The Boulder Hopper Tutorial
The Boulder Hopper is a newer pattern that I created for catching fussy fish in low, clear water. By using thin foam for the body and wing, this hopper looks very realistic in smaller sizes. I tie this hopper in sizes 8-16, but a size 12 seems to be the one to have. For sizes 8-10, I use 3mm foam for the body and 3 strands of rubber for the legs. For sizes 12-14, I use 2mm foam for the body and 2 strands of rubber for the legs. For size 16, use 2mm foam for the body, and a single rubber strand for the legs. Tied in tan, goldenrod, and apricot for body colors along with a tan, cinnamon or brown 1mm over-wing, this hopper can be tied to match any shade of grasshopper. If your looking for an ultra-realistic, high-floating, durable smaller hopper, tie up a few Boulder Hoppers and let me know what you think.
Hook: Dai-Riki #730 nymph hook
Flash: Rootbeer micro flash
Under-wing: Elk hair
Over-wing: 1mm foam
Legs: Medium round rubber legs, 3-strands (sizes 8-10) 2 strands (sizes 12-14).
Eyes: Small strip black 2mm foam (optional).
Post: 1mm hi-vis foam
Step 1: Form a 3-layer thread base on hook. End thread between barb and point of hook.
Step 2: Taper a strip of foam as shown above. Strip of foam should be about width of gap, and twice as long as hook in length. Above, I have a small Pre-cut body that is about 1 1/2″ long, and 1/4″ wide for a size 12 hook.
Step 3: Bind down foam strip with 4-5 wraps of thread. Tapered end of foam should extend 1/2 hook length beyond tie in point.
Step 4: Cross thread over the top of the foam strip and create a body segment with 2-3 wraps of thread as shown above.
Step 5: Criss-cross the thread forward on top of foam strip. Create a new segment just in front of hook point with 3-4 wraps of thread.
Step 6: Advance thread forward to eye of hook.
Step 8: Cross the thread back over the top of the foam body and create the next body segment as shown above. Notice the segment behind the eye of the hook is the largest segment. This large segment is going to be the head of the hopper.
Step 9: Tie in 8-10 strands of micro-flash. Ends of micro-flash should extend just beyond end of foam body. Keep thread wraps to a minimum since the rest of the hopper is going to be tied in at this point.
Step 10: Bind down a small clump of elk hair with 5-6 firm wraps of thread. Ends of hair should extend just beyond foam body.
Step 11: Add a small amount of super-glue for durability.
Step 12: Form the head of the hopper by pulling back the strip of foam extending over the eye of the hook and binding down with 2-3 thread wraps.
Step 13: Top view of head of hopper.
Step 14: Create legs by tying a loose over-hand knot in the rubber leg material. Next, apply a small dab of super-glue to the knots and tighten knots.
Under-side view of tied in legs.
Step 16: Taper a strip of 1mm foam as shown above. Width of wing should be about gap of hook in width.
Step 17: Trim butts of bullet-head flush as shown above.
Step 18: Bind down over-wing with 2-3 firm thread wraps. End of wind should extend just beyond elk hair under-wing.
Step 19: Cut a small strip of 1mm hi-vis foam to be used as a post. Width of hi-vis foam should be narrower than foam wing.
Step 20: Bind down post with 2-3 thread wraps.
Step 21: Trim butts of post and foam wing flush. Whip-finish at this point.
Step 22: Finished Boulder Hopper.
Size 10 Boulder Hopper with a 3mm foam body, and black strip of foam placed between bullet-head to simulate eyes.