How to fish the Humongous fly pattern for reservoir trout

The Humongous (or humungus) fly pattern is one of the most productive patterns for big trout, perch and pike on small stillwaters and reservoirs.

How to fish the Humongous fly pattern for reservoir trout
© Fly and Lure
How to fish the Humongous fly pattern for reservoir trout
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
How to fish the Humongous fly pattern for reservoir trout
Fly fishing tips Estimated reading time 6 - 10 minutes

What is the Humongous fly pattern?

The Humongous (or Humungous or Humungus, depending on your spelling) is a large lure pattern based on similar lines to the popular woolly bugger fly. It's a great pattern to use during the autumn fry bashing period, when reservoir trout are fattening themselves up for winter by feeding upon the coarse fish fry that have grown on during the warmer months.

This is a great lure pattern for the autumn and winter months.

It's one of the most widely used larger trout lures used on small UK stillwater fisheries, though it is most commonly used on reservoirs to target larger trout, especially browns. While it's normally tied as a weighted fly, you can easily turn it into a booby pattern and scale it up or down to suit whatever the trout are feeding upon.

Browns often fall to the Humongous.

What other fish will take a Humongous fly?

I've no idea why, but besides trout, the Humongous is one of the most productive fly patterns to use to catch perch and pike on the fly. Both species really love this lure and it's not uncommon to catch either species when targeting rainbow and brown trout on reservoirs, especially in the autumn months.

Pike and perch love a Huey.

What fly line should I use to fish this lure?

As the Huey is a weighted fly and uses a bead or chain bead eyes, it can be fished on a floating line and still get down a couple of feet. However, an intermediate or sinking line is probably most commonly used, especially on the reservoirs.

The bead or chain bead eyes are there primarily for appearance and for adding a bit of a jigging action to the fly on the retrieve. Some people tie them using large gauge chain bead or even use lead dumbbell eyes to help improve the action and make them jump around a bit more on the retrieve. Use whatever line you need to get the fly down to the depth at which the fish are feeding.

You can fish this pattern on a sinker, intermediate or floating line.

What retrieves work best with the Humongous?

The Humongous is a lure pattern so it's usually pulled or stripped back in to imitate a fleeing baitfish. The speed of the retrieve should be varied within the cast and during the session until you find what works. On some days, the fish will only want the fly if it's retrieved at a particularly speed, so try long pulls, slow pulls, short jerky strips and the roly poly retrieve until you figure it out.

A fast retrieve isn't always required. Sometimes a few strips followed by a pause will result in a take and in the winter months on small stillwaters I've even seen people fishing these under a bung!

Vary your retrieve to find what works.

How can I improve turnover when fishing bulky lures like this?

A thicker, stiffer leader really makes a big difference to aiding turnover when fishing bulky and weighted flies like the Humongous. Although some people don't like them and favour straight level tippet instead, I find a tapered leader with a thick butt section is best for such big flies, as it transfers the energy from the fly line far better.

I'd start off with a very thick butt section of maybe 20lb mono or fluorocarbon, preferably in the form of a heavy tapered leader and then attach a large leader ring, like one of the big Riverge Leader Rings. This helps you preserve the lifespan of the tapered leader by letting you attach fresh tippet throughout your session without the need to cut the tapered leader down. A thick tippet of 10-12lb fluorocarbon will finish things off and should give you decent turnover.

While you can turnover a longer leader with a big fly, you'll find it easier with a shorter one - 12-14' is doable for most people, but good casters should be able to handle 18' with the right casting action. In windy weather I'd drop the leader length down to maybe 9-10' to help avoid tangles, though the thicker line should also help reduce these.

A self-made knotted tapered leader or a one-piece manufactured one will aid turnover.

What materials will I need to tie this fly pattern?

This is a fairly easy lure pattern to tie, even for the beginner. The pattern is usually tied on a size 8 or 10 short shank wide gape hook, like a Kamasan B175 or Fulling Mill Competition Heavyweight. You can use any beads you like on the head, from a standard brass or tungsten bead, to chain bead eyes or even lead dumbbells for extra weight.

The tail consists of a generous clump of marabou, usually in black or white, plus a few strands of flash in silver or gold. The body is the trickiest bit to get right. There's an underbody of sparkly gold or silver fritz, with a grizzy hackle feather over the top which is held in place with a wire rib. It takes a little practice to get right, but is fairly easy to master.

This is a fairly easy pattern to tie.

What are the best Humungous fly patterns?

I'd recommend tying or buying a mixture of black and white flies, with either gold or silver flash. There's no reason why other colours wouldn't work, though, so feel free to be creative and come up with your own design. Here are three basic patterns to show you how it's done.


HM Fly Fishing / YouTube.

Hook: Kamasan B175 size 8
Bead: 2.5mm brass bead
Tail: Black marabou feathers
Thread: Black thread
Rib: Fine silver wire
Underbody: Gold metallic dubbing
Body: Grizzly hackle


FlyFishFood / YouTube.

Hook: Fulling Mill Heavyweight Champ size 10
Bead: 3.3mm tungsten bead in nickel
Tail: Black marabou feathers
Flash: Silver Flashabou 6901
Thread: Black thread
Rib: 7X tippet
Underbody: Silver tinsel chenille
Body: Whiting grizzly hackle

Mini humungus

AP Fly Tying / YouTube.

Hook: Fulling Mill Heavyweight Champ size 8
Bead: 3mm chain bead eyes
Tail: Black marabou feathers
Thread: Veevus 10/0 black thread
Rib: Fine gold wire
Underbody: Silver UV micro straggle fritz
Body: Grizzly hackle

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