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Tell us about the Humpy

The Izaak Walton Report

January 20, 2012
Blaine Kloppenborg , The Daily Freeman Journal

The clipping is still pinned to the bulletin board in my den. Got a minute? I'll pull it off and read it to you. It's about the old Humpy fishing lure and it had the best wiggle and wobble of them all.

It was a banana bait like the Bena Eel, Lazy Ike, Brooks Reefer, Helin Flatfish, etc. But the Humpy ah, the Humpy. I'll tell you what I know about it, and then I hope you can tell us what you know about it.The originator was a gentleman by the name of Earl Stewart, a local painter. He carved them out of wood and painted them sometime around 1935. Later on, a Bud Elbert from Spirit Lake, who made a living by selling fishing tackle out the back of his station wagon, sold the lures for Earl. And then later on, Elbert carved the lures and Stewart painted them. That was labor intensive, so he molded them out of plastic, brought them to Earl who painted them. Somewhere along the line, the operation was sold to Hans Dickinson, Bob Olson and Ken Green. Later, Hans and Green sold out to Ken Green. I'm not sure my facts are correct, but that's roughly how the Humpy story goes.

We think the Humpy is still being manufactured, and there is good reason to believe it is alive and well somewhere down in Florida and being manufactured in both fresh water and salt water versions. The Webster City museum (Historic Building and Information Center) located in Wilson Brewer Park is devoting considerable time and space for the Humpy Lure and information about it.

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You of the younger generation probably have never heard of the Humpy. Pity. It was one of the best. It still is.

I bought most of mine from Dick Jones when he owned and operated Sports World sporting goods store. Several times this grand old lure has been on the brink of becoming lost to history. It belongs where the legends live. Sadly, it is one of those hall of fame lures that for one reason or another never quite made it to the Fishing Hall of Fame. It was and still is one of those lures that caught walleyes in lakes where no other lure could catch them. As a small mouth bass lure, it had no equal. The old timers stalked the dark shadows of the rivers at night in search of bass and northerns with their then secret lure.

It was coveted. It was sacred. It was the cat's meow. It was the bee's knees. It was all things to all anglers. It was then and still is, one of the best and most successful fishing lures every built. For smallmouth, it was the "go-to" lure. The one you could swear by and take to the bank. It was made right here in Webster City. It was then and still is the one single lure that everybody had to have. The reason? It caught fish.

Every tackle box contained at least one or more Humpy lures. Back in those days, money was hard to come by. It still is, but when a fisherman could afford only a few fishing lures this is the one they bought. An angler could never have enough Humpys. It was then, and still is - as the saying goes, "the hostess with the mostess" because it put fish on the stringer; it put food on the table. It caught fish when nothing else would. And it was built like a bulldozer. Strong. Really strong.

You know, I really like that old Humpy. Sometimes I put a tiny white Mister Twister on the tail and use it for walleyes. Other times, I pinched off a tiny bit of night crawler and hook it on the back hook and use it for yellow perch.

Well, that's all I really know about the Humpy. Any information you might have about this lure such as colors, sizes, sales outlets, dates, etc. - anything at all - please contact Nancy Kayser at 832-5107, or Darlene Dingman at 832-1619. These two ladies are gathering as much information as they can get their hands on for the Depot Museum. Any information you can give them - any information at all - will be enormously appreciated.

Hunting seasons

Rooster pheasant season closed Jan. 10. Resident hunting licenses and fishing licenses are due for renewal. Bobwhite Quail season closed Jan. 31. Gray Partridge season closes Jan. 31. Ruffed grouse season closes Jan. 31. Rabbit (cottontail) season closes Feb. 28. Squirrel (fox and gray) closes Jan. 31. Crow season reopened (second season) Jan. 14 and remains open until March 31. Pigeon season closed March 31. Fur bearing hunting seasons on raccoon and opossum and fox (red and gray) close Jan. 31. The trapping seasons for raccoon, muskrat, fox (red and gray), coyote, opossum and striped skunk close on Jan. 31. Beaver closed on April 15.

And now have a good weekend.



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