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Hopper Popper

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The Hopper-Popper is believed to first been found in Rainy catalog of flies. Because of its buoyancy, it has become a standard when fly fishing western water. It's popularity comes from the ability to float heavy droppers in both still and moving waters.

Printable Version


Hook:TMC 5263 size 8 or 10
Thread:8/0 Uni-Thread
Tan and Danville 210 denier tan
Popper Head:Wapsi "Perfect Popper" Bream #10 or Hard Foam T.C.S. #10
Under Body:3mm Tan Fun Foam 3/8" in width - size 8
3mm Tan Fun Foam 1/4" in width - #8
Over Body2mm Brown Fun Foam 3/8" in with - both sizes
Wings:Elk Hair
Under Wing:Krystal Flash
Over Wing:MacFly Yarn White or color of choice
Legs:Round Medium Rubber Legs - Tan
Collar:UV Tan dubbing
Glue:Super glue

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Tying Instructions

  1. 1. Prepare the popper head by cutting off the rear 1/3 of the body. Super glue the body to the hook. Paint the hopper with a tan belly and a brown back (or colors of your choice). Add painted eyes, if desired.
  2. 2. Place a straight needle or an extended body tool in the vise. Attach the 200 denier thread at the end of the needle with several wraps of thread. Spear a 4" length of the tan fun foam and fold it along the shank of the needle. Make two wraps of thread at the end of the body. Place a 2" strip of the 2mm brown fun foam on top of the body and make two wraps over the thread at the end of the body. Advance the thread and form at least four body segments. At the last segment, whip-finish, cut the thread and place a small amount of super glue to secure the whip-finish. Remove the body from the needle and pull the tag end of the thread tight. Set the body aside.
  3. 3. Mount the hook with the popper head in the vise. Place the body over the hook to determine the correct length. The body should extend one or two body segments beyond the bend of the hook. Cut the body the appropriate length. The body should have an angular cut so that the belly of the body is slightly longer than the back. When glued to the shank this will allow the body to be attached at a slight angle with the body slightly above the shank. Place a layer of thread over the shank behind the popper head where the body will be attached. Place super glue on the thread base and behind the popper head. Mount the body and snug it tightly against the popper head. Make several loose wraps of thread to help keep the body in place. Let dry!
  4. 4. While the body is drying, prepare the legs for the hopper-popper. Remove three strands of rubber (keep them attached) and tie an overhand knot in each of two 3" strips- tie a right-hand overhand knot in one leg and a left-handed overhand knot in the other leg.
  5. 5. Once the body and head have dried, attach several strands of krystal flash behind the popper head and clip to the length of the body. Prepare a small bunch of elk hair by evening the ends and mount it behind the popper head. The elk hair should be the same length as the body. Mount a piece of MacFly Yarn over the elk hair to help see the fly in the water. Whip-finish the thread and apply a drop of super glue to hold the elk hair and yarn in place. Clip the thread.
  6. 6. Tie on the 8/0 tan thread behind the popper head. Mount the legs of the hopper on each side of the body. The overhand knot in each leg should come to the bend in the hook. Once the legs are tied in, separate the three strands in front of the fly. Pull the center strand (on both sides) back towards the rear of the fly. Secure the strands in this position with turns of thread. Clip the bottom strand leaving one strand to form an antenna. Whip-finish. Dub the area behind the popper head to the base of the wings with the dubbing material. Whip-finish with several wraps that have been passed through head cement. Clip the thread.
  7. 7. Cut the antenna to length. The rear legs should have one strand removed below the overhand knot on each side. Cut the rear legs to length. (A small drop of super glue on each overhand knot on the legs will keep them from coming undone.)

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