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Some days stick out in a guys mind. The start of football season, the start of hockey season, the start of baseball season, the day your mother in law leaves to go back to Hades – all these are red letter days in a guy’s calendar. If you happen to be a fisherman, you can add in the first day of the year you start catching fish on hoppers. Such a day was gifted to Caveman and I this week as we ventured down river to the Texas Creek area to float from Trading Post to Pinnacle Rock.
The last time we were down that way, in the spring, there was an encounter with the State Patrol that delayed our launch time, but this time around things went smoothly. The law was avoided, the correct parks pass purchased, and away we went. The dry fly fishing is particularly good right now. There are some prolific caddis hatches coming off around dusk, and into the night, and this has made the black foam caddis a hard fly for a fish to pass up. But once I’d figured out that it was working as well as ever, I wanted to try something different, and a Daves Hopper turned out out be just the ticket.
There are several reasons why hopper fishing is about as fun as it gets. First, delicate presentation is not a requirement, which for a hack like me is an advantage. Heavy tippet is the order of the day, no messing about with 4x and 5x. Second, you can mix up the dead drifts with some twitching of the rod tip to impart life to the fly. This will often tease the fish out of their lairs to come and investigate, thereby giving you a good idea of where they are holding. And thirdly, when they do decide to take, it is seldom subtle. The fish will often hit hard and aggressively and get extra p****d when you hook them.
Generally the key is to get the hopper right next to the bank, if not landing it in the grass and teasing it out into the water – art imitating life, if you will. This generally precludes using a second fly, as this increases the potential of snagging the bank. Being a simple kind of a guy, a single fly is fine by me.
I would look for the hopper fishing to get better and better as we roll further through summer into fall. For a fish dining on caddis and pmds, there’s a decent amount of protein to be had in a hopper or two. So next time you head to the river, try leaving the bead heads behind, forego a two fly rig, and stick on a hopper and start slapping it around.