In my early days in NZ I believed the Royal Wulff to be the only dry fly worth using. If I had a few sizes in my box I'd be covered for just about any surface feeding trout. I wasn't wrong. However I also believed that the fly itself held some magic. I believed the little bit of red between the green peacock herl was the trigger. I fished the fly with confidence for years. Then, to speed up the process I started tying in the red floss as a rib over the herl. It was just as deadly. Around then I met Bob Wyatt. He showed me some flies and told me about why he ties the way he ties. He gave me some of his hair wing dries. Simple as; just a dubbed body, a clump of deer hair and a white post. They went into a corner of my flybox and I went back to my wullf... until one day I ran out. I took out Bob's fly and it made sense. I knew it would work. Its wasn't about the fly anymore, it was about how it sits in the water, either in or on the surface film. The footprint, the silhouette, the impression. Suddenly my own experience and Bob's words changed the way I thought about dry flies.
Here are a few fresh from the vise!
This is my own version of one of Bob Wyatts deer hair dries. It's a great general dry and can be fished in any size or colour. This is a perfect dry for tying a nymph onto due to its shape and boyancy. The weight of the nymph pulls the body into the water but the deer hair wing stays on top. I usually fish a 2 nymphs under a dry an so this has been my "go-to" dry for years now. The post can point forward, backwards or both!
This fly is tied to sit up high on the surface. I usually fish this on it's own or with a not so heavy nymph under it. The white post is just so that it can be seen, brown alone seems to disappear on the water. The tails are fibres from a paint brush or a feather (no need for specifics, any will do) Body is tying thread with a coat of varnish for durability, Hackle from any long, short fibre feather. I trim the bottom to help the fly sit flat, not necessary but I like it at the moment. The post is any non absorbent synthetic visible material.
I tie this fly in smaller sizes to be fished singly to rising trout. No post because the light coloured hackle is usually quite visible. Tail and body are the same as the brown fly.
Ronan Creane is an honorary kiwi and fly fishing legend transplanted from Ireland. Read more of his great writings over at the famous Sexyloops site.