As a general imitation of a Mayfly dun there is little to beat the Grey Wulff. While its colour might look rather out of place, the lifelike silhouette it creates is certainly good enough to fool even a big wild trout. The pattern works equally well on manmade lakes and reservoirs which the Mayfly species Ephemera danica and Ephemera vulgata have colonised.
The Grey Wulff is also a very robust fly, using hair for both tail and wing. Originally the hair used was brown bucktail but now most Grey Wulffs used in the UK are tied with grey squirrel tail, which gives the fly a lighter appearance more in keeping with that of a pale Mayfly dun. Interestingly, the wing is not left as a single bunch but is divided in two to form the typical V-shape found in other patterns in the Wulff series. This profile is achieved by using figure-of-eight turns of thread around the base of the wing, which holds the bunches apart and also keeps the wings angled forwards over the eye.
The hackle is a plain blue dun, either natural or dyed, wound full both behind and in front of the wing. An alternative that has become popular is to use a light olive hackle instead to imitate more closely the colour of the natural Mayfly.
Hook Size 8-10 medium weight wet-fly
Thread Black Tail Grey squirrel tail Body
Grey rabbit fur Wing Grey squirrel tail
Hackle Blue dun cock hackle
1. Secure the hook in the vice and run on the tying thread, winding it in close turns to build a solid base for the wing. Now take a bunch of grey squirrel tail.
2. Remove any damaged hairs then position the bunch of squirrel tail so that it projects over the eye. Fix in place with tight turns of thread.
3. With a pair of scissors trim the waste ends of the squirrel tail at an angle. This produces a taper, which helps to reduce bulk and provides shape to the body.
4. Cover the waste ends of the hair with tying thread then divide the hair into two equal bunches.
5. Separate the wings permanently by winding figure-of-eight turns of thread between the two. Keep the thread right down at the base of the hair bunches to form a Vshape.
6. With the wings in position, carry the tying thread down to the hook bend. Take a smaller bunch of squirrel tail and catch it in place at the hook bend to form the tail.
7. Cover the waste ends of the hair with close turns of thread to form an even base for the body. Take a large pinch of grey rabbit fur and apply it evenly to the thread.
8. Dub the fur on to the thread to form a thick, tapered rope. Beginning at the base of the tail, wind the fur rope along the hook shank.
9. Ensuring that no gaps are allowed to form, continue winding the dubbed fur until it has reached the base of the wing.
10. Select a blue dun cock hackle with a fibrelength one and a half to twice the gape of the hook. Prepare it and catch it in at the base of the wing.
11. Using hackle pliers, take hold of the hackle by its tip and wind on three or four full turns to the rear of the wing.
12. Carry the hackle under the wing and wind on a further three turns just behind the eye.
13. Secure the loose end of the hackle with thread and remove the excess. Build a small, neat head and cast off the thread with a whip finish.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
Use this pattern when the freshly emerged duns of Ephemera danica or Ephemera vulgata are hatching. These insects may be found on waters ranging from large limestone loughs to small man-made lakes. On the big natural waters the season can be more spread out and sporadic Mayfly hatches occur right through the summer.
W H E N
The Grey Wulff is most effective during the main hatch of our largest Mayfly species, which is around the last week of May and into June. Watch out, however, for a warm, settled spell in early May as this can trigger the first waves of the main hatch.
H O W
Fish either singly or as part of a team on a floating line. A strong leader of at least 6 lb breaking strain is required to deal with the very big trout that are encountered at Mayfly time and to help turn over this big fly and prevent it cracking off during casting.
T Y I N G T I P
Waxing the thread will help to grip smooth, slippery hair and prevent the wing falling out.