How To Tie Dave’s Hopper

What You’ll Need


TMC 5263 size 12,10,8 & 6


Yellow polypropylene yarn


Brown neck hackle


Danville 3/0 or Monocord, tan or yellow


Dave’s flexament, zap-a-gap & tuff film fixative


Natural deer hair (dyed red)

Body Foundation

Manson hard nylon, match the diameter of the hook shank

Weed Guard

25 pound mason hard nylon


Speckled brown wing quill Legs: golden or ring neck pheasant, (also T-N-T hopper legs from WapsiCollar


Natural pale yellow deer hair


Pale yellow deer hair

Step 1

Cut a piece of hard mono (20-25 pound) to be the length of the hook shank when you double it over. The half circle part of the fold will be butted up to the eye of the hook. Leave just a little space inbetween. When you start to tie in the mono you can tie right on top of it to get it started. Once you’ve started it your now ready to place them on each side of the hook as you wind back making each wrap side by side. You’ll need to hold these the whole time to make sure they stay on each side. This will create a nice foundation for the rest of the body. Once your at the bend you can trim the excess off.

Step 2

Add some zap-a-gap to the foundation once you’ve wrapped to the bend of the hook.

Step 3

Advance the thread back up about ¾ up the hook shank. This is crucial for the proportion of the fly.

Step 4

Prepare the feather to look like this. I’m using a Metz half neck in brown. It does have a furnace look to it which will enhance the body more, but a ginger is what a lot of people use to. Make sure hackles are in proportion of the gap of the hook. You don’t want the tips to go past the gap (from the shank to the point).

Step 5

I didn’t really show this step in great detail. Using belly hair, even out the tips and tie in a little tail of deer hair. Tying this in, you’ll want to tie it the length of the body. When tying back on the hair make sure you don’t had to much tension at the back or your tail will flare. Make lose wraps in the back and all the way back up you can add more tension. If you notice I didn’t tie all the way up, just enough to tie in the tip of the hackle. Once you’ve tie in both you can now advance to the ¾ mark and tie in the poly yarn. The picture above shows how to prep the feather.

Step 6

Tie in the poly yarn until you reach the bend. You’ll need about four inches in length. I’m also using a whole piece because I’m tying this on a size six hook. If you tie this smaller, you’ll want to split the poly yarn amount in half.

Step 7

When you get to the bend, make a few wraps to lock it in and then fold it to “butt up” even with the tips in the back. Tie the poly yarn back down at the bend and you’re ready to wind it back up to the stopping point.

Step 8

If you notice, the segmentations are easy to see. That’s created from twisting the poly yarn, just like you would do on a serendipity. Trim off the yarn.

Step 9

Palmer the hackle up (toward the eye of the hook) in between the segments and trim the excess hackle.

Step 10

Trim off the top of the hackle.

Step 11

Now you’re ready to make the wing. Another thing you want to watch out for is you don’t want to have too much tension or the hair will flare up instead of staying down towards the body. A good way to do this is by adding some Dave’s fleximent on every step here on out. Not a lot, but a small coat. This also helps the durability of the fly. When you tie this in go ahead and make the cut beforehand.

Step 12

I’ve already prepped my wing with Flex Seal and let it dry overnight. When you measure this to the length of the wing, make sure it will fold over on each side of the hook shank. This will lock in the deer hair so it doesn’t flare out the side. Too much deer hair can cause this flaring, so if you notice it happening, back off the step and correct it. If you notice, in the back, the feather isn’t trimmed to the right length.

Step 13

Once you tie the feather in, you’ll trim it to match up with the deer hair tips. Trim it at and angle with a curved shank pair of scissors.

Step 14

To prepare the legs, simply utilize an overhand knot. Pull the tips through using a hackle plier… grab the tips and pull them through. Then add a small drop a Fleximent to secure them. Hopper legs look really good using Amherst pheasant tail.

Step 15

Before I forget, it’s really important to keep tying these materials in the same spot without going forward, or you’ll eventually run out of room. Tie in the legs on each side. You can also use a small amount of glue to secure them. Advance the thread just in front of all the accumulated material and make a few half hitches. This is where you can either use the same thread or go to a heavier denier to tie in the hair. Monocord will break if you add to much tension.

Step 16

Tie in two different clumps of deer hair to complete the head. I’m using a pale yellow for the bottom and natural for the top. This technique is called “stacking”. Tie in the bottom first and then the top. To learn more in detail about this step “click here”. Make sure your tips are even and only go just a little past the point of the hook.

Step 17

Now add another set of clumps to complete the head. This time you don’t have to worry about the tips being even. Whip finish the fly and cut your thread and you’re ready to trim the head to it’s proper shape.

Step 18

First, trim the bottom flat. Make sure not to go much past the hook point or you’ll trim off the tips for the collar.

Step 19

Trim the sides and then the top. Make sure you create the head to be sqaure and tapered down as you go back. I’m using Anvil midge scissors (curved blade) to trim it to shape. You can fine tune it to your own preferences through trimming.

Step 20

I’m adding a weed gaurd, but it’s really up to you on where it is you’re fishing to determine if this is necessary. I like to throw this fly on the grass and plop them into the water. To really be able to do that you’ll need a weed gaurd. All you have to do is measure some 25lb. hard mono to hang just a little lower then the hook point. Bend the bottom just a little and then add a little Zap-a-Gap in the hair where you want it to be. Shove the mono up in the glue and it should hold.