Jump to content
Fly Tying
Rusty Shackleford

Royal Wulff Wing Material Substitute?

Recommended Posts

I see that the Royal Wulff pattern calls for calf hair for the wings, is there any reason I cannot substitute McFlylon for wings on flies with this type of wing? I don't have any calf hair and I'm tired of buying something new every time I want to tie something haha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

z-lon, poly yarn, snowshoe, etc.  In my book they're all acceptable, even bright colors for better visibility.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are no unbreakable rules in tying.  They are called variations.  Any material that is close can be used.  No fish has a "rulebook."  Try it out if it works keep on doing it.  If not find other materials.  Most of mine are tied with white macrame cord for wings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've tied them with bucktail, in fact started out that way and caught some really nice salmon on those too. Calf tail is traditional, it lends it's own look. On mine the hairs are pretty short and also slippery to tie in but I do prefer that look.  Lately I don't split the wings though, I just do it post style as if to tie a parachute fly but I tie them traditional other than the post wing.. I believe I've used antron too many moons ago.

It's an awesome fly. I tie them only size 10 or larger and drift them over fussy big fish in the middle of a caddis hatch ( yes I know that makes no sense) and had those big fussy rising salmon grab one. You know the fish, that one in the pool that only showed himself three times in 4 hours of fishing but you know he is there. Wait a few minutes before the sun drops out of sight, set up a drift just short of his position so you don't line him, then let out that extra 3 ft of line so the fly lands up stream and will drift right over him and sure enough he nails the RW. Set the hook hard and hang on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you do use a synthetic, consider tapering it very slightly towards the tips. Since you can’t stack calf tail, it often ends up being slightly tapered, which I think lends itself to the fly’s appeal. Great fly, just tied a whole bunch the other day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Rusty Shackleford said:

let y'all know how it turned out

looking forward to seeing them.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, flytire said:

use white bucktail

lee wulff did

I've heard a few say this before, but this quote from Skip Morris' "Fly Tying Made Clear and Simple" seems to suggest Wulff was flexible with regards to material selection:

"Lee is quite open-minded regarding materials for his Wulff series - calf tail or even elk hair could be used for the wings and tail, and yarn could be used for the body."

Personally, I have no problem using bucktail, calf tail or poly when tying a Royal Wulff.

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I looked at the dry flies available at the time and found that they were always slim-bodied and sparsely hackled. They were made only of feathers, and they were hard to keep afloat. If a fish were caught on one of them, the fly had to be retired to dry a while before it would float again.

I wanted a buggier-looking, heavier-bodied fly, and I needed more flotation in order to keep it up. I had in mind the big gray drakes that came out on the Ausable, which were heavier in the body than any of the dry-fly imitations of the day. Looking for a material that would float such a body, I came up with bucktail. The tail of the fly was most important since it would support the bend of the hook, where most of the weight is concentrated. Bucktail would make a much better tailing material than the conventional feather fibers because of its floating qualities and its strength. The flotation of the old flies was mostly at the front, and the usual wisps of feather fibers wouldn�t make a strong, floating tail. For example, the few golden-pheasant tippet-feather fibers of a Royal Coachman tail certainly didn�t have enough strength to hold the hook bend up for very long.

Out of this thinking came the Gray WuIff, White Wulff and Royal Wulff. My use of bucktail was the first use of animal hair on dry flies. The Royal WuIff made the old, difficult-to-float, but beautiful, Royal Coachman pattern into a hell of a fly. The White Wulff was tied to imitate the coffin mayfly. I tied it both conventionally and with spent wings and no hackle to match the flies of the spinner fall - when the mayflies, spent with mating, fall to the water with wings outspread. Had I been brighter I would have patented the use of animal hair on dry flies and made some money, but I feel lucky that through these flies my name achieved a permanent place in fly-fishing.

The Gray Wulff has brown bucktail wings and tail, blue-gray hackles and a gray angora yarn (spun rabbit�s fur) body. The White Wulff has white bucktail wings and tail, badger hackles and cream-colored angora for the body. The Royal Wulff has white bucktail wings, brown bucktail tail, dark brown hackles and a body of red silk floss between two segments of wound peacock hen. Dan Bailey, a close friend and one of my early fishing companions, insisted that I call the Gray Wulff by its present name instead of the Ausable Gray as I had thought to call it. It was Dan, who was beginning to tie and sell flies at that time, who sat down with me while we worked out the other patterns of the series to cover the field of trout-stream insects in general. The Grizzly Wulff, the Black Wulff, the Brown Wulff and the Blonde Wulff came out of those sessions.

from Lee Wulff on Flies by Lee Wulff, 1980

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, flytire said:

from Lee Wulff on Flies by Lee Wulff, 1980

Good stuff, good to know.  I never really like the use of GP tippets in general either, dries or wets.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...