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Thread: The Truth About the Royal Wulff

  1. #1
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    Default The Truth About the Royal Wulff

    -- an Expose'Tuesday, January 1. 2008

    Is it possible that a fly as well-known, much-loved, and universally effective as the "Royal Wulff" could have a questionable past? Yes, not only possible, but probable. Many anglers believe that this paragon of dries was born, not from the imagination of Lee Wulff, as he claimed in later life, but through the work of others...but decide for yourself.

    "Hair-wing flies had their beginnings on the Henry's Fork of the Snake before the First World War, when Benjamin Winchell and Carter Harrison first concocted them in honor of Alfred Trude, their host at a large ranch in Idaho. The first hair wings subsequently traveled with one of the party, Colonel Lewis Thompson, to the salmon rivers of the Maritime Provinces. These primitive flies were dressed down-wing over the body, and it was not until shortly before the Depression years that hair-wing dry flies evolved. Ralph Corey lived on the Muskegon in Lower Michigan, and his Corey Calftails were down-wing dries that became widely popular after the First World War. Wings tied upright and divided of hair appeared almost simultaneously on the Beaverkill and the Ausable of New York in about 1929.

    "The hair-wing Royal Coachman dry fly was the creation of L.Q. Quackenbush, one of the early stalwarts of the Beaverkill Trout Club above Lew Beach. Quackenbush liked the fan-wing Royal Coachman, except that it was fragile and floated badly, and in 1929 he suggested to Reuben Cross that white hair wings might work better. Cross tied some using upright wings of calftail and tail fibers of natural brown buck. It worked perfectly, and Catskill fishermen soon labeled it the Quack Coachman in honor of its peripatetic inventor.

    "Lee Wulff also worked out his famous Gray Wulff and White patterns in the Adirondacks in 1929, in a successful effort to find imitations of the big Isonychia duns and Ephemera spinners that would float well on the tumbling Ausable at Wilmington. These Wulffs have proven themselves superb flies, from Maine to California and British Columbia, and spawned a large family of patterns using different bodies and hackles. Wulffs have so completely dominated the upright hair wings that L.Q. Quackenbush and his hair-wing Coachman are almost forgotten, and his innovation is now commonly called the Royal Wulff."

    From Trout by Ernest Schwiebert, 1978
    "Innocence is a wild trout. But we humans, being complicated, have to pursue innocence in complex ways" - Datus Proper

  2. Default

    Chris, Google Image "Royal Trude"
    Mario Geldenhuys
    Smallstream fanatic, plus I do some other things that I can't tell you about

    "All the tips or magical insights in the world can't replace devotion, dedication, commitment, and gumption - and there is not secret in that" - Glenn Brackett

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Vandia Grove, Gauteng
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    Default

    And all those flies had questionable pasts with respect to the original Royal Coachman (Havn't met many 'Royals' in the USA barrin David+Posh...).

    And the Royal Coachman has a questionable past with respect to the original Coachman which of course goes back into English antiquity - doesn't it Nick?..
    The more you know, the less you need (Aboriginal Australian proverb)

    Only dead fish swim with the stream (Malcolm Muggeridge)

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