Hare-Wing Royal Trude

Flies With a Story


Flies With a Story #60: Read and see Bob's variation of this classic pattern

The Flytier:

 "Capn' Bob" Jones of Idaho Falls, Idaho

Also known as “Capn’ Bob” on fly fishing bulletin boards, I am 58 years old and, except for a stint in a far off land overseas and a couple of years in the highlands of Virginia, I have lived in southeastern Idaho most of my life. For 35 years I have been an electrician by trade (IBEW LU#449), working everything from large dams to nuclear reactors and everything in-between.  I’ve been married to my wonderful wife for 34 years.  I’m a devout fly fisherman and have been tying flies for 10 years.  I tie mostly for myself, gifts, raffles and occasional fly swaps.  My home waters are the Henry’s Fork and the South Fork of the Snake River.  I enjoy tying and fishing all kinds of flies for trout, since that is what I fish for 100% of the time.  When I reach retirement, I plan on traveling around the country and doing a lot of fishing.
Story by: "Capn' Bob" Jones
Flies tied by: Bob
Instructions by: Bob

Email Bob at: pflighfission@cableone.net



The Fly:

Hare-wing Royal Trude tied by Bob Jones.  Detailed instructions and tips follow the story below.
Photo by Peter Frailey


Bob's variation of this old standard:

Hook: Dry fly hook, "standard" size, #12 - #18 (i.e. *Mustad #94840)
8/0 Uni-Thread, Black
Golden Pheasant tippets
Peacock herl-red floss-peacock herl (Royal Coachman-style)
Snowshoe hare's foot hair from the bottom of the heel area, cream or lighter colored, tied Trude-style or down wing
Reddish brown neck or saddle hackle

To rib or not to rib:

You can rib the fly with fine gold wire as an option (traditional), as in the "Royal Coachman", but I don't think it makes any difference on the smaller sizes and I usually omit it. 


The Story:

The Hare-wing Royal Trude

Original Recipe:

Tail: None
Reddish rug yarn
Wing: Reddish flank hair from a spaniel
Two reddish brown neck or saddle hackles

In the early 1900s, in Island Park, Idaho, Carter Harrison created the "Trude" fly as a joke for his friend and fishing host A. S. Trude.  The original ingredients are listed in the sidebar on the left.

The fly certainly has evolved since his original pattern! The first pattern was tied without a tail. Today, it is most often tied with a tail, usually made from the barbs of a golden pheasant tippet feather. 

Several "hare-wing" Royal Trudes tied by Bob Jones.  Photo by Peter Frailey

Harrison's biggest contribution to the future of western fly tying is the "down-wing" or "Trude" style, with the hair wing characteristically slanted back across the body. Today, the Trude style of wing is as recognizable as the "Royal Coachman" body. 

The Trude fly has expanded into many different configurations.  My favorite is the "Royal Trude", which combines the main characteristics of both the Royal Coachman and the Trude.  (A similar pattern is called the “Wright’s Royal”, originated by Phil Wright.  Both are identical except that Wright's fly omits the tail.)

Commercial Trudes are generally made with white calftail, which is highly visible to the fisherman in rough water.  But, for the wings of my smaller sizes (#12 and smaller) I have taken to using the fur from the bottom of the foot of a snowshoe hare.  I particularly like the hair from the heel area. The natural cream color foot-fur is nearly as visible as white calf tail, but has the advantage of providing additional buoyancy. The structure of the hair makes it float like a cork without adding floatant. On the right, Peter has photographed several of my "hare-wing" Royal Trudes.

Fish this fly as you would any other attractor pattern.  It’s a killer on pocket water, in the riffles, dead drifted along an undercut bank.  Tie some up and give them a try! 

-- "Capn' Bob" Jones


Detailed Instruction:

Hook: Select a hook, flatten the barb and place the hook in the vice.

Hook length:  Most tiers like to tie their “Royal” style of body using a 1XL or longer hook to facilitate the tying of the peacock-floss-peacock sequence, while still leaving room for the wing, hackle and head. The samples in the photographs are tied on the “standard” length hook, which I prefer for this pattern.

Thread: Start the thread at the middle of the hook shank and wrap it to the rear of the hook in even touching wraps to a position just above the hook barb. Let the bobbin hang.

Tip: If you select a tippet feather having the distance between the two black bands equal to the shank length, all your tails on flies for that hook size will be uniform.  Tippet feathers come in a variety of sizes and matching them to the hook shank length makes for nice, uniform tails on your flies.

Tippet Feather Tail: Select a golden pheasant (GP) tippet feather with barb length equal to the hook shank.

While holding the feather between your left thumb and index finger at the second black band, cut the feather barbs from the shaft of the feather by angling your scissors, point toward the feather shaft, at approximately 45 degree angle to the shaft and make a cut through the base of the barbs, pulling the desired number of barbs loose. 

