Yellow mayfly This is one of those technique that has recently become extremely popular again, after being more or less shelved, for over four decades. The original Wally wing was created by Canadian tyer Wally Lutz in the early seventies. This winging technique, falls under the category of ‘revers hackle wings’ along with Wonder wings and Origami wings. Although all three styles have similar characteristics, the latter two require two hackles for a pair of wings and just about any type of hackle or feather with long enough barbules can be used for this technique. Whereas both wings are made for the Wally wing with a single feather. We are also restricted here to what feathers can be utilised for the Wally wing splitting technique. The most popular being, breast and flank feathers from various water fowl, game birds and CDC. Your choice of winging material for tying Wally wings is paramount, if you wish to succeed ! If you have purchased a packet with mixed mallard or teal flank, only a limited amount of these will be useable. Here I can recommend purchasing a whole mallard drake skin. Having a whole skin has many advantages. The price of a whole skin is nominal, when you think of what you pay for a little packet ‘stuffed’ with feathers that only contains only a couple of grams. All the feathers are perfectly packaged by nature on a skin, keeping them all in the same direction and neatly stacked on top of each other. This also makes selection of individual feathers in the size required easier. If you feel the investment of a whole skin is beyond your budget, consider purchasing one as a collective with other fly tying friends and splitting it. There is a mixed school of thought in the fly tying and fishing fraternity when it comes to fishing with Wally winged patterns. Some say they are hopeless and constantly twist the leader under casting, others, like my good friend and world class fly tyer, Trevor Jones, who has been one of the pioneers behind the reveal of this pattern, swears by them. No matter what your opinion may be, I think we can all agree, that they make a beautiful fly and are fun to tie. Regarding the technique used here that I developed to tie, Wally wings, you will require a small plastic tube to hold the barbules in place for tying in. I have experimented with several types of tube for executing this technique and have found the absolute best, is a tapered reserve nozzle from a small bottle of UV resin. Depending on what size of Wally wings you intend to tie, you will firstly have to adjust the tip opening of the nozzle to the correct size of feather to be used. This is simply achieved by preparing a flank feather as in step 15, and see if you can pass it, all the way through the tube, you don’t want to tie the wings in and not be able to remove the tube because the feather stem is too thick. Cut a couple of mm from the end of the tube and try again. Repeat until the correct nozzle opening is attained.
- Hook: Mustad R30 # 12
- Thread: Sheer 14/0 Yellow
- Tail: Ginger Coq De Leon
- Wings: Picric dyed Mallard flank
- Body: Yellow turkey biot
- Hackle: Whiting grizzle saddle dyed yellow
1. Secure your dry fly hook in the vice, as shown, with the hook shank horizontal.
2. Run a slim foundation of tying thread along the hook shank, as shown.
3. Select a nicely marked ginger Coq de Leon hackle for the tail fibres. Tie in the bunch on top of the hook shank. The tail should be approximately the same length as the hook shank.
4. Select a mallard flank feather with long barbules and nice markings. Make sure that there are no short barbules in the two sections to be used for the wings.
5. Strip off the down fibres at the base of the hackle. Wet the barbules at the tip of the flank feather and straighten.
6. Before you tie on the wings you will need a small plastic tube. This one is from a bottle of UV resin.