Hopper Legs- by Fred Hannie

featured, Step-by-Step Tutorials — By on February 21, 2013 11:44 am


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.


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Rating: +11 (from 15 votes)

18 Comments

  1. Richard Katzman says:

    Great way to make durable and beautiful legs. The best part is they’re so easy and you already have the the supplies on hand. Thank you.

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    Rating: +6 (from 8 votes)
  2. Very nice! That would work well for Yellowfish here in South Africa

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    Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
  3. Ian says:

    I’d like to see the rest of the process.

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    Rating: +11 (from 13 votes)
  4. Mitch Svaty says:

    Very Real!

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    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  5. Hey Fred that’s was great Would you share the whole step by step for the hopper including the process to attach the legs. Keep up the great work

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    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  6. Brian Naylor says:

    Thumbs up! great idea
    Would love to see how the whole process goes to create

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    Rating: +6 (from 6 votes)
  7. larry pauley says:

    I would give them a 10 the best yet larrypauley

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    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  8. Steve says:

    Fred,
    The best legs and hopper I have seen in ages. Would you consider posting the full instructions? It would be greatly appreciated!
    Steve

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    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  9. Benbow Cheesman says:

    Thank you. I echo the request for the full account of how to tie this fly. It will have top billing on the streams of the Driftless Zone in SW Wisconsin this summer, assuming I can tie the critter. I’m going to be a mentor for some kids from Madison as part of our educational program, and I’d love to be able to add a handful of these hoppers to the flybox. Tight lines, next cast.

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    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  10. grant says:

    great stuff Fred, i ALWAYS love your work — i’ll be sticking those legs on all sorts of patterns, black cricket, frogs, even minnows & caddis lol.. cant thing of a fly that would not look better with a pair ! ha ha

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    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  11. Geordie boy says:

    First class what else is there to say
    Will be giving this one a real work out
    On diferent hooks
    Thanks for shearing

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  12. john craine says:

    The final product is absolutely gorgeous, so much so that I would be reluctant to fish it given how much work went into it. Add my vote to to those that would like to see the entire process for this fly.

    There is one step missing in the tutorial above, however. After you burned the loose ends to form the knee, I don’t see how you covered the loop in the mono before you colored it.

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  13. Dave Moser says:

    Thats the most awesome hopper I have ever seen. Thanks so much for sharing. I hope you will post the entire process some day.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  14. Gabriel says:

    Simply amazing. It’s really a very simple and cheap technique providing a true solution for tying legs, a particular difficult item everytime you tie a hopper. Besides, I have never seen a so realistic hopper, and I’d like you send the entire recipe, too. But, have you tested this pattern in slow waters? I think that the fly is somehow too rigid and seen from under the surface it coul be seen as a little piece of wood.

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  15. LG says:

    Excelent legs ! can i have a sbs for the rest of the grasshopper please ? :) that`s the best imitation ever .
    Congrats.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  16. LukeM says:

    This is a great tutorial. I’ll have to give these a try.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  17. larry pauley says:

    Fred could you please sen me the recipe for the hopper legs and hopper thx Larry Pauley

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  18. Confused says:

    This goes from start to finish in 5 steps…with no help in between.

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