I have always had an affinity for using monofilament in my tying. As tying materials go it has a lot to offer. Durability and adaptability are the characteristics I like most. So monofilament was an easy choice for me when I decided to come up with a nice hopper leg to rival or surpass the premade legs on the market. Buying premade tying components such as legs, shells or other body parts seemed more like lure making instead of fly tying. With this in mind I set out to come up with a technique to make good looking, durable hopper legs out of materials the average tier would have on hand.
The size and thickness of the legs can be easily adjusted to fit any tying need. The use of white thread will give you the opportunity to color the legs with markers to fit which ever species of hopper or cricket you chose to tie.
The legs I will show here are for a large Horse Lubber grasshopper. I will use 40 lb test. You will find that certain sizes will work best for specific hook sizes. An adjustable tension bobbin will ease the tying process.
Begin by placing a length of monofilament in the vise jaws. The length should be slightly longer than the span of the hopper’s femur from where it attaches to the body to the knee. Leave enough excess mono in the vise to use as a tie in tag.
Tie in a second piece of monofilament on top of the piece in the vise against the vise jaws. This piece must be as long as the first on one side and twice as long on the other.
Pull the three of mono together as shown and wrap them with lose thread wraps at first. Stop your thread just before the knee joint is to be.
Wrap down the leg compressing the mono to shape the leg and coat the threads with head cement. With a lighter, burn the tips of the two shorter ends to form the knee.
Now you can add your color. I usually add the lightest color first and apply head cement between colors to prevent them from bleeding together. With a heated bodkin you can set the legs into a natural position.
Duplicate the process and you will have the best looking legs on the water (hopper legs that is). They will be strong and durable and exactly the size and color for the fly you’re tying. And the best part is they only cost a couple of pennies to tie up.