Fly Of The Week
Wally Wing Mayfly
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Fly Tying Terms

Wally Wing
Flies and Photos by Wally Lutz,
Alberta, Canada

I set the hook in 'er with smug satisfaction and maybe just a little viciousness when I slammed it home. She had refused me once and when she took, I hit hard. She took off like the neighbour's cat trailing a half pinched loaf after it had been sprayed with the garden hose in the flowerbed. The Loomis jumped repeatedly as I palmed the reel heavily, elated I blundered with too much pressure but the leader held in spite of me as the line stripped up and across the current. She was in the drivers seat going exactly where ever she wanted. Heading for the safety of deeper water, clear of the shallow tail out where trouble had found her. It was now that the realization of what it was I had hooked cleared the smug confidence and prayer took its place. I won't bore you with, jump, run, bull headed shaking, of the splash-by-splash fight. I got 'er. Here's the fly:

Ten steps to a Peeled Feather Dry Fly (Wallywings):

1. Peel the fluff off the stalk of a waterfowl or upland bird body feather.

2. Groom feathers' barbs back against its stalk in the opposite direction of their natural position and leave a "V" (the feather's tip), pointing ahead. Now soak in water to soften the stalk. Leave them for about 10 minutes or more, even overnight. I've left feathers soaking overnight and found it doesn't harm them at all if anything they are very compliant.

3. Keep the feather wet while doing the final grooming before mounting to the hook shank. When brushing the feather's barbs back against its stalk be careful to have them all stacked side by side in their natural sequence against stalk. Looks like one end of a little canoe in your fingers.

4. Now mount the feather to the top to the hook shank and clip off feather's butt for a gentle slope to ward the flies' tail. Important where we mount the wing on the shank, if it's mounted too far forward the wing will imbalance the fly and it will land nose down. Mount the wing back from the eye at a point about the one third of the shank length.

5. Take a bottom barb in your fingers from the "V" at the tip of the mounted feather. Any side to start with. Gently pull down along the stalk toward the butt of the feather. Peel the barbs off the stalk right down to the tying thread. Repeat for the other wing on your side of the fly.

6. Cut off the excess feather barbs that point out toward the bend behind the wing. Clipping out the husk of the remaining centre stalk depends on the size of feather I'm using. Some birds have a thicker feather stalk than others and these are good to pull back between the wings and secure there. This aids in separating the wing when standing. When tying a smaller fly, say under a 16, the feather selected has a very small diameter stalk and doesn't really aid in separating the wing in this case. A figure 8 thru the wing with tying thread when I'm making a spent wing or going to use a Water Walker style of hackle works well to separate the wings.

7. Clip off the barbs that are sticking out on the top of your wings. Or if the wings are too tall, clip off the top few barbs of the wing to bring it down to the right proportions, (hook shank length). Pull out extra barbs after adjusting wing size. For a better-balanced fly separate the wings further with the aid of finger pressure between them.

8. Stand up the wings together and secure in that position with a couple of loops of thread around the base.

9. Over the years I found that if I use a very small drop of "Crazy Glue" at the base or the tye-in point and allow the glue ever so slightly to seep up into the wing base and dry. I can then separate the wing by merely pushing it apart with a bodkin at first and then if needed my finger. The glue dries very quickly and adds strength and a little stiffness to the wing at its weakest point. The end point or tips of individual feather barbs on small feathers can be very frail, and these ends at the tye-in point are most likely to be the first to break after a fish strikes. The glue gives us a fish or two more life in the fly. The glue also helps provide a wing post that I can tye parachutes onto without using a gallows tool and without using excessive thread wraps.

10. Now for the rest of your dressing (start with the tail), and those wings are great posts for parachute style hackling. ~ Wally Lutz

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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