I would hazard a guess that there are few tiers who have not heard the name Jay "Fishy" Fullum. Author of "Fishy’s Flies" and a columnist for both American Angler and Fly Tyer magazines, Jay has a well-deserved reputation for innovative, fun patterns for warm, cold and saltwater gamefish. My experience with Jay dates back a few years to the IWFF forum. It was there that I introduced myself to him while he took a break from tying an enormous foam-bodied ant. I quickly got the sense that Jay was as charismatic as his patterns. "What kind of trout do you think that’ll catch?" I asked with a smile. Jay burst into the story of how he came up with the pattern, and assured me that it has found it’s way to the mouths of many trout. Sensing he could take a joke, I suggested that the trout on that side of the border might think its real, but our trout "up here" are smart. With a knowing smile, he replied "just try it." He reached out his hand, and dropped an ant in mine.
This was, as it turns out, indicative of Jay’s generosity. I bought the sample box of flies from him (pictured below, never fished of course) as well as some of his "mini-hoppers." While I didn’t have great luck with his ant (trout IQ not a factor i’m sure), his hoppers were a different story. I tried this fly for the first time on the upper Credit one sunny, breezy August afternoon. The FIRST cast, a trout hit the hopper so fast after it landed, that I nearly forgot my next move! For a solid hour, I fished that very same fly. A trout "slammed" that hopper on almost every other drift. Note: I didn’t use the word "rise," I used the word SLAM! These trout were happy to see this tasty morsel, I was happy to see the trout! That very fly, like the blue dun dry that hooked my first trout, has been retired to a special corner of my box. I sent an email to jay before Christmas asking where to get the materials for this fly, and gave him my contact information. To my amazement, Jay called me at work the next day, and offered to provide me with the materials to try the pattern. The package arrived just before Christmas break. Santa could fly past my house for all I care, I’M SET!!!
I’d like to thank Jay for helping me get to this point with his great pattern. Jay’s AWESOME book "Fishy’s Flies" is available through www.anglersart.com. I’d also like to thank Stackpole Books for permission to tie Jay’s pattern on HipWader.com.
Closed cell foam, yellow (from a kickboard/flutterboard) I bought mine at "Splashables Inc." Pool supply in Etobicoke (416) 620-4954
Permanent Markers-Prismacolor 167 Apple Green, 28 Olive Green (art supply stores like Loomis & Toles)
5 minute epoxy-any hardware store
Nail polish-NYC #110 green (got mine at Zellers)
Black Paint-I used Vinyl Jig&Lure paint, available at fly/tackle shops
Rubber Sili legs-English Angling Trappings (CT, USA) (203) 746-4121 ask for Jimmy Krul, tell him what you’re tying.
Tying Fishy’s Hopper Fly Pattern
Hook:Tiemco 100, size #12 (or any standard dry fly hook)
Thread:Yellow 3/0 (chartreuse 3/0 optional)
Body:Yellow, closed-cell foam, colored with permanent markers
Belly:5 minute epoxy, painted light green
Legs:Chartreuse/black sili legs (small)
Using a VERY sharp utility knife and a ruler, cut 3/16"x3/16"x3/4" long pcs. of the foam.
Using sharp scissors, trim the bottom and sides of the "rear" of the body to a gentle taper.
Side view of hopper body, ready to tie.
Tie in yellow thread, and wind back to the bend.
Make three gentle wraps, tight enough to hold but not cut the foam. Lift the head-end of the foam and wrap the thread forward. (about 4 close wraps)
Make three gentle wraps again, wrap forward in the same manner
Make three wraps, and wind forward about HALF way to the eye. Angle thread up 45 degrees as shown and bind down the foam close to the eye where it meets the hook. If it slips, lift the head, and wind back a bit. Start this operation from a little further back.
Make a few tight wraps, tie off. (I add a drop of head cement for security)
Using the broad end of the marker, and color the back olive.
Using the apple green, color the sides and bottom where possible.
On a scrap pc. of cardboard, mix a bit of the 5 minute epoxy. Using a toothpick or bodkin, cover the thread wraps on the belly of the fly with the epoxy.
Before it has set (about 10 minutes later) paint the epoxy with the light green nail polish.
When that has dried (I leave it overnight) thread a half of a silo leg through a large needle.
Behind the first thread wrap, push the needle through the body and cut from the needle when centered. (you can adjust a bit if necessary)
Using the 3/0 chartreuse thread (or same yellow 3/0) tie in at the middle as shown, not too tight. Gently pull the legs back and wrap the thread over them to hold them back. Tie off. A gentle touch is required. If you make the wraps too tight, the legs will flare out perpendicular the fly. Be gentle, epoxy is coming.
Mix a small amount of the 5 minute epoxy and lightly coat the tie-off point for the legs, top and sides of the hopper. (from the legs forward)
Using a blunt-ended toothpick (long drill bit, about 5/64" is what I use) create the eye by dipping it into the paint, and simply pressing it onto the fly where shown. Like the nail polish step, I do this before the glue sets-up to make it adhere that much better.
Have some fun, try this fly. If you want some more awesome flies in your vest this spring/summer, do what I did; contact www.anglersart.com and pick up Jay’s new book. Rob O’Reilly.