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Thunderthighs

June 17, 2010

Foam HopperPATTERN DESCRIPTION:

This is a new hopper pattern that I came up with for the upcoming season. This patterns has all the right qualities to be a real fish catcher. It has rubber legs, a foam bullet head and a very realistic silhouette. The legs of the hopper may seem a bit excessive, but I noticed last year that the trout, especially late in the season,  liked this style of hopper with the over-sized legs, or Thunderthighs. This realistic foam hopper pattern is easy to tie, and it can be tied in any color combination.  Tie a few up and let me know how they work.

MATERIALS NEEDED:

Hook: Dai Riki 730 sz. 8-12

Thread: UTC 140 Denier. Tan

Body: Two-toned 4mm foam in brown/tan.

Thighs: 1mm craft foam, tan.

Legs: Super floss.  I use super floss or super flex for the legs of this hopper and barr them with a black Sharpie.  Super Floss doesn’t break when you tie the over-hand knot for attaching the leg joints.

Post: 2mm craft foam, orange.

Hopper Craft Foam

Step 1

Step 1:If you don’t have two-tone 4mm foam, cut out a  2″x 4″ section of tan and brown 2mm craft foam.  Next, glue the two pieces of craft foam together to form a 4mm block of tan/brown foam.

Foam Bodies

Step 2

Step 2: From the foam block, cut out a 1/4″ wide strip, or a general rule is to cut the strip the width of the gap of the hook.  You should have a 4mm strip of foam that is 1/4″ wide and 2″ long.  Next, shape foam as shown above.  The strip on the right I used a medium pre-cut foam body and for the one on the left I shaped it freehand to illustrate both possible methods.

Foam Bodies

Step 2

Step 2: Side view of foam strip.

Hopper Hook

Step 3

Step 3: Wrap thread base on hook.  I wrap a 3-layer thread base for more durability, plus the hopper body tends to rotate on the hook less with a thicker thread base.  Stop thread at hook barb.

Foam Hopper

Step 4

Step 4: Attach hopper body onto hook directly above the barb. Tail of hopper body should extend about a hook gap beyond tie in point.  Use 5-7 firm thread wraps to secure the foam to the hook.

Foam Hopper

Step 5

Step 5: Advance thread forward on hook only to point shown above, just in front of hook point.   Next, tie down foam body with 5-7 firm wraps. Here we have created the first body segment of the hopper.

Foam Hopper

Step 6

Step 6: Again, advance thread forward on hook only to point shown above, about a hook gap behind eye of hook.  Bind down foam hopper body with 3-4 firm thread wraps.  Keep wraps to a minimum here because the legs still have to be tied in here.

Foam Hopper

Step 7

Step 7: Advance thread forward to point shown above, about 2 eye lengths behind eye of hook.  Bind down foam body with 3-4 firm thread wraps.  Notice body segments are all about equal size, and the last body segment is 2 eye lengths behind eye of hook.

Foam Hopper

Step 8

Step 8: Cut a thin strip of orange 2mm craft foam for the post.  Strip of foam should be narrower than width of body.

Foam Hopper

Step 9

Step 9: Bind down post with 2 firm wraps of thread.  Post should extend to barb of hook.

Foam Hopper

Step 10

Step 10: Advance thread back, over the top of the hopper to 2nd body segment as shown above.  Next, bind down post with 2 firm wraps of thread.  Trim remaining post extending over eye of hook.

Hopper Legs

Step 11

Step 11: Cut out two thin pieces of foam for the hopper thighs or legs out of 1mm tan craft foam.  The pieces above are about 1mm x 2mm and 2 inches long.

How to make hopper legs

Step 12

Step 12: Using a strand of tan super floss or super flex that I barred with a black Sharpie, form an over-hand knot towards the end of the super floss.

How to make hopper legs

Step 13

Step 13: Insert foam strip into over-hand knot as shown above.  Notice the foam strip is shaped like a matchbook match, thin and flat. The super floss will be tied on parallel to the wide part of the foam strip.

How to make hopper legs

Step 14

Step 14: Tighten super floss over-hand knot onto foam strip with firm pressure.

Hopper legs

Step 15

Step 15: Trim legs as shown.  Here I trimmed the super floss nearly flush with the over-hand knot on one end, and trimmed the remaining foam extending beyond the rubber legs.  These legs look good with red super floss also.

Foam Hopper

Step 16

Step 16: Attach legs to hopper body with 2-3 firm wraps of thread.  Notice joints of legs should extend to barb of hook.

Foam Hopper

Step 16

Step 16: Top view of hopper legs tied in.

Foam Hopper

Step 17

Step 17: Form head of hopper by folding over foam strip extending over eye of hook.  Bind down foam strip at same tie in point as the legs of the hopper.  Notice the head of the hopper is extending over the front of the eye of the hook.  Next, trim remaining leg strips flush with thread wraps.

Realistic Foam Hopper

Step 18

Step 18: Hopper with legs trimmed and bullet head formed.

Realistic Foam Hopper

Step 19

Step 19: Next, trim excess foam body material around the orange post flush with thread wraps.  Notice how the orange post really sticks out now.

Realistic Foam Hopper

Step 19

Step 19: Top view of trimmed hopper.

Realistic Foam Hopper

Step 20

Step 20: Advance thread over hopper body to segment just behind the eye of the hook.  Bind down body with 2-3 firm wraps of thread.

Realistic Foam Hopper

Step 21

Step 21: Attach legs to both sides of hopper.

Realistic Foam Hopper

Step 22

Step 22: Whip finish at this point at trim legs to desired length. Add some superglue to the leg joints and body segments for extra durability.

Realistic Foam Hopper

Trout's view of Thunderthighs

Foam Hopper

Finished Hopper

Foam Hopper

Realistic Foam Hopper

Foam Hopper

It’s always good to have a couple hopper patterns that are different from what everyone else is using.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Tom P. permalink
    June 23, 2010 8:36 pm

    Thanks Eric for taking the time to post this. The photography and instructions make it easy to follow along and my hopper patterns are all the better for it.

    I look forward to the next pattern!

    • July 6, 2010 3:16 am

      Tom,
      Glad I can be of any help. Hopper season is just a couple of weeks away here in Montana and looking forward to trying some new patterns. I’ll update the blog with patterns some productive patterns.

  2. dkfkljkl permalink
    July 14, 2010 8:38 pm

    Well, I’m pissed at myself that I never thought of using thin strips of foam for the upper part of the legs. Well-done. I will be jacking that idea immediately.

    Thanks for the post!

  3. July 15, 2011 6:04 pm

    I, too, appreciate all the detail (especially the photos) that went into your tutorial. Even a rookie should be able to create that hopper, if they’ll simply follow the instructions. Thanks!

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