Originally developed to stay afloat in the roaring whitewater rivers of the American west, the Humpy, sometimes known as the Goofus Bug, is one of the few patterns that has migrated well enough to have an accepted place in anglers’ fly-boxes the trout fishing world over.
Like some other dry-flies that rely for their buoyancy on bundles of deer hair spun and trimmed to shape, it bears little resemblance to anything encountered in the natural world. However, it works and, at times, works much better than closer imitations of the insect being eaten.
Probably the most bizarre success of the virtually unsinkable Humpy is during a Mayfly hatch when the trout will turn their noses up at painstakingly-tied imitations yet rush to the surface to engulf the pot-bellied Humpy.
While the body of the original Humpy was fashioned from yellow tying thread, it is now formed in a variety of colours using both thread, floss and fine dubbings. The most widely used colours are yellow, red olive and orange. A size 10 version, sporting a bright red floss body, is a great favourite with Irish anglers at Mayfly time!
Hook Size 10-14 Thread To match body
colour Tailand wing Moose or deer
hair Body Yellow, olive or red floss
Hackle Brown and grizzle cock hackles
1. Catch the tying thread in at the eye and run it down the hook shank to form a solid base.
2. Leaving room at the eye, tie in a bunch of deer hairs to form the tail.
3. Trim away any waste butt fibres and bind down the bundle of deer hair.
4. Tie in the second bunch of deer hair which will form the shell-back and wing.
5. Remove any stray fibres and tie in a length of yellow floss silk.
6. Form the body by carefully winding the yellow floss over the deer hair.
7. Form a smooth body and trim away the unwanted floss.
8. Bring the bunch of deer hair back over the body and tie it down with tight turns of thread. Be sure to leave plenty of room for the hackle.
9. Divide the deer hair into two equal bunches and fix them in place with a figure-of-eight movement of the tying thread.
10. Strip away the soft flue from the base of a light brown hackle and a grizzle cock hackle and secure them in behind the wing.
11. Grasp the hackle tips in the pliers and make four or five turns to form a dense hackle. Secure and trim away the waste feathers. Cast off the tying thread at the eye with a whip finish.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
Predominantly a fly of summer and sedge time, this unusual pattern has gained a reputation as being a good all-round dry-fly that performs especially well on a rough stream.
W H E N
The combination of deer-hair tail and shell-back give a fair impression of an insect struggling to break free from the nymphal shuck. Dressed small, the trout probably see it as an emerging olive and in larger versions, as a hatching sedge.
H O W
The Humpy should be fished on a floating line with a tapered leader of around 4 lb to 6 lb breaking strain. It is normally fished singly, either cast to intercept an individual feeding fish or into an area where trout are feeding on the emerging insects.
T Y I N G T I P
For the wing and back to be in proportion, the bunch of deer hair must be a little more than twice the length of the hook shank.