PETER BRIGG’S VERSION OF THE WOLF SPIDER
Article and pictures Peter Brigg
Could this pattern finally eclipse the RAB?!!
I was first introduced to the Wolf Spider pattern by Leonard Fleming, a Western Cape fly fisher, about five years ago. It immediately struck me as a potentially good fly; it oozed triggers and had a generic bugginess which I like in flies. However Leonard had a rather complicated recipe with a few components that in my humble opinion could perhaps be left off without detracting from the features I have mentioned. He was also using, if I recall correctly, fibres from a Partridge feather as the post. It was just too subtle for me to see at 30 ft. and so I added a white Z Lon post for the parachute hackle.
I also dispensed with dubbing over the abdomen which he used to create the aura of the natural's hairy body and I instead left it as a plain foam body which I tie in either black, or for a little extra visibility, beige.
I have experimented with various materials for the legs, but settled on Pheasant Tail fibres because they give the truest representation of the natural and probably other than the bulbous abdomen, are the most distinctive element and greatest trigger for this pattern. The suggestion has been made that an egg-sac should be added. I have decided against this simply because I have never seen one carrying its egg-sac on the water.
These spiders have a habit of drifting for a while and then running (almost skating) across the surface. So on the calmer flatter water adding a little movement in the drift, is probably a good idea, just as is landing the fly with a 'plop' on the surface, acceptable. The Wolf Spider in my view is nothing short of an exceptional fly, especially as a searching pattern often pulling fish from some distance. I tie it predominately on #14 Grip 11011 BL hooks and a few on #16s. Hooks with a widish gape are preferable for this wide fly so as not to impede hook ups.
I may be sticking my neck out here, but I rate the Wolf Spider on a par if not ahead of the RAB.
I recently fished the Wolf Spider almost exclusively for two days during the WTA festival in Rhodes and on a range of different waters. In that time it accounted for about 70 trout. I gave one to a fly fishing friend, Ian Cox, and after an outstanding days fishing during which he caught something like 50 trout on a single fly, he raved about its qualities, albeit a little weather beaten by the time he stood me to a good single malt in its honour back at Walkerbouts in the evening.