The Wolf's Head


The Wolf's Head (large streamer pattern)

 Fly Pattern, Photographs, and Instructions by Larry Dostal

"..in the midst was a huge ram, great as a forest-tree a hundred feet in length, swinging on mighty chains... and its hideous head, founded of black steel, was shaped in the likeness of a ravening wolf; Grond they named it, in memory of the Hammer of the Underworld of old." 
                                                       -J.R.R Tolkien, The Siege of Gondor, The Return of the King
    
This is one of my go-to "bigger" streamer patterns. I say "bigger" because my standard recipe is perfect for a 8 weight setup. This pattern is extremely versatile, not only from the materials it can be created with, but how the Wolf's Head is actually fished.  This pattern is very responsive to the varied retrieve styles used today.   From standard stripping retrieves, steady two handed retrieves, or quickly snapping the rod tip (like a gear fishing "jerk-bait), this fly really moves.  The large, bulky, synthetic head causes "turbulence" making the tail materials come to life and imparting erratic action to the whole fly.  This slow sinking pattern works great in shallow water with a floating fly line, or equally as well with a sink tip/full sink line and a short leader.  Tie in bright "attractive" colors or natural baitfish colors (shad, alewife, and bluegill are the primary predator forage in Nebraska).  Scale up/down to target any predatory species, fresh or salt.  
This pattern is tied with the "V-Tie" technique used on the Kinky Muddler saltwater baitfish pattern, created by Johnny King.  It is called "Kinky" because it's tied with the "kinky fiber" synthetic material, aka Steve Farrar's Flash Blend.  The "V-Tie" is a great way to build a bulky/water moving head out of light synthetics, opposed to heavy and soggy natural materials. Varying the amount or type of materials used will allow all manners of shapes, baitfish profiles, and actions in the water.  
I'll highlight the "V-Tie" here and also show you how to make your own "flash blend".

Materials:
Hook: Size 2/0 Eagle Claw L256.  TMC 600SP, Owner Aki or equivalent stout/short shank hook
Thread: White 210 Denier UTC
Tail (Base):
Short cut pearl krystal flash or white bucktail fibers. This is to support the rest of the tail and prevent fouling of materials around the hook.
Tail (Mid): Pearl Crystal Web Fiber (Fly Tyers Dungeon) or Kreelex Flash
Tail (Top): Congo Hair (Fly Tyers Dungeon), Dirty Water Baitfish color. Or your favorite synthetic fiber.... EP, Synthetic Yak, SF Flash Blend, Fuzzy Fiber, Neer Hair, you name it, substitute to change the action and sink rate of your fly.  Long Saddle feathers are also a great option here to change the fly action. Rubber legs are another often overlooked tailing material. 
Body (Top):  Same Synthetic fiber used in topping. (Optionally blended with Angelina Fiber or Ice Dub fine flash material).
Body (Bottom): White Congo Hair or your favorite synthetic.
Eyes: Large eyes to match natural baitfish or stand out.
Goops: Aleen's Fabric Fusion and Bish's Tear Mender

Quick note:  I'm a big fan squeezing every last bit of use out of a material and minimizing waste.  Virtually every material used here is clipped from the packaged "hank",  tied in the mid way point, and folded over itself.  This maximized durability (nice when fishing for toothies) and minimizes waste of material.  Just food for though... carry on.....

Materials
Secure your hook and add a thread base
Secure a ~3 inch clump of krystal flash to the top of the hook shank... at the midpoint of the clump.
Fold over the flash and cinch down keeping all materials on top of the hook shank.
Dab with a drop of glue.
Tie in clump of the kreelex style flash at its midpoint.  This fly's overall length will be about 5".
Fold over and cinch down on top of the shank.
  Clip off a sparse clump of synthetic hair at full length from the package. Tease out the ends of the hair to give yourself the maximum desired length of the fly and give the material a natural taper.  Tie in the hair at its midpoint on top of the flash you already tied in, and fold it back over itself.

Now to Make your own Flash Blend

Prepare two clumps of synthetic hair. Top and bottom colors of the fly respectively
Snip the fibers off the main hank and cut into quarters.
Tease out the end of the fibers a bit from each clump and spread them out a bit... You can build the fly with these "flash-less" clumps if you want. The fly will work just fine. But a sprinkling of flash can give the fly a great life-like sheen underwater.
Lay a pinch of fine flash material on each clump of hair.
This is "Angelina" fiber purchased off the interwebs.
It's a cheap alternative to ice dub or ice wing material. 

Roll up your mini flash blend clumps... You're now ready to build your fly.
I will use each of these clumps on this fly...
Feel free to use more or fewer clumps depending on your personal bulk & water moving needs....



Tie in one clump of the flash blend at its midpoint.
 I like to use the longest looking clump to start here...
this will make a smooth transition into the tailing materials...
Give the material a slight angle across the top of the hook shank to build width to the final fly.
This is the heart of the "V-Tie" concept.
The sharper the angle of the 'V'..... the wider and bulkier the fly will turn out.


Tie in a clump of white on the bottom side of the hook and 'V' the material in
 the opposite (inverse) angle of the materials on the top of the shank.
Bottom view
Fold the fibers back straight back and over wrap the base...
 a drop of goop here isn't a bad idea
Advance the thread a bit and repeat the process adding clumps at their midpoint,
 to the top and bottom of the hook shank
and fold them back over the fly...
Finish with your shortest looking clump. 
This clump is tied making sure to spread the materials evenly
around the top and bottom of the fly before folding over itself.
This will ensure any gaps or spaces in the head of the fly are filled in in the final fly.
Remove the fly from the vise and trim to your heart's desire...
Trim the sides to make a narrow/tall baitfish like a shad,
leave round and bulky for a sucker imitation.
 Less trimming = more bulk.
Add a drop of tear mender and squeeze on a pair of eyes.
Larger clumps of hair along with a wider 'V' will yield a fatter Wolf's head... Its up to you.
Here are two flies created with similar sized clumps... just more aggressive 'V' angles.
^^Neither of these two flies were trimmed at all^^ , just the placement of materials and angles of the 'V' can create bulk.  Squeezing the eyes with lots of pressure can narrow the final fly as well..
Super versatile pattern to say the least...



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