Pinch the GP barbs together and position them on top of the hook.  Tie in at the second black band right where the thread and bobbin are hanging. You may find the following tying tips helpful.

The "Over, Under, Over" Technique:  After tying in the tail barbs with a couple of  thread wraps: (1) Lift the butts enough to make a thread wrap between the shank and the butts, (2) lower the butts and (3) make a couple more wraps back over the tail.  This "over, under, over" techniques will lock the barbs in.   Tip: I sometimes put a drop of head cement on the barbs where they are tied down, to really bond the tail to itself and the shank.

Peacock Herl: The best herl for the coachman body is from just below the eye of the feather.  I like to select them from the first 1/2” below the really emerald green band of the eye.  Notice the shape of the peacock herl shaft.  One side of the herl shaft is more bulbous and has a glossy finish. If you tie in the peacock herl so that the glossy side is against the shaft, wrapping the herl around the hook shank will result in an evenly flared and uniform appearance.

Body/First Herl Segment:   Tie in the peacock herl and trim off the butt. Using your fingers to grasp the herl, make 3 or 4 close, forward wraps of the herl, keeping just enough tension on the herl to keep from breaking it.  Tie off the herl using the "over, under, over" technique described in the previous step.  Let the thread bobbin hang and trim off the herl butt (save for last 1/3 of body).

Tinsel Option:  I tie in a piece of fine, silver or gold tinsel after tying in the red floss, and  wrap the hook shank with the tinsel to create an underbody for the floss.  It hides the hook shank  and allows light to reflect back out through the red floss.  Without it, the red floss turns dark when the fly gets wet.

Body/Floss Segment: Select a 2" length of single strand, red floss.  Always work with single strand floss for floss bodies, even if it is necessary to separate a single strand from a spool of 3 or 4 strand floss.  Tie in the red floss, locking it with the "over, under, over" technique.  (See sidebar for the tinsel option.) Let the bobbin hang and trim off the tag.  Wrap the floss foreword in even touching turns to form a smooth body and tie off. 

Body/Second Herl Segment:  Use the remainder of the herl that you trimmed off from the first herl segment and tie it in just forward of the floss.  Take 3 or 4 even, forward wraps of the herl, tie off as before and trim butt. Your herl segment should end at the half-way point, exactly where you started the thread.

Reverse Hackling: Position the hackle feather, dull/concave side facing up with the tip pointing out over the eye. Make a couple of loose wraps around the stem and hook shank.  Then, while holding the bobbin directly above the wraps, apply tension on the thread, taking up slack, and make one more wrap over the feather stem.  While keeping tension on the thread, lock in the feather using the "over, under, over" technique described above. Trim off the feather stem and continue wrapping the thread back to where the peacock herl is tied off.

Hackle Tie-in:   Select a reddish brown neck or saddle hackle having a barb length about 1 ½ times the hook gape width and tie it in about a hook-eye length behind the eye of the hook, concave or dull side facing up.  I use the reverse hackling method for practically all of my collar-hackled flies, wet or dry.  

Snow Shoe Hare Foot: This is a highly buoyant option to the typical calf tail. Cut the fur from the heal area and as close to the foot as possible while pinching the clump with your thumb and index finger and applying slight tension.  Sometimes you can just pull a clump out without cutting.  Clean out the under fur, which makes great dubbing 

Wing: From a light cream colored snowshoe hare’s foot, snip off a small clump of fur for the wing. The tip of the wing should align with the hook bend. Using the pinch method, tie in the wing with a couple of loose wraps. 

Apply upward tension on the thread, tighten and make another wrap. While still pinching and holding the fur wing in place, raise the hair butts and make a wrap under the butts, then a wrap over the butts (again, the "over, under, over" binding technique).

Additional wraps should be made "through" the butt. First, raise a few strands and make a wrap in front of the strands.  Then, raise a few more strands and make another wrap in front.  Trim hair butts and, while holding the hair wing in position, make some tight wraps over the hair butts and wrap back to the beginning of the wing.  Tie off with a two or three wrap whip finish. Let the bobbin hang. 

Tip: Here’s another good place to add a drop of head cement.  Place a drop on top of the hair butts.  It will soak in and bond the wing in.

Hackle Tie-off: Wrap the hackle and tie-off behind the eye.

Reverse Hackling Technique: Hold the feather by the tip with your fingers or hackle pliers.  Apply tension straight up above the tie-in spot and wrap it back in even turns to where the bobbin is hanging.  While holding tension on the hackle feather, make a tight wrap of thread over the feather, trapping it.  Now, begin wrapping the thread in open, spiral turns toward the eye, weaving it through the hackle barbs by wiggling the thread back-and-forth through the barbs while wrapping.  When you end up back behind the eye of the hook, tie off.  Snip off the remaining feather while being careful not to snip off the hackle.

Finishing Touches: Build a small, neat head, tie off with a whip finish, trim thread and apply head cement.    


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