Waters & words : a celebration of flyfishing

Posts tagged “hopper

Hopper time

Hopper

Late summer and autumn, with tall grass stems about the river banks, always signals strongly to me that there could be hoppers on the water. Add a gusty wind, and I consider it a sure thing….in theory at least. Perhaps a “likely thing” would be more accurate, but either way, using a hopper as a prospecting pattern suddenly seems like a good idea. Not being one for standard patterns, I always try something new at the vice.

Here’s what I came up with this time:

That one is a #16. You can see the fluorescent colour of the yarn spotter as well as the thread shining a tad garishly. That is just because I included a UV torch in my lighting when I took these pictures.

Here is the #14 one, with no spotter….a bit easier on the eye, you might say:

For those interested, the materials on these things are:

Body: Kapok dubbing done in a dubbing loop (don’t try conventional dubbing technique with this stuff, it just reduces to a thin needle)

Under-wing: 2 different colours red CDC (the one is also fluorescent, so you can see that shining through too)

Bullet head, and wing: Deer hair

Legs: Sili legs (fine, barred)

I used the fluorescent yellow thread simply because anyone who has tied a yellow bodied fly with dark silk will know that when it is wet, it shows through like inappropriate underwear. By putting a bright colour under the “dirty yellow” Kapok dubbing, I hope it does something more appealing.

I look forward to trying these on the water.


Photo of the moment (112)

I gave this young fellow a lift the other day as I drove up the river valley.

Hopper (1 of 1)


Image

Photo of the moment (53)

Hopper (1 of 1)-3


The Duckfly Hog Hopper

hog hopper (1 of 1)-2

I discovered this pattern just recently in an excellent video by Davie McPhail.

You tube video by Davie McPhail

I liked it instantly.  It ticks a lot of boxes for me. It is light and springy. It could be one of several things: A cranefly, a small hopper, a half hatched cripple, a hatching midge, and just about anything else your imagination can muster. Exactly what you want in a searching pattern.

The  one in the video is on a #12. That is rather big for me, unless it is the hopper you have chosen from the list above, so I tied my first ones on a #16. To start with I made a beginner’s mistake by trying to put on similar quantities of material to that evident in the video. The result was an overdressed fly:

Hog Hopper (2 of 2)

Notice how it looks bulky, and lacks that sparse, buggy, springy feel that one should be after? 

The smaller one is better off with a single CDC feather , and just a sprinkling of deer hair fibres. I think I could even trim the dressing more than I have done in the picture at the top of this page.  Take a look at McPhail’s one again:

Duckfly Hog Hopper

The colour combinations that you could try are endless. I put a spotter post of yarn on one, and left the wing off another.

hog hopper (5 of 8)hog hopper (7 of 8)

hog hopper (1 of 1)-3

I contemplated converting it to a parachute pattern. But just as you can’t have bacon on everything, I realised I was bastardising the pattern beyond what was reasonable, and I reverted to something closer to the original.

This one is tied on a klinkhamer style hook, and with longer more gangly legs, so that it is somewhat more of a cranefly:

hog hopper (4 of 8)

If you have a look at “Sedgehog” patterns, and the “Duckfly” (an Irish midge pattern), you will see where this pattern came from. To Davie McPhail:  hats off to you! I think you have a winner here.

I read somewhere that creativity is the art of putting existing ideas together, that no one has ever thought to put together before.  This pattern is a truly creative one. I look forward to putting it over some fish.


Close encounters with Trout

Several years ago I was lucky enough to join a Kombi load of fly-fishermen, and travel down to the unlikely destination of Somerset East in the Cape to get some trout.

On that trip, Maurice Broughton and I were assigned a beat on the tiny Naude’s river, and with our guide, we had an enjoyable morning hunting trout in the better pools.

At lunchtime we found a lovely willow tree growing in a patch of lush grass beside a pool in the stream.

We settled down to some sandwiches, and if memory serves, a chilled bottle of wine!

While we were sitting there, enjoying the tranquil setting, a small trout began rising at the head of the pool. He rose a few times, right up in the funnel. Right up where the water cascaded over some stone into the pool.

He only rose a few times and then stopped. Maurice and I began to postulate as to what he might be taking. We decided it was a terrestrial of some sort, because nothing was hatching, but a light breeze buffeted the veld grass beside the water.

It was then that we decided to have some fun.

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