Easy Wulff Wings

Easy Wulff Wings

Finally, a solution to the tedium of tying with calftail

  • By: A. K. Best
I always carry a couple of dozen Royal Wulffs in one of my fly boxes. They range in size from 16 to 12. It can be the fly of the day when I'm fishing some little, high-mountain stream where the fish are eager to eat almost anything that floats over them. When I get a chance to go to Labrador to fish for giant brook trout, I'll tie up some sixes and eights, and this seems to be the dryfly size of choice. Whatever the size, the white wings are easy to see and they float like little corks. I used to hate tying them because of the white calftail or white bucktail wings that were required.It seemed to take forever to stack the hair to make a neat looking pair of wings, and there was always a huge bump at the spot where the wing butts were tied in. Plus, the hair always seems to me to be a little top-heavy. I started playing around with white turkey T-base feathers as a wing-material substitute about 15 years ago. I only tied them for my personal use, thinking that no one would buy a Royal Wulff if it didn't have white hair-wings. But just for the hell of it, I tied up a few dozen for a local shop…and they sold like hot cakes! Easy Wulff Wing instructions: 1) Attach the tying thread to the hook at mid-shank, and wind to the beginning of the bend. This will establish the front shoulder of the body. 2) Tie in hook shank-length tailing material (moose or elk) at the bend of the shank, wind the thread over them to the mid shank, lift and clip off the butts. Wind the thread forward to the hook eye and back to the shoulder. 3) Select a white turkey T-base feather whose quill is centered in the middle of the feather. 4) Clip out the center quill to a distance equal to the length of the entire hook. 5) Fold back (do not strip off) each side of the remaining feather until each side's width is equal to the hook shank length. (This is a good measurement for any size hook.) 6) Fold the feather halves together into a single post. 7) Place the post immediately in front of the tailing butts against your side of the hook at a 45-degree angle, with the tips below the hook eye. 8) Very firmly lash the post to the hook using thread torque to roll the post on top of the hook on the second and third turns of thread. 9) Take seven or eight very firm turns of thread in the same spot, lift the butt of the feather and clip off at an angle. Save the remainder for a parachute post or another smaller fly. 10) Cover the clipped butt with thread, bring the thread forward and build a thread dam in front of the post. 11) Divide the post into equal halves. Form a figure eight with tying thread and wrap the base of each wing with five or six turns of thread. Apply a tiny drop of head lacquer to the base of each wing. Hold and squeeze the wings flat with your thumb and forefinger. 12) Construct the body of peacock herl, floss and peacock herl. 13) Wind on lots of hackle and go fish whitewater!