Short Bio of Lee WulffWritten by Cameron Larsen
For those of us who sometimes think about fly fishing beyond catching fish, Lee Wulff is no stranger. By all accounts Lee Wulff was accomplished at whatever he set his sights on. When I read about Lee Wulff, I am reminded of how life should be lived, fully. An artist trained in Paris, he was renowned for his meticulous attention to detail and amazing finger dexterity. Those of us who fly fish owe a great deal to this man, and we are lucky that he chose fly fishing as one of his passions.
Undoubtedly Wulff is most well known for his Wulff series of flies. The classic harwing series all started with Royal Wulff, he adapted from Royal Coachman. Wulff also invented White Wulff and Gray Wulff, and as most us now know there is a whole series of Wulff patterns. The great thing about classics is imitations they spawn.
As great as Wulff series is, we should probably be more thankful for his inspiration of catch and release. In 1936 Wulff was quoted as saying, "game fish are too valuable to be only caught once." And thus catch and release was born. Not fond of hatchery fish, Wulff knew that native fisheries could not be duplicated in concrete vats. Wulff pioneered through conservation groups, and his writings idea, that we are all responsible for future of fisheries. A concept that took sometime to catch on worldwide, and something we as fly fisherman are never done being concerned with.
A Primer on Fly Tying HooksWritten by Cameron Larsen
At first glance, and well maybe even at second glance fly tying hook sizes can be confusing. They have not only size number attached to them but then they have all those x numbers following them. So they come out reading size 12, 1x short, 1x fine. Or size 8, 2x long 2x heavy. To beginner it is hard to discern what hook should be used for what style fly. Or further how to obtain a decent hook inventory without buying fifty different hook styles. I tied flies commercially for years, and worked into a basic hook inventory that consisted of dry fly hooks, nymph hooks, scud hooks, streamer hooks, and a few specialty hooks. For each style I kept various sizes of each style. For hobbyist, one needs to write down flies one would like to tie. And sizes you like, and then proceed from there as your budget allows. To help you distinguish style of fly hooks, most if not all fly hook manufacturers label their hooks as to basic style. For example dry fly hooks. A Mustad 94840, is a basic dry fly hook, likewise a Tiemco 100, as is a Daiichi 1180. They also have a basic size 10,12,14,16, etc. It seems perhaps a bit misleading that lower number denotes a larger size, but that is how system goes. The size also only measures gape, between hook point hook shank, it actually means nothing for hook length, which is where many fly tyers and fly fisherman get confused. While most dry fly hooks are what is called 'standard length'. Nymph hooks can be standard or 1x long, 2x long and on up, or even 1x short, 2x short on down. What number before 'x' means, is they are actually 1 hooks size longer or shorter shank than standard. For example a size 14 1x long nymph hook, is actually same hook length as a standard size 12. Every tier and fly supplier has their own preferences, so a size 14 Hare's Ear, might actually be tied on a 1x long hook or a 2x long hooks, thereby appearing like a larger fly to fly angler. To repeat size actually only refers to gape of hook, between hook point and hook shank and has nothing to do with size of fly. There is help however, almost all standard dry flies are tied on standard hooks. The exceptions being Stimulator or Salmonfly type flies, Hoppers, Damsels, and other long bodied flies. These would come under specialty hooks mentioned earlier. Long curved shank hooks actually are used for both dry flies and nymphs although their wire is a little thin for my liking for nymphs. The second x is wire gauge. Hook manufacturers naturally use larger wire diameter for larger hooks. But this can be modified and is. If a hook is size 12 2x heavy. That means hook is 2 times thickness that normally would be used for size 12. These hooks are helpful when going after very large trout or steelhead, or other large game fish, or if one likes to use unusually large tippet. In short if your fish is going to be on hook for a long time, there is a chance hook will straighten out, then one might like extra strong hooks.