Goofus Bug, aka Humpy

Photo by Matthew Grobert, Tightline Productions
Photo by Matthew Grobert, Tightline Productions

Guest Blogger: Paul Beel, FrankenFly

A lot of people don’t know this, but the original name for the Humpy is Goofus Bug, made popular by Pat Barnes. I’ve grabbed some excerpts out of Pat’s book “Ribbons of Blue” to help tell the story. First a brief story of how the pattern first came on the scene and then how Orvis started the “Humpy” name.

“The original fly came from California with Jack Horner. Jack was a talker. He claimed it caught fish everywhere. The fly he showed me was tied with one bunch of deer hair and one gray hackle. I was not impressed. He said he could tie one in a minute. I was still not impressed.
But later in the summer on Cliff Lake, with rising fish and a California customer, I cast one of Jack’s specials, tied to a 6X tippet. I struck a fish, lost the fly; tied on another from his box. One cast more in a different direction, another strike, another fish. This one came to net with my first fly in his mouth, leader dangling. I was impressed. I removed both flies, put the fish back, put the first fly in my hat with the leader dangling.
When I told this story to fishermen the next day they asked for a similar fly, goofy as it was. We kept busy tying this fly the rest of the summer under the name Goofus Bug.”

“In 1972, an Orvis representative asked if I knew of any new or unique dry fly patterns. I showed him the Goofus Bug. The 1973 Orvis catalog premiered a new fly called the “Humpy.”

It was Jack Dennis, Wyoming author, fly tier and tackler dealer, who really popularized the name Humpy. He blended the Goofus and Royal Wulff, using calf tail for wings, a red underbody, and moose hairs for the tail, to create what he called the “Royal Humpy.” In 1974, the fly came the focal point of the cover of the book, Western Trout Fly Tying Manual.”

So there you have it. Hopefully that helps clear some things up about the name of this great pattern.

Materials List for the Goofus Bug (aka Humpy)

Dry Fly Hook (Sizes 10-14)
Uni Thread (Use size 8/0 or 6/0 in tan, brown, gray or olive.)
Elk Hair (Natural, black, olive or dun. Use fine hair, the less hollow the better.)
Dry Fly Hackle (Grizzly and brown hackle wrapped together.)
Dry Fly Dubbing (Match the insects or try another color. Dubbing could be synthetic or natural.)