Updated: Nov 15, 2020
On a big choppy reservoir or lake you want to put a fly on the surface that the trout will really notice and one fly which does that every time is the booby hopper.
Especially at this time of year, May/June, some of the larger flies are starting to get blown on to the water. This includes the likes of Daddy Long Legs which, although well catered for by their own specific flies, sometimes it’s useful to hold a fly on the surface permanently.
This is where booby hopper flies come in to their own. The large foam part of the fly will hold it on the surface perfectly, with no chance of sinking below. This leaves the point of the hook, shrouded in tempting leg and wing imitations sitting just below the surface, in full view of hungry trout.
There are a couple of ways they can be fished. Firstly, the hopper can be cast out and left to drift in the ripple, as you would a dry fly. This natural drift gives perfect presentation through the water.
Alternatively, try pulling the fly back through the water, the foam head will cause the water to pop and make the disturbance that will attract fish. The foam on these flies makes them unsinkable, so they can be treated very roughly in the water. Try to make a nice attractive bow wave with the fly. This will be a very visible attraction for hunting trout.
Being so bouyant, an effective way to fly fish with a popper hopper is to use it as an indicator fly. A few feet of fluorocarbon can be tied on to the shank of the hook and a small nymph (a small buzzer is ideal) attached to the end of the fluoro. If the popper hopper disappears then strike into the fish that will have taken the nymph!
However, you choose to fish the hopper, make sure you lift in to the fish when it takes, rather than full out striking. By the time a trout has taken this fly, it’s almost certainly already hooked. Striking hard will often cause the fly to come out and the fish escape.