Published Oct 6. 2017 - 6 years ago
Updated or edited Oct 27. 2019

Ugly Straggly Wolf

This fly came about as a way to use some yarn that I bought on a small vacation with my wife when she was buying yarn for a wolf. Yup, a wolf!

Ready to howl
Ready to howl
Martin Joergensen

This all started with a question: “Can you crochet a wolf?"

It might seem

like a strange way to start an article about a fly pattern, but here's the explanation:
The question was posed to my wife by a boy who happens to be very fond of wolves. “Well, sure you can" was her reply, and since he had a birthday coming up soon, it was an obvious project: crochet a wolf!
So soon after, during a short vacation, we were going down the pedestrian street of a small Danish town, and wound up in a yarn shop. She found suitable wool for a wolf and I – of course – looked for yarn suitable for fly tying... and – of course – found some.

The crocheted wolf
The crocheted wolf
Martin Joergensen

Yarn shops is one of the places where you realize how gullible we fly tyers are. You suddenly understand that quite a bit of the material that we buy in small bags with a foot or two neatly packed, actually comes from a much larger ball of yarn, bought at a fraction of what you pay, in a shop such as the one we were in.

Can you crochet a wolf?

I bought myself a lifetime supply

of a straggly, crazy, long haired, hackle-like yarn in light olive, brown and white. I saw flies the moment I laid eyes upon this yarn. The price? 35.- Danish kroners or about 5.- USD.
If I cut it into pieces and called it Joergensen's Special Straggly Compound Hackle or some such name, I could probably make 100 bags and sell them for a few dollars each.

Joergensen's Special Straggly Compound Hackle

The yarn had no label, but these types of yarn typically go names like eyelash yarns, effect yarns or fur yarns. ICE Yarns is a Turkish based yarn factory whose yarns are widely available, and they have a colossal selection of these long haired yarns. They are available from other makers too, and I have found and used similar yarns before, like the Tindra from Swedish Järbo for my mullet fly the GYMF.

Martin Joergensen
Ugly Straggly Wolf
Ugly Straggly Wolf
Martin Joergensen

Well, back to the yarn at hand.

It's made from a combination of shorter, light olive furry bits and long, thin and fine white bits, all braided into a dark brown core. The combination simply reeks fly tying, and just wrapping this stuff on a hook would give you a pretty buggy looking streamer, easily useful for bass, trout, sea trout and a number of other fish. The resulting fly is fishy/shrimpy looking, and the fibers in the yarn are very mobile and light, creating something very living when moved in the water.

I added a little shine

in the form of some flash dubbing to one of the flies, and on this particular version I tied in yarn rear and front, separated by a bit of dubbing. I could also have wrapped the yarn as a palmer hackle over a dubbed body, but I felt this method would result in a fly a little too fat for my taste.
The yarn is quite voluminous, so you want to make sure it lays well onto the hook, and treating it like a one sided soft hackle – which it essentially also is – is the best way to get it to behave. Untwist it and stroke back the fibers as you wrap it to ensure a tight and dense hackle.

Three Wolves
Eyelash yarn
The eyelash yarn
Martin Joergensen
Ugly Straggly Wolf
Pattern type: 
Martin Joergensen

A simple, buggy looking streamer pattern made with eyelash yarn.

Ahrex NS115 #2, heavy wire down eye streamer hook
8/0 tan
Rear hackle
3-4 wraps of Eyelash yarn, brown/light olive/white
A mix of copper and chatreuse Angel Hair
Front hackle
3-4 wraps of Eyelash yarn, brown/light olive/white
Tying thread
Skill level/difficulty: 
Very easy

Tying is straightforward

and you can see the video for detailed tying instructions. It's not exactly difficult.

And the name?

Well the wolf was obviously inspired by the my wife's original project, and the straggly part is from the color and appearance of the yarn. And ugly? Well, honestly... it's not a pretty fly, is it?
But it will catch fish, no doubt.
All kinds of them.
And you can tie Ugly Straggly flies from any type of eyelash yarn, which can be found in a colossal variation of colors and styles.

Eyelash yarn, fur yarn, fun fur... it has many names... and comes in many colors
Martin Joergensen

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