Ken Hanley's Furled Hopper
This month’s fly is another of Ken Hanley’s creative flies. In the March, 2005 Fly Tyer’s Corner article, we featured Ken’s Furled Damsel—a truly deadly damsel pattern (I have the pictures to prove it). The instructions for “furling” Antron yarn are set out in that article, which is available on the Granite Bay Flycasters web site at www.gbflycasters.org, where past Fly Tyer’s Corner articles are archived. Please refer to that article for the furling instructions. (click here)
In speaking with Ken about the design characteristics of the Furled Hopper, he pointed out that the fly’s appeal is in its overall profile; the seductive leg movement achieved by the flat silicone legs; the fact that it lies down in the surface film like a real hopper (so it’s important not to grease the back); and the hopper-like appearance of the foam front of the fly. The fly can be fished on top to suggest a hopper trapped in the surface film; alternatively, it will dive and pop a little if retrieved like a frog. Ken says he also ties it in black to imitate a cricket or a stonefly. One way to make it dive and work is to use an intermediate line.
With bass and panfish season rapidly approaching, you need to put this little beauty into your arsenal, folks. But don’t just put it in your bass box, because when hopper season arrives on your favorite stream, you need to be prepared with a bunch of furled hoppers in various colors and sizes in your terrestrial box to fool the wily trout. I haven’t asked Ken about this, but I’m wondering if a giant version, tied in the right colors, might be a good top water striper pattern (hmmmm…)
1. Smash the hook barb. Start the red thread about 1/8” ahead of the point of the hook. The space behind this point will remain free of thread and material. Wrap forward to a point about 3/8” behind the hook eye; wrap back to the point of beginning, and then forward again. Whip finish and cut the thread. This forms the underbody of the fly. Start the olive thread at this point, covering the front of the hook. Return the thread to the 3/8” point.
2. Tie in the furled body at that point. The length should be the full shank plus one hook gape width. Don’t cut the butts of the yarn yet.
3. Tie in the “kicker” legs at the same point. Do this by wrapping a long piece of leg material around the thread so that both ends are even. Holding the leg material tightly, bring the thread to the hook and place it in the correct tie-in spot. Tie over the leg material so that the kicker legs extend rearward. Don’t cut the material yet.
4. Using the same procedure, but with two pieces of leg material, tie in the front legs at the same spot. Cut these so that they extend rearward no farther than the bend of the hook.
5. Grasp the butts of the yarn in your left hand and pull them backward over the top of the deer hair. Tie the yarn down tightly, splaying it out over the top of the deer hair. Cut the yarn so that it extends rearward about half the length of the deer hair wing. This adds to the wing profile.
6. Grasp the butts of the yarn in your left hand and pull them backward over the top of the deer hair. Tie the yarn down tightly, splaying it out over the top of the deer hair. Cut the yarn so that it extends rearward about half the length of the deer hair wing. This adds to the wing profile.
7. Cut a piece of yellow 3mm foam about ¼” wide and 1” long. Taper it somewhat after making the initial cut. Tie it in by the narrow end, so that the wider end sticks out over the eye.
8. Dub a nice, thick thorax. It should have the shape of a ball, and should approximate the width of the foam. The thread should end up to the rear of the thorax.
9. Pull the foam back over the thorax and tie it down at the rear of the thorax to form the head. The profile of the head is important for both appearance and function. Don’t stretch the foam too tightly as you pull it back, as this will affect the flotation characteristics of the foam.
10. Cut the foam so that you leave a stub about 1/8” in length. Whip finish at the same point, and place a small drop of super glue on the thread.
11. Trim the kicker legs so that their length is approximately two times the shank length.
As you crank some of these bugs, dream of those giant bass and eager panfish that are awaiting (as we are) those wonderful warm, magical Spring days, and… see ya on the creek!
Copyright 2006 by Granite Bay Flycasters unless otherwise noted