Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Very Good, Young Grasshopper (or, One Man's Garden Rodent is Another Man's Bait)

Talk about a love/hate relationship!

Five months ago, I was cursing like a sailor.  Grasshoppers were devouring three rows of corn I'd planted in the early summer months.  Spraying them with toxic chemicals seemed like a good idea, until my brother's dog gave chase to a toad that had wandered into my culinary paradise.  Seeing the poor pooch yak up a half-masticated Colorado reptile was about as appetizing as a plate of liver and onions.  As you may recall, I gave the mangy mutt fair warning.  Somehow, she slipped through my security protocols.


Fast forward five months or so, and all of the sudden I'm starting to think that maybe the good Lord had a purpose in mind when he created the grasshopper.  I started to think that maybe if I tied more of their artificial brethren, they might wander away from next summer's garden and hang out by the river where they belong.  I stopped by St. Pete's and picked up some HUGE hooks, foam, and hi-vis para-post wing material.  When Doc caught a glimpse of the size ten hooks and shot me a "what the hell are you going to tie with those" glance - eyebrows raised and all - I gave pause.  Doc's 70 year-old eyes are used to zeroing in on size 20 BWOs and Adams' dries.  On the Poudre, they're all he's ever needed.  He'll fish a nymph from time to time, and I even once convinced him to throw a tiny midge.  Five minutes later he was throwing dries again.  Fishing a huge foam monstrosity will come as a shock to him, I'm sure.  To Doc, a hopper is an indicator.  If a fish happens to hit it, he'll set the hook like a pro, but he'll shake his head in wonder as to why a fish would prefer a big, nasty garden pest to a small, beautiful mayfly.

As for me, I'll throw anything at fish.  Including my first "original" hopper pattern, shown above.  I say "original" with several caveats attached thereto.  "Original" in the choice of colors - the orange hi-vis was my idea.  "Original" in the sense that I borrowed several techniques and methods from various tutorials found on the pages of the blogs I follow.  In my mind, it's the innaugural Flywriter hopper.  I'm calling it the "Corn Sludge," named after the thousands of grasshoppers that destroyed my corn crop this past summer.  I'm hoping a big brown will find it appetizing.

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