Tom West, a friend who is no longer with us, was an avid hunter and fisher. Tom had a favourite small lake with typically difficult access on the plateau east of Winfield that he simply called "West" lake! Seldom did he return from a trip to West lake without a two or three pound trout in his creel. As long as I promised not to tell anyone about his lake, he willingly asked me to join him on more than one trip to West lake. His preferred time of year for large rainbows was winter when the lake was frozen and ice fishing was the only option. As an ardent fly fisherman, I seldom go ice fishing but my interest was high when he offered a trip to his lake in late May when fly fishing in the Winfield plateau is at its zenith!
When I asked Tom what fly he used to catch the large trout from West lake, he proceeded to tie on a black fly with a red tail. He said that he didn't know what it was called but close inspection revealed that it was a "Zulu". Sure enough, although the fishing was somewhat slow that day, we did have several strikes on the Zulu, a fly that should be in your tackle box! This month, we will look at how this fly is tied.
Red yarn can be used for the tail but I prefer red kip tail, not too long but tied at least medium in thickness. Next attach both the silver wire and a black saddle hackle feather tip first to the hook bend. Then form a dubbing loop with a small amount of black seal fur and wind the seal fur from hook bend to hook eye. Now palmer the saddle hackle through to the hook eye and tie off. Care must be taken in the next step to wind the silver wire through to the hook eye in about five even turns without unduly disturbing the palmered hackle along the hook body. The final step is to take a second black saddle feather and make a couple of turns at the hook eye, forcing the hackle slightly back as you complete the turns. Cement, tie off and you have finished the very productive Zulu wet fly.
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