Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fly Fishing: The Quack Coachman

Royal Wulff/Brown Wulff (click to enlarge)
The Hair-wing Royal Coachman, aka Wulff Royal Coachman, or the more common label, Royal Wulff. was not the brainchild of Lee Wulff as is commonly related. Rather, in 1930, it first fell from the vice of Reuben Cross, a well-known and talented fly tyer, at the bequest of one Q. L. Quackenbush a disciple of the venerable Beaverkill Trout Club. As the story goes Ol’ Quack’s beloved Fan-winged Royal Coachman had fallen from grace largely due to the fly’s notorious frail wings. Looking for a better mousetrap so too speak he engaged Cross to build a more durable version. Cross tied up some using stiff, white, kinky-haired impala tail hair for wings and the rest is as they say history. 

Blond Wulff/Ausable Wulff (click to enlarge)
Call it what you will “The Quack Coachman,” as it was lovingly christened by his fishing pals remains even today one very effective dry fly; a must have to complement any dry fly box. Ditto all of the Wulff Family—which over the years has grown considerably in number to now include Wulffs of just about every conceivable color variation. Commercially Wulffs are tied from huge size 8s and 10s down to itty-bitty size 22…anyway the smallest I have ever seen. While I find the smaller sizes quite useful, and highly effective at times, I find tying any Wulff smaller than a size 14 to be…well, a royal pain in the arse. Since I don’t tie ‘em you won’t find many itty-bitty Wulffs in my meager collection. So there you have it…

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