the eye.
Underwing – orange Antron. I also add a CdC feather on some after the underwing. It helps more with movement than to aid floating.
Head and wing – At this point the deer hair needs to be folded back forming the head and main wing over the back of the fly.
Legs – grizzly rubber legs are the final addition before securing and whip-finishing.
All images and copy in this post are copyright Peter Brigg © 2019. All rights reserved