July 30th, 2007

By Dave Pearson, PA

The weather has been remarkably screwy as of late. I haven't actually looked at the statistics, but I'd say the temperature is a bit cooler than is normal for this time of year – on average. During the course of the day, the temperature can vary wildly from highs in the mid 90's to lows in the 60's. There are mini cold fronts which move in and bring with them clouds, wind, and much thunder, but little if any rain. And if it does rain, it's extremely localized; maybe an area three or four hundred yards across. And the rain, for all the fuss and blunder of the wind and thunder, will be brief and gentle, barely wetting the top ˝ inch of top soil. That means a few drops for the blades and none for the roots. The grass is still brown and the streams are still low, but the water, where you can find it, is still fishable early in the morning.

So, early last Thursday I was back on the creek. At sunrise the sky was blue, but shortly thereafter, the clouds moved in, the wind picked up, and the sky spritzed a bit of water onto the stream. Then the sky brightened and the whole cycle started again – five times between sunrise and mid- morning.

The fishing was surprisingly good, considering the weirdness of the weather; or perhaps because of it. I started with an ant, went to a beetle, and struck pay dirt with a cricket. The fish were holding in the holes and deeper runs. No big surprise there, the holes and runs are the only parts of the stream left which have any water. The wind and the rain masked my approach, so I was able to fish a bit less "far and fine" than usual for this time of year. After I brought several fish to hand using the cricket, I changed flies.

I think most everyone who ties his own flies wishes he were Leonard Halladay. I know I do.

Leonard Halladay was the man who, in 1922, invented the Adams dry fly. The Adams dry fly was first fished on the Broadman River in Michigan by Charles F. Adams. He had great success with the fly and Mr. Halladay generously named the fly after him. Today, the fly is the most popular dry fly in America and has spawned thousands of variations.

And if I can't be the next Leonard Halladay and invent the most popular fly in America, maybe I can be the next Hans Weilenmann and develop a fly as universally effective as his CDC and Elk caddis. Failing at that, maybe I can be the next Jim Hepner and develop ties which work on Spring creek and Penns creek when nothing else will get so much as a second glance from the fish.

`But most likely, I'll continue as I've been going and develop a few modest variations on existing patterns that I can call, at least partly, my own. Or I can take the working qualities from a couple of existing patterns and combine them in hopes ending up with a marginal attractor pattern rather than a fur and feather catastrophe. Or I can guess at what someone else has done, try to mimic it, and get lucky.

On a Pennsylvania fly fishing board a post title caught my eye. "Humpinator recipe anyone?" I thought "humpinator" was some oblique reference to Joe Humphreys and since I'm interested in any and all things Joe Humphreys, I opened the thread and read the querry. Seems the poster had found a youtube video which featured two guys fly fishing and having great success. They were also quite vocal and every time one or the other had a strike, someone would shout "Awesome! The humpinator strikes again." Or just "humpinator!" So the poster wanted to know what this pattern was.

No one on the board knew. The video never gave you a clear shot of the fly, but I made a guess and thought the fly was a cross between a humpy and a stimulator. Now, there is a name besides "humpinator" which springs to mind as a logical cross between the words 'humpy' and 'stimulator,' and this could have been what was shouted in the video, but I'll forgo the innuendo and stick with the name as it was christened by the poster.

I imagined a cross between a humpy and a stimulator. I sat at the vise and tied in a short elk hair tail on a size 14, 3x hook. Then I wrapped the butt ends of the elk hair half–way up the shank, folded the butts back over the hook and wrapped them back to the tie-in point of the tail. Then I dubbed the back half of the hook and pulled the butts over the dubbing forming a shell that went half–way over the hook. So much for the humpy portion. Then I tied in a down wing of elk, dubbed and palmered a few turns of hackle on the front of the hook, thus completing the 'stimulator' portion. Popped it out of the vise and, Ta Da! Instant humpinator.

Thursday morning, in the wind and the mini rainstorms, I removed my cricket and and gave the humpinator some time on the water. And what do you know? It worked as well as it had in the video.

It's certainly not the next Adams, nor is it in the same league as the CDC and elk. I can't even claim it as mine! But I will tie up a few more and keep them handy. Hmmm...maybe in a few more colors ...and a bit of flash in the tail...and a marabou underwing? ~ Dave - (black gnat)

About Dave:

Dave Pearson lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania with his loving wife, Gillian, and two dogs, Casey and Booboo. His passion is small mountain streams. He teaches guitar for a living. You may contact Dave at: pdewey2@aol.com

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