Tying Simple Hoppers – The Slim Jim

hoppers 1. Materials (1)Guest Blogger: Eunan Hendron, Eunan blogs at Addicted to Vise

Frequently I take up a challenge to tie a fly out of my traditional comfort zone; a situation usually afforded me by my participation in fly swaps. These hoppers are the result of that very situation.

I agreed to enter a top water fly swap, and not really being a traditional dry fly tyer, I went in search of some inspiration. I landed on a neat pattern called the Slim Jim, which is a foam hopper and decided that was the one for me.

Off I went to the J Stockard catalog and searched out the materials. I bought the entire line of Furry Foam, some hopper/caddis/ant body cutters from River Road Creations, and with an already full inventory of 2mm foam sheets at home, I set about making the bodies.

hoppers 2 foam sheetsThe furry foam can easily be split into two sheets by gently teasing apart the one double sided sheet. I also removed the inner thread lattice. Using Super77 spray glue, I put a reasonable coat of glue on the 2mm foam and laid the furry foam on top. I wasn’t too worried about waste at this stage, but likely in future I’ll make a better effort to maximize the space on the 2mm foam. I left the set up over night to attach fully. Next day, one of the corners was not secured properly, so I added a little more Super77 and left it overnight again to cure. Cutting them with the cutters was a breeze, though even pressure around the entire cutter is essential for a complete cut. I decided to do a full range of sizes and they came out great, about 1 dozen in size 8, 10, 12, 14 & 16. These all came from a single side of the furry foam, so approx 60 bodies in a range of sizes.

The fly was a simple tie, body, then wing, legs and then post (red foam on top).

finished bodies

finished bodies

Materials used as follows, most available from J Stockard catalog.

Veevus Thread 8/0 – tan
Daiichi 1720 3X-Long Nymph Hook – size 14
River Road Creations Hopper / Caddis / Ant Body Cutter Size 14
Hareline Furry Foam – brown, glued to 2mm Evasote closed cell foam Green (bought at a craft store; J. Stockard sells only black and white)
Hareline Barred Crazy Legs – barred white / pearl flake
Angora Goat dubbing for the wing
For the post I used 2mm foam, but 1mm will work better.

4 Slim Jims, sz 14

4 Slim Jims, sz 14

And quick and fun little fly to tie, with all the combinations of colors of foam and furry foam, legs and dubbing/zelon, you’re limited only by your imagination.

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