Pool Toy Hopper – 01/13/2020

Pool Toy Hopper 01/13/2020 Photo Album

The pool toy hopper is another fly designed by Andrew Grillos that has developed into one of my favorites. During peak summer fishing periods, when I adopt the dry/dropper approach; it is rare that a fat Albert, pool toy hopper or hippie stomper are not on my line. Two of these three flies are the product of Andrew Grillos’s ingenuity, and from my perspective he is the king of foam.

Ready to Hop

If you are interested in the story of how I was introduced to this fly, check out my post,  Grillos pool toy.  My more recent post of 01/22/2019 provides an update and a materials table. I have tried at least five foam grasshopper imitations, and I feel that the pool toy hopper provides the best profile, and the fish seem to agree especially during hopper season. I selected a tan pool toy from my fly box more frequently in 2019 than any previous year, and my count confirmed this, as my supply of tans was depleted to fourteen. With this knowledge in hand I approached my vice and produced an additional nine tan models and one yellow. I feel that I now possess sufficient quantities of pool toy hoppers to drive western trout crazy during the upcoming year.

Finished Batch

2 thoughts on “Pool Toy Hopper – 01/13/2020

  1. George Banker

    Dave, looking at the pictures of the Pool Toy I’m not seeing much difference between it and a Fat Albert. What do you see as the difference and when would you use one vs the other?

    Also, having no luck finding a tying video or even a recipe; could you point me as needed?

    Finally, what sizes (hooks) and colors are you tying the Pool Toy?


    1. wellerfish Post author

      I have a pool toy hopper and fat Albert on the desk in front of me, and I agree that they are very similar. Maybe it’s just the way I cut the foam, but I seem to be able to get a narrower profile on the same size hook with a pool toy compared to a fat Albert, and I think this makes them a slightly better imitation of natural grasshoppers. But if you look at them from the bottom, they are very similar…large chunks of foam with rubber legs dangling. Both use three layers of foam. The first layer on the pool toy gets wrapped over with dubbing; whereas, on the fat Albert all three layers are exposed. If you are looking for buoyancy to float a couple beadhead nymphs, the fat Albert is definitely better. If you are looking for a better hopper imitation that will also float a pair of nymphs, but perhaps not as large, then the pool toy may be the way to go. I’ll email you the tying instructions from an issue of Southwestern Fly Fishing. I mainly use size 8 and 10 Tiemco 5262 hooks. The creator, Andrew Grillos, recommends a heavy hook to act as a keel so it lands upright. My favorite colors are tan dubbed body with the first layer of foam that is mostly covered by dubbing tan, the next layer light brown, and the indicator layer tan again. I like variegated brown and tan legs, and I like pink poly for the indicator on the front of the fly. Good luck.


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