Our Man In Canada
August 11th, 2003

Serendipity Flies and the Snowshoe IOBO Humpy

By Sheldon Seale

Some of the deadliest fly patterns have their origins in serendipity: they were created by accident - by tyers attempting to tie patterns for which they had incomplete imformation. I can think of at least half dozen flies which qualify, including the Canadian version of Hamill's Killer (watch out for tying instructions for this effective Maurice Howe varient of a popular New Zealand pattern in a future issue of The Canadian Fly Fisher).

However, I IOBO Humpy has the unique distinction of being a double serendipity fly. It started with the IOBO (short for It Oughta Be Outlawed), which was created by Jack Tucker of Pennsylvanis when he was trying to tie a CDC and Elk (an invention of Hans Weilermann of the Netherlands) without complete tying instructions. He tied in the CDC feather by the butt rather than the tip at the bend of the hook. After he'd wound it forward and tied it off, he was intrigued by the tuft of tip fibres sticking our over the eye. Instread of trimming them off, he left them on. The result was a fly which caught fish when nothing else did - the IOBO.

But it didn't end there. Tucker tried tying in the CDC feather by the butt just behind the eye rather than at the bend, wound it back to the bend, secured it, ribbed the body with thread, pulled the tip forward over the back, and tied off leaving the tip out over the eye. Bingo! The IOBO Humpy, which proved to be equaly, if not more effective than the original IOBO.

Nevertheless, despite the effectiveness of both IOBO patterns, they suffer from a major drawback: The CDC tends to slime up with each fish caught and the fly has to be thoroughly dried before it can be use effectively again. However, this problem can be overcome by substituting hair from the foot of a snowshoe rabbit for the CDC. Showshoe hair is waterproof and resistant to sliming, which eliminates the need for painstaking drying.

The Snowshoe IOBO Humpy

    This is a small fly, necessitating fine thread and fine wire hooks. The hook in the photos is a fine wire scud hook, size 16.

    Hook: Any fine wire, down or ring eye dry fly or scud hook, sizes 16-24.

    Thread: 8/0 or 11/0, to match body.

    Body: Tuft of snowshoe rabbit foot hair, natural or dyed dun or olive, secured along hook with thread.

    Shellback: Same tuft of hair, tied postlike, angled out over the hook eye.

Tying Notes

Step 1: I start by cutting out a tuft of snowshoe foot hair from the middle of the foot where the hair is longest. Remove some of the underfur and measure the hair to at least twice the overall hook length. Trim the hair at the butt ends and tie in at the hook bend, leaving enough of the butt ends to reach along the hook shank to the eye, with the tips sticking out beyond the bend.

Step 2: Sprial the thread along the hair along the hook shank to form the rib. As you are doing this, be sure the hair surrounds the hook shank. Secure the hair just back of the hook eye with a couple of tight wraps of thread.

Step 3: Pull the hair tips forward over the back of the fly and tie the hair down pointing out over the eye with a couple of turns of thread. To form the wing, take 2-3 turns around the hair to form a post-like wing that slopes out over the hook eye. Tie off the thread in front of the post, trim the thread and apply a little lacquer if you wish.

Fishing Notes

Fish as any dry fly, especially when you can't see any insect activity. The fly should hang in the surface film, so any floatant should be confined to the wing. The take can be subtle, so stay alert.

Current Issue

As this pattern sits so low in the water, it can be difficult to see. Try a little strike putty about 40 cm up on your tippet. If you see a swirl or boil near the putty, raise your rod gently to see if your fly was taken. Remember, it's a small pattern and it won't take much to break off or pull off. Just take the slack out of the line and let the fish do the rest.

As always, we encourage the readers to let the magazine know about your successes with the patterns described in each issue. You can contact us by e-mail at canflyfish@sympatico.ca or on the Net at www.canflyfish.com ~ Sheldon Seale


We thank the Canadian Fly Fisher for re-print permission!

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