Flatwings are traditional Maine streamers with the wing feather tied in perpendicular to the hook, but I believe it was Rhode Island striper guru Ken Abrames who first moved the horizontal hackle to the rear of the hook shank sometime in the late 1970s. So I guess these patterns might be more accurately called “Flattails,” but they’re not. My friend Tom Keer wrote an excellent article on Abrames’s striper patterns for Fly Tyer a decade ago. (Get a PDF of the article here.) Since then, many more saltwater patterns have incorporated this hackle orientation, and freshwater anglers have found that the same slinky, undulating action that makes Flatwings so attractive to stripers and such also works on bass, pike, and even trout. Really, there’s no limit to the patterns you can create with this technique.
In this great video from Tightline Productions, master tier Joe Cordeiro, author of Techniques for Tying the Flatwing Fly, offers a step-by-step lesson on tying his Single-Wing Flatwing. Don’t be put off by the number of parts and materials; there’s not much here that is difficult. And, as always in a Tightline video, you’ll learn some cool new tricks that will broaden your tying vision and skill set. The “dubbing pillow” method for supporting the wing is ingenious, and the secret to making jungle-cock eyes easier to attach is so simple, you may do a classic head smack when you see it.
Single-Wing Flatwing Streamer
Hook: Eagle Claw L253, size 1/0.
Thread: White Uni-Thread, 3/0.
Tail: White bucktail, sparse and 2X shank length.
Underwing: Olive Whiting Flat Wing Fly Hackle.
Dubbing pillow: Fluff from base of hackle feather.
Body: Bill’s Bodi-Braid.
Belly: White bucktail.
Middle Wing: Yellow bucktail.
Wing Flash: Silver Tinsel.
Overwing: Olive bucktail.
Topping: Peacock herls.
Eyes: Jungle cock.
Head: White thread and Sally Hansen Hard as Nails.