Friday, May 15, 2009

The Hopper Juan Tying Steps

At last, the blueprint for my Hopper Juan. The Hopper Juan was created in a desire to have a highly visible hopper pattern that covered a few criteria of mine: First, I wanted a pattern that I could call my own; I didn’t want to copy something already out there. Second, it had to look nice. I wanted to create a pattern that was simple and attractive, a reflection of my tying style. Third, it had to float well and be able to hold up a nice chunk of iron and tungsten. Fourth, it had to be high-viz for my clients that have trouble seeing a small duck on the water, and lastly, it had to catch fish and be durable enough to catch a bunch of them. I often fish a hopper dropper most of the year on a variety of different water. The Hopper Juan can be tied in orange, to reflect the bigger salmon flies or used in tan/brown for golden stones.
I have been fishing the HJ, for a few years now and it has been going through the modification process during that time. Many changes have been made, but the final product is what you see here. I make sure to treat each fly with Watershed, even though it is foam. It definitely makes a difference throughout the day as it soaks up less water. I usually follow the HJ with a heavy beadhead of some sort to make sure I offer the fish a second option. I will also follow that nymph with a third fly, usually a smaller, more imitative fly. Depending on seasonal hatches, it could be a BWO, midge or PMD nymph or emerger. John Barr calls this the "bait and switch". Bring them in with the attractor and they take the smaller fly. I like his thinking.
Tie up some HJs and go and fish them this summer. They are really not that complicated to tie and I am very proud of that. Let me know how you like them or let me know some suggestions for the fly. I plan to list some of my other patterns that I tie to drop from the Hopper Juan later down the road. So here it is, the Hopper Juan

Original Hopper Juan

Hook: 2XL such as TMC 5262 or MFC 7026 size 6-10
Thread: UTC 140 denier to match foam
Foam: 2mm foam, cut to shape with chernobyl taper cutter.
Glue: Krazy glue with brush
Underwing: MFC wing material, brown, cut with wing cutter.
Wing: Nature's Spirit early season cow elk
Flash: Krystal flash, pearl or U.V. pearl
Legs: Med. rubber legs, color to match body
High-Vis: MFC Gator Hair

Layout of materials. I use a Medium* chernobyl cutter for this size fly, a # 8*
*=EDIT

Foam colors you can use. Mix and match.

Start by making a layer of thread on the hook. Measure the hook gap and pierce through the bottom piece of foam. This is the tapered side.


Position bottom piece of foam and make three wraps to secure. Place a small dab of crazy glue on to hold to hook shank.


Lay top piece of foam in position. Make three wraps to secure. The glue will help hold it together. Make sure the tapered ends of the two foam tips match up.


Make thread wraps to next segment point and tie down bottom piece of foam. Place a small amount of glue to hook shank and foam. Make sure you estimate where you want the segments to be. If you don't, your 3rd and 4th segment will be squished together and look funny.


Continue to make segments using just a dab of glue on each segment. At this segment will be all your hair and additional wraps to finish the fly so don’t overdue it here. Only make enough wraps to secure the foam. The glue will help hold it together.


Make last segment and leave a little room to make a cut and to be able to cover foam with thread.


It is very important that you have micro tip scissors to make a clean, close cut. You will end up with some little “nubs” that you will have to trim and then cover with thread warps to make a clean head.


See the "nubs"? This is why we use the UTC thread. It lays flat if needed and here, we need it to lay flat to cover the nubs.


At this point, I have covered the “nubs” under thread wraps. Notice my frayed thread? This is the only disadvantage of using UTC thread. It important to use UTC 140 though.


At this point, make one wrap over the top of the foam to the first segment.


Montana Fly Co. wing material cut to shape using a wing cutter. This step is optional.


Tie in wing material so it extends just past the back of the foam. Tie in some flash material. I usually use midge pearl krystal flash. On this fly, I used U.V. pearl. Tie in some good cow elk hair that is somewhat stiff. I love good elk hair!


Tie in some legs. I used Hareline’s barred rubber legs here but you can use what ever you want.


Place some glue on the top of the foam where you made a single wrap of thread.


Pull the foam down over the glue and thread wrap. Tie down using only two wraps to secure. The glue will hold it down.


Tie in some hi-vis material. This helps the older generation to pick up this fly on the water easier. It is optional, but I tie it on all my flies and I am still in the younger generation. Leave some of the material sticking out the front as in the photo. This helps lock it in there and is harder for it to fall out.


Trim to finish up and make sure all your legs are even and your body is straight and tight.


View from the back and top. Nice wing.


View from the front.

Fish's view.
Make sure to check out the HD tying video!
http://vimeo.com/8552463

HOPPER JUAN MATERIALS KIT
e-mail me for more info.  juan@anglerscovey.com

30 comments:

  1. That is a really good looking hopper pattern...thanks for sharing the recipe! I'll have to tie a few up and try them out this summer...

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  2. Love the blog Juan...Great flies too...Hoppers are my go-to pattern in the Summertime.

    Tyler, THFF

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  3. Thanks for sharing Juan, Killer pattern that will make its way to the flybox!!

    Pat~

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  4. Awsome pattern. I have been searching for something new and this seems to be it. I fish alot in the east so I'll let you know how it works out this summer

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  5. great tutorial and thanx for sharing. time to hit the bench!

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  6. Mike,

    Thank you. Tie some up and let me know how you do.

    Juan

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  7. Looks just like a hopper we have been using up in Montana for some years now. A local fly shop owner in Livingston ties what he calls a Pink Pookie, same hopper but with a foam wing and a pink body. Will have to try the synthetic wing version, see if it works as well. Pink is a killer color by the way.

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  8. Thanks for the post. Where can I buy MFC tying supplies online? Any thought? Thks.

