the Royal Wulff: an interesting paradox

in fly selection, once we take away the fish-enticing elements and practical issues aspects we’re left with what’s to me at least, the most important.
the fly’s aesthetic appeal and the confidence that goes with it: two very combined elements. if i feel ‘inspired’ by a certain fly i’ll not only enjoy fishing it more but will believe with a much higher degree of (semi) certainty that this is the one that will fool the fish.
now, to define exactly how that aesthetic appeal happens is about as intangible as trying to explain why i prefer to do it from behind or why chocolate tastes so good. it’s simplistic to say but simply put, it feels good and that’s about it.

anyway… today’s paradox has to do with the Royal Wulff. it’s a mega-classic fly all over the world, has caught tons and tons of fish and will continue to do so. legions of fly fishers swear by it and will probably have several at all times in their box. it’s the kind of fly that can bring far-away gazes, images of epic catches and produce buckets full of drool.
well, i happen to think it’s butt-ugly, is as devoid of mojo as it gets and i wouldn’t want to touch one with a stick.
seriously, for the life of me i can’t think of another fly that has the same effect. it’s almost as bad as if i where told that to continue fishing i would have to fish with worms.
experience has taught me that ‘never say never’ is a pretty good saying but as with the worm, i’d prefer to put the tackle away and take photos or just sit there and watch the water than to tie on that fly, let alone present it to some lovely fish.
now, Jeff Kennedy recently put up the image below on facebook stating that it was only half way done and several of us quickly suggested that he should stop right there. (“It’s PERFECT ! STOP !!!”)  and here i am with what i think is the nicest painting of a fly ever, and the big and blown-up subject is none other than the dreaded Royal Wulff…

DF&F52_48

who knows, maybe i just exorcized the Royal Wulff within me and may get to like it some day. not.

4 thoughts on “the Royal Wulff: an interesting paradox

  1. I never fish or tie the Royal Wulff, either. Too many materials and too many things to come apart when casting it. I guess I don’t think it’s ugly, but give me a plain ole Elk Hair Caddis any day. I also agree that the painting is impressive and has a certain impressionistic charm. Really interesting.

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