Fly Tying The Humpy
August 20, 2013
Fly Tying The Humpy step-by-steps and video with expert tier Charlie Craven.
Hook: TMC 100SPBL #8-18
Thread: UTC 70 Denier, color of choice
Tail: Moose Hock
Wings/Body Hump: Yearling Elk Hair
Underbody: Tying Thread
Hackle: Brown and Grizzly Rooster Hackle
Tying The Humpy Step 9 of 23
Bring the thread to the immediate front edge of the wing and build a thread dam against the base of this front edge to prop the hair upright on the shank.
Tying The Humpy
Tying The Humpy Step 1 of 23
Start the thread at the mid-point on the shank ands wrap a single layer thread base back to the bend.
Tying The Humpy Step 2 of 23
Cut, clean and stack a small clump of moose or elk hock hair. Measure this clump of hair to one shank length long.
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Tie the moose hock in at the bend. Wrap forward over the butt ends of the moose hair to the mid-point on the shank and clip the butt ends.
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Wrap the thread all the way up to the hook eye, forming a smooth single layer thread base. Return the thread to the seventy-five percent point. Cut clean and stack a generous clump of yearling elk hair. Measure the tips of the hair so they are equal to one shank length long.
Tying The Humpy Step 4 of 23
Place the base of this clump of elk hair at the 75% point so the tips extend forward one shank length. Make two taut wraps around the hair.
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Pull the bobbin toward you to tighten the first two thread wraps and flare the hair in place on the top of the shank.
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Form a tight band of thread to anchor the hair tips. Separate slightly more than half of the butt ends of the hair at the back edge of the thread band. I try to make this half the top half of the hair in the butt ends. Reach in with the tips of your scissors and clip out the top half of this hair as close to the shank as you can.
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Hold the remaining butt ends of the hair taut and above the hook shank and wrap back over them with spiraling wraps all the way back to the base of the tail.
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Return the thread to the back edge of the wing clump. Lift the elk hair tips up and back to sweep the wing fibers back along the hook shank.
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Divide the hair tips into two equal bunches. Bring the thread to the back edge of the wing.
Make five or six wraps diagonally through the center of the two wings bunches, from the back near side of the shank to the front/ far side.
Tying The Humpy Step 11 of 23
Before you go on to making the second set of diagonal wraps, make an '˜anchor'™ wrap of thread around the hook shank behind the wings. Make five or six more tight diagonal wraps from the front near side of the wings to the back far side and follow them up with an anchor wrap around the shank at the back edge of the wings.
Tying The Humpy Step 12 of 23
Post the base of the far wing by wrapping from the bottom of the hair up about an eye length or so and back down again. This post wrap should bundle the hair into a nice even clump. Make an anchor wrap around the shank before going on to posting the near wing.
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Post the near wing in the same manner as you did above, including the finishing anchor wrap.
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You should now have two nicely divided, upright hair wings.
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Now, wrap back over the elk hair underbody forming a smooth thread hump from the base of the tail to the sixty percent point on the shank.
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Pull the butt ends of the elk hair forward over the top of the hook shank and up to the tips of the wings. Hold the butt ends of the elk in your thread hand and give them about a half twist to keep them bundled neatly together.
Tying The Humpy Step 17 of 23
Hold the elk hair taut above the hook and bring the thread up and over the hair, but do not let the thread pull the hair down to the shank yet. Make another turn right on top of the first over the hair at the sixty percent point. Now, reach down and pull the bobbin straight down to pull the hair down on the top dead center of the hook shank.
Tying The Humpy Step 18 of 23
Clip the remaining butt ends of the elk hair as close as you can to the shank.
Use the thread to cover the remaining stub ends of the hump, forming a smooth thread base for the hackle.
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Select, size and prepare a brown and grizzly rooster feather. Strip the butt ends of both feathers so there is a half shank length of bare stem. Tie these two feathers in at the same time at the front edge of the hair hump with the insides of the feathers facing in toward the hook shank. Wrap forward over the butt ends of the feathers to the back edge of the wing.
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Continue wrapping forward over the butt ends of the feathers all the way up to the back of the hook eye.
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Begin wrapping both feathers at the same time. Make three or four tight wraps of hackle forward from the front edge of the body to the back edge of the wings.
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Cross to the front of the wings on the underside of the hook shank and wrap both feathers two or three more turns to the hook eye and tie them off with a couple firm wraps of thread. Clip the excess hackle tips flush against the hook.
Tying The Humpy Step 23 of 23
Build a smooth thread head to cover the stub ends of the hackle and whip finish.
Fly Tying The Humpy
There are few flies that strike fear into the hearts of fly tiers like the Humpy. Popularized by Jack Dennis and his Western Trout Fly Tying Manual, the Humpy is the quintessential Western attractor dry but has a reputation for being difficult to tie.
The original, complicated tying process used the same hank of elk hair for the hump and the wing and left little room for error. Because of its inherent trickiness, the Humpy is frequently a fly that gets bought rather than tied, and as a result has fallen somewhat by the wayside with some anglers.
The Humpy, however, is still firmly in my top five favorite dry flies. I especially love it when I'm raking in so many fish people ask: "What are you using?" They often expect some technical answer about a half-spent CDC stuck-in-the-shuck crippled emerging Baetasaurus rex. When I answer "a Humpy" they seem to think I'm lying!
Lack of respect from match-the-hatch fly fishers probably owes to the fact that the complicated hair wings and folded elk hair hump do little to mimic the shape of any single natural bug. Its bushy silhouette is often frowned upon these days as too chunky or bulky to fool picky fish.
Well, I am here to tell you that this just ain't true. I have caught many large trout from some of Colorado's most technical waters using a Humpy as a fly finder along with a smaller, more realistic pattern.