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  9. Check here: http://www.dreamdriftflies.com/

    I've never ordered from here but they carry everything MFC offers.

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  10. Thanks Juan - Really enjoy your blog.

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  11. Kingfisherflyshop.com

    They have a ton of MFC tying materials.
    They are good people and have prompt service.

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  12. I would like to attempt to tie the Hopper Juan when i get a little more experienced as I am only a beginner. I can't seem to find the foam strips at my local fly shop. Can you tell me where to find them or what the measurements are?

    Eric

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  13. Eric,

    Call Gary at Ghillies Fly Shop in Colo. Springs. He has some kits I made up and they have the pre-cut foam, wings, hooks, hi-viz material and legs. It's a great way to get started. It has 6 of each and they are pretty cheap. He will ship to you. Ghillies Fly Shop. 719-531-5413.

    Juan

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  14. Juan, Love this pattern have tied up several colors and sizes tonight i went out to try out a #14 with the 3 wt, on some bluegills and had a problem that maybe you can help me with , the rear legs were sticking to the sides of the fly which caused the fly to roll onto its side. Cannot wait to try out the bigger flies on some trout on the White river in Arkansas. Thanks for the help. Barry

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  15. Barry,

    Thanks for fishing these and giving me feedback. On your issue, the first thing that pops into my mind is that if you are using a #14 fly, you have to make sure your fly is not too top heavy. On a small fly like that, I have to use really thin foam and generally, I go down to a #12 only. If your foam is too thick (tall) and not wide enough, it will flop over, especially if you have hair and high-viz material on the fly. The legs don't generally help to prevent it from tipping over, but if you use the medium sized legs, it might help out a bit as they are a bit thicker and will provide some additional surface contact. I would look at the way you are tying the fly. I get some 2mm foam and stretch it out to make it thinner and replace the elk hair with a synthetic material such as Widow's Web from MFC. This makes it a lower profile fly and for me, has prevented it from flopping over on it's side. I hope this helps! You might have to play around a bit and see how they land and float on the water. It took me a few tries to get things floating correctly but it can be done. Let me know how it goes.

    Juan

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  16. Thanks Juan
    Will try those things out as soon as the temps drop back below 100.
    Barry

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  17. Awesome fly! Thanks for sharing it!

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  18. You showed me how tie this fly at the Denver Show, and I can't see another hopper fly in my fly box again. Excellent instructions and photos of the pattern. Thank you

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  19. I finally tied up a Hopper Juan using your kit I bought at the Denver Fly Fishing Show. Alas my first Hopper looked more like a cockroach! I decided to jump on your blog for “instructions” and found the Hopper Juan Tying Steps…success!

    My Hopper Juan doesn’t look as good as yours, but, it certainly looks better than my first try! Can’t wait to tie up some more!

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  20. Erik,

    Keep tying them. They get easier and better, the more you tie them. Let us know how they work for you.

    Thanks,
    Juan

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  21. Hi Juan, I finally got around to tying up some hoppers tonight. Thanks for the kits! They make part of the process simpler. The first one was a little sketchy, but it does get easier as you do more.

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  22. Juan,

    I tied some of your hoppers and tried a couple last week on the North St. Vrain. Wow! The little brookies loved that hopper. The ones tied had a mottled turkey feather wing (coated), micro tubing legs and a white poly yarn top wing.

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    Replies
    1. Jim,

      Glad you were able to tie some up. I love to hear feedback on the pattern and i love to hear that you had a great day of fishing. Thanks for the info!

      Juan

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  23. What a great hopper pattern. My tying skills are lacking so i picked some up from dream drift flies. Quality fly! Thanks Juan for making such a cool pattern.

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    1. Juan,

      I'm a buddy of Carl's (don't hold that against me) and I recently decided to ty up some of these great hoppers you make ... so I purchased one of your 5-fly kits. The kit made this somewhat intimidating fly a lot easier to ty, so thanks! Now I have decided to make some more so I started buying the tools I needed. The parts in the kit were somewhat different than what I bought following the instructions above. These photos look like the bodies the MFC Medium Tapered Chernobyl that I cut but the bodies from the kit were a little slimmer. Also, I used a MFC Size 8 Stonefly cutter and that made the underwing a little different also. Any suggestions on specific cutters I should purchase for the best fly?

      Thanks,

      Ranger Ken

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    2. Thanks for trying out this fly. I appreciate it. The cutters I like are the River Road Creations Chernobyl taper in a size medium. That is what I use for the bodies. For the wing, I use the MFC stonefly wing cutter. I use a large size cutter, I think it is a size 4, for the wing. I like the large size for the wing. I also use the RRC cutters for the wing. I like a size 4 or 6 in that cutter. I hope this helps you out. let me know how it goes.

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  24. Thanks Juan, I really appreciate the details. This is a great fly to use as a platform for hopper/copper/dropper stuff. I use Larry's Arkansas Rubberlegged Stonefly nymph for this with my subsurface stuff. Great versatile pattern with a lot of wow factor. Thanks for sharing it with all of us Colorado flyfishers! Even I can see this fly. Be well.

    Ranger Ken

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  25. thanks for the great instructions. On the MFC wing material, do you remove the white foam backing somehow, or just leave it on?
    Also, are the two colors of foam just for esthetics or does the color combo work better? I'm thinking of using two tan pieces for golden stones.

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    Replies
    1. The white foam is attached to the wing. I often color it with a marker to dull it down a bit. You can use whatever color you want to use. I prefer the looks of tan and brown as most hoppers are tan on the belly and it covers golden stones too. If you need to change the color, you can tie them as needed. Also, tan is easy to color with a marker on the water as needed. It's harder to make a dark piece of foam lighter. Thanks!
      Juan

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