Project Description


Pattern Description:

First off, yes, I know there is another method for tying the Humpy. This tutorial will show a much more consistent method of tying the Humpy and in a much easier manner. The original version depends (too) largely on measuring the proportions to the micro-millimeter, while this new version will eliminate that variable. I have always loved the Humpy, and have even more affection for this new version as it is almost fool proof. I like to tie Humpies in Florescent Green, Yellow, Tan and Orange. The Red and Royal versions never did much for me, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work. Go dig out the hooks, hair, hackle and thread and get to work.

Pattern Description:

Materials Needed:

Hook: TMC 100SP-BL #12-18

Thread: 70 Denier UTC or Veevus 14/0,  color of choice

Tail: Moose or Elk Hock

Wings: Yearling Elk Hair

Body: Butt ends of wings

Hackle: Brown and grizzly rooster neck or saddle, mixed

Step 1

Start the thread at the mid-point on the shank and wrap a thread base back to the bend.

Step 2

Cut a clump of moose hock from the hide and clean out the underfur. Stack up about a dozen fibers and measure them against the shank so they are equal to one shank length long.

Step 3

Tie this clump of hair in at the bend so the tips extend one shank length beyond the hook bend. Wrap forward over the butt ends to the mid-point on the shank and then clip the excess.

Step 4

Continue wrapping a thread base all the way up to the hook eye. Return the thread to the seventy-five percent point.

Step 5

Cut a relatively large clump of yearling elk from the hide. Clean out the underfur and short hairs. Stack the hair so the tips are even. You want a finished clump of hair that is big enough to make two wings on the fly. It takes a bit more than you are prone to think. Measure the tips of the hair against the shank so they are equal to the shank length.

Step 6

Place the tips of the hair on the shank so they point out over the hook eye. Make two wraps of thread around the hair and the hook at the seventy-five percent point, but not too tightly. The tips should extend out from the tie-in point about one shank length.

Step 7

Hold the tips on top of the hook and draw the thread wraps tight by pulling the thread TOWARD you, not down. Tightening the thread this way will keep the hair from rolling around the hook shank. Cinch the thread down until the hair is completely compressed (crushed) under the thread turns. Do not let go of the butt ends of the hair just yet.

Step 8

Wrap the thread back toward the bend of the hook, over the hair, for a distance of about and eye length or so. This band of thread will hold the hair in place making it safe to let go of the butt ends now.

Step 9

Separate a little more than half of the butt ends of the hair from the remaining butt ends. I try to remove the top half+ of the hair I tied in for the wings. Clip the hair as close to the hook as you can.

Step 10

Should look a little like this…maybe make your cut a bit closer than I did mine.

Step 11

Lift the remaining butt ends of the hair up above the hook and spiral wrap the thread back over them to the bend of the hook, taking care to keep them on top of the hook shank.

Step 12

Step 13

Be sure to wrap ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE BASE OF THE TAIL when binding the hair down.

Step 14

Return the thread to the base of the wing clump. don’t worry about covering the space between the bend and the wing with thread just yet…we’ll catch up to that part in a minute.

Step 15

Pull the tips of the hair up and back along the top of the shank, exposing the hook shank in front of the wings.

Step 16

Make a thread dam (wedge of thread) right up against the base of the wing. Use this thread dam to prop the wing more toward upright. It doesn’t have to be completely upright, but the closer the better.

Step 17

See what I mean? The wing is more upright than it was, but probably not at a true 90 degree angle just yet. No big deal. Don’t make a thousand wraps of thread trying to get it to 90. We don’t need the bulk!

Step 18

Turn the hook (your vise jaws) toward you slightly. Divide the tips of the hair into two equal clumps with your fingers. Pull each clump out a bit so it will stay separate from the other.

Step 19

With the thread hanging at the back of the wing clump, make three to six turns of thread from the back/near side of the near wing to the front/far side of the wing. make a single turn of thread all the way around the shank in front of the wings to anchor everything down.

Step 20

Make another three to six tight turns of thread from the near side of the front wing to the back side of the far wing. You are making X-wraps through the wings to separate them from each other. make another turn around the hook to lock everything in place.

