For anyone whose has targeted pink salmon in Puget Sound rivers or off the many saltwater beaches, it’s no secret that they have an affinity for small pink flies. When it comes down to it, they actually seem to greatly prefer them to large pink Buzz Bombs, spoons and other hardware commonly cast their way.
The Humpy Charlie has been around in some local iteration for a long time. Years ago, a Whidbey regular, Carl tossed his very effective version of a Pink Charlie off the beaches with great success. I used to run into him just about every time I went and he was a pretty well-known local figure and wonderful guy, though I haven’t seen him around in a few years.
The Charlie originated as a bonefish pattern and with its calf tail beard and ability to ride hook point up, made for an easy and effective shrimp imitation on tropical flats. The Humpy Charlie’s marabou wing provides a little more salmon enticing action but the eyes that help invert the hook still work wonders to keep the pattern out of mussel beds in the Sound or fly-snatching rocks and sticks in fthe rivers. Feel free to tinker with the body material and specific flash in the wing, as well as the shade of pink for the marabou. Sometimes in really clear water a medium softer pink works better, while a dark cerise or fuchsia wing tends to produce better in waters with a glacial tint. You can adjust the weight of the eyes as needed for deeper or shallower water, making this one a pretty versatile template for humpy fly. You can get all the materials for this one at the Confluence and whip up a dozen or more pretty quickly before chasing pink salmon on the Skagit.
Humpy Charlie Recipe:
Hook: #6 Daiichi 2546
Thread: Fl. Pink 140 Denier Ultra Thread
Eyes: Large Silver Bead Chain
Body: Holographic Silver Diamond Braid
Wing: Fl. Hot Pink Marabou
Flash: Micro Pearlescent and Pink GITD Flashabou
The Confluence Beer Pairing: One of things I always marvel at during odd years when pink salmon swarm Puget Sound is the sheer number of humpies that migrate up the Duwamish/Green River. What’s even more remarkable is that when I was a kid growing up near the Green River Valley, the Green didn’t get a return of pinks. These amazing colonizers now return en masse to one of the most urban and polluted waterways around Seattle.
I figured I’d pick a beer brewed close to the Green this month. Seapine Brewing Company is located in the Sodo district of Seattle, just skipping distance from where the Duwamish River dumps into Elliott Bay. I had their IPA with dinner the other night and found it to be a pleasantly citrusy, not overly bitter West Coast style IPA. Give it a drink as you’re prepping for your next pink salmon excursion. I certainly plan to, though despite the large run heading into the Green River these days, I’d still much rather spend my time on the Skagit. Far, far away from the chaos and congestion of the big city.