This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Royal Wulff TBT.
This is another fly I found while reading Mike Valla’s terrific book entitled The Founding Flies – 43 American Masters, Their Patterns and Influences.
Lee Wulff (1905 – 1991) created the Royal Wulff in 1930 along with the Gray Wulff and White Wulff. The Gray Wulff was the first of the series. He fished all three fly patterns on the Esopus River in the Catskill mountains of New York with his friend Dan Bailey who would eventually move to Montana and open Dan Bailey’s Fly Shop.
In later years, Lee worked with Dan to develop more in the Wulff series – the Blonde Wulff, Brown Wulff, and Black Wulff.
Valla writes about an article Wulff wrote in the October 1977 Fly Fisherman magazine entitled “The Essential Fly Box” where Wulff stated he fished the Royal Wulff in sizes 10 – 14 and called them strawberries and cream, which the trout loved.
The White Wulff was a previous Throw Back Thursday Fly.
The original Royal Wulff was tied with a tail of brown bucktail and wing of white bucktail. I tied one using these materials and didn’t like the wing. Perhaps I didn’t have the same quality of material Lee used to tie his flies. As a fly tyer, I know the importance of quality materials to create the desired effect. For me, I get a fuller looking wing using calf body hair. Lee liked the look of white bucktail for the fly. Oh, I almost forgot. Lee tied all his flies “in hand” without the use of a vise.
Most Royal Wulff flies I see these days use moose body hair for a tail. I prefer the look of it more than using bucktail for a tail. I wonder which variation the fish like?
You decide which one works best for you. It’s still a terrific fly pattern today!
To find out more about Lee Wulff, I highly recommend Valla’s book.