Step 21

Looks like this now, right?

Step 22

Post the base of the far wing by wrapping the thread around the base of the wing, creating a small thread “post” at its base. I wrap clock-wise, but it really makes no difference which way you go. Make about six to eight turns of thread around the base of the wing. Three or four tuns going up, and three or four turns going back down. Once the wing is posted, take a turn of thread around the hook shank behind the wings.

Step 23

Repeat the posting process on the near wing in the same manner. Finish with a wrap around the hook shank.

Step 24

You ought to have two nicely posted wings like this now. If your wings aren’t at right angles to the hook shank, pull them so they are. The wings should also be at about a 45 degree angle to each other.

Step 25

Front view of the completed hair wings. Pretty cool, huh?

Step 26

Now, wrap the thread back and forth from the 60% point to the bend of the hook, forming a smooth thread body. This body should be somewhat bulbous, but needn’t be too fat. Try to keep the thread bulk to a minimum right behind the wings as we want to reserve that space for tying in the hackles later.

Step 27

Leave the thread hanging at the sixty percent point. Pull the butt ends of the hair forward over the top of the hook shank. Give the hair clump about a half twist as you do this to keep it bundled together.

Step 28

Spin the tying thread so it is corded up a bit. This corded thread will bite into the hair better than the flat thread. Bind the butt ends of the hair down at the sixty percent point with a couple firm wraps of thread.

Step 29

Clip the butt ends of the hair flush against the shank.

Step 30

Wrap over the remaining stub ends of the hair forming a smooth thread base for the hackle.

Step 31

Size and select one grizzly and one brown hackle feather. Make sure that they are both the same hackle size (in this case, they are both #14). Even the butt ends and clip the fluff from the bases. Peel a few fibers from the base of the stems, exposing the center quill so you have bare stem that is equal to slightly more than half of the hook shank. The thread should be hanging at the immediate front edge of the body. Lay the hackles against the hook with the stripped butts facing forward. the butt ends should extend to just behind the hook eye and extend to the back just a couple eye lengths BEHIND the front edge of the body. Wrap thread forward over the stripped stems up to the wing. I have done this with a minimum amount of thread wraps here so the tie down is more visible.

Step 32

Here’s the big version of the previous pic…does this help?

Step 33

Continue forward wrapping over the quills to just behind the hook eye. You shouldn’t have to trim off any excess stem if you payed attention and did it right when you tied them in.

Step 34

Wrap back to the front edge of the body, then forward again to the hook eye, firmly anchoring down the hackles. Incidentally, you should have the outside of the feathers facing out toward you so they will wrap with the outside forward. Sorry I didn’t mention that earlier.

Step 35

Alright, now the thread is hanging right behind the hook eye and we are about to make our first turn of hackle. Pull both feathers tightly and begin to wrap them over the top of the hook. Note the bare stem here for the first half of the hackle wrap. This bare section (remember we left some of that bare stem hanging back when we tied the hackles in) keeps the hackle fibers from trying to stick out toward the rear of the fly on the first turn. I am sure you have seen those flies with sloppy hackle collars like that. Don’t be that guy!

Step 36

Wrap the hackle feathers forward (yes, both at the same time) taking care to make the wraps as upright and as close together as you can. Wrap three or four turns of hackle (that means 6-8 if you do the math with two feathers) up to the wings.

Step 37

Bring the hackles to the front of the wings by crossing from back to front on the bottom of the hook. Continue wrapping the hackles forward right up to about an eye length back from the hook eye.  Tie both hackle feathers off with the thread right up behind the hook eye. To do this cleanly, pull both hackle feathers straight up and make a vertical turn of thread over them to tie them down. If you pull the feathers out over the hook eye, you will trap more fibers and end up with a bulky head. Don’t do that!

Step 38

Clip the tips of the hackle feathers as close to the hook as you can. Use the tips of your finest scissors here so you make a good clean close cut. Make a few turns of thread to cover the stubs. Whip finish and clip the thread.

Step 39

Top quarter view.

Step 40

Bottom view.