The Fisherman

Herr Blue three-feather flatwing

17 posts in this topic

Many years ago I adapted Ken Abrames' R.L.S. Herr Blue bucktail into a large nine-feather flatwing. I was pleased with the result, and that fly produced a lot of big bass for me. But since I never did a three feather flatwing-bucktail version of the Herr Blue, I did a little tinkering last spring.

 

If you're unfamiliar with the concept, a flatwing/bucktail hybrid combines the seductive motion and swimming action of a flatwing (using three contrasting saddles) and the color-blending deliciousness and adding-the-illusion-of-mass properties of bucktail. The length template is Razzle Dazzle, with all strands of flash extending at least 3/4" beyond the longest feather.  Bonus: they're easy to cast for their size, and they swim beautifully on the greased line swing.

 

HerrBlue3FeatherA.jpg.1403fd40221012881c3a93f9f0e9ecdc.jpg

 

Herr Blue Three-Feather Flatwing

Hook: Eagle Claw 253 3/0
Thread: White 6/0
Platform: White bucktail, 30 hairs
Tail: First, a white saddle; second, 2 strands silver flash; third, a pink saddle; fourth, a ginger saddle; fifth, 2 strands light green flash; sixth, 15 hairs light blue and 15 hairs pink bucktail, mixed; seventh, 10 hairs light blue and 10 hairs violet bucktail, mixed; eighth, 2 strands purple flash; ninth, 10 hairs orange and 10 hairs emerald green bucktail, mixed.
Body: Silver braid
Collar: White and ginger bucktail, mixed about 5:1 respectively
Wing: 15 hairs smoky gray bucktail and 30 hairs dark blue bucktail, mixed
Topping: 7-8 stands peacock herl
Eyes: Jungle cock
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A closer look:
HerrBlue3FeatherCU.jpg.69fe378f72bf4655f95afc20822e6aff.jpg
 
Steve Culton

 

 

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They're all flat. I have used a neck hackle support feather on these three-feather flatwings at times (depending on my ambition) but I usually just go with the three flatwing saddles. The neck hackle support would be tied in concave side up. I'd use white for this pattern.

 

Thanks to all, and here's one more bonus shot. :-)

HerrBLue3FeatherB.jpg.8e88d863d2bef754bc13ded18c547531.jpg

 

Steve Culton

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Posted (edited)

Steve:

 

I'm running low on Jungle Cock, was hoping Waters West Fly Shop (in the heart of NW Salmon country) could get me a saddle, but no go apparently.  Do you have a source?

 

Al

Edited by FlatWing
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A cool substitute for the eyes could be wood duck feathers. A little flexament to hold it together and you have a beautiful black and whit e eye

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I have this guy who comes down in a van from Vermont...just kidding. I've bought my last two JC patches at fly fishing shows.

 

Steve Culton

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Steve,

 

Have you ever thought of tying these flies on bendback-style hooks to help reduce fouling on weeds and such? I was in one such location last weekend where a 4-5" sand eel flatwing would have been excellent, if not for the weeds in the water making it hang up constantly. I was using a bendback and had very little issues with weeds, but found myself wishing the flatwings I tied were more resistant to weeds so I could use those instead in that place.

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4 mins ago, RedGreen said:

Steve,

 

Have you ever thought of tying these flies on bendback-style hooks to help reduce fouling on weeds and such? I was in one such location last weekend where a 4-5" sand eel flatwing would have been excellent, if not for the weeds in the water making it hang up constantly. I was using a bendback and had very little issues with weeds, but found myself wishing the flatwings I tied were more resistant to weeds so I could use those instead in that place.

I use a mono loop and it works quite well.Just a thought.

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13 hours ago, KironaFly said:

I actually thought these were Razzle Dazzles. 

A Razzle Dazzle has quite a few more feathers, less bucktail, and no herl topping. When I say "Razzle Dazzle style," I'm referring to the practice of extending the flash at least 3/4" past the longest saddle. It's just a descriptor I use, and I'm sorry if I created any confusion.

 

Here's a Razzle Dazzle and a closer look at the pattern topside. The topping is an olive saddle and a silver doctor blue tip.

IMG_6021.jpg.652195bbfed43dc492ba509a1aa4b69e.jpg

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IMG_6030.jpg.8c2fe1c2e5f99751d8d5acda980de812.jpg

 

~

11 hours ago, RedGreen said:

Steve,

 

Have you ever thought of tying these flies on bendback-style hooks to help reduce fouling on weeds and such? I was in one such location last weekend where a 4-5" sand eel flatwing would have been excellent, if not for the weeds in the water making it hang up constantly. I was using a bendback and had very little issues with weeds, but found myself wishing the flatwings I tied were more resistant to weeds so I could use those instead in that place.

I have not. I don't know how you'd do that and keep the integrity of the design concept. That doesn't mean someone couldn't figure it out, though. Either way, I'm not fishing these flies in weedy areas. :-)

 

Hope that helps,

 

Steve Culton

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Posted (edited)

It is not quite a bendback, but rather a Flatwing tied on a hook with dumbbell eyes so the hook point rides up, but more importantly, the fly sits nose-down and allows the feathers to pulse without movement of the fly, so as to allow working the fly in a flat surf with small strips, much the way a feeding Sand Eel moves.  Hence the eyes are tied as close to the hook eye as possible. I tied the Flatwing patterns in reverse, so the neck hackle support is the last feather to go on.  Pictures attached. note that 2nd picture is actually Kenny's pattern, so all I did was apply the concept to other patterns to play around with Sand Eel age (length/simulated bulk w/o mass) and sky/water conditions (day vs bright night vs dark night/clear vs murky water). Note that where the pattern calls for a peacock herl or feather topping, I substituted appropriate single color or mixed Krystal Flash, as I could split it around the hook bend, and it has less of a tendency to foul that Flashabou (a tip: mixing black and peacock herl Krystal Flash is a better color rendition of real Peacock Herl).

 

With these "half-and-half" Flatwings, I still fish a floating line, but forgo the AirFlo clear floating poly leader for a tapered fluorocarbon leader with the length adjusted for water depth (kind of a SWAG her).  Having a floating line allows for mending so that the waves do not drag the fly.  Most times the bass will hit after the short strip, since this produces a "puff" of sand similar to that generated by a real sand eel. 

 

Regarding adaptation to a weedless design, I can imagine that if one played around with eye size (as in small as possible) and relocating the eyes back towards the hook point, the fly would ride more level (but still would likely no longer suspend, except perhaps with a razzle dazzle or squid type pattern # of feathers), and then a weed guard could be tied after the last bucktail was tied in.  However, I suspect that the weed guard would greatly inhibit the ability of this "top" or wing bucktail to breath. As I'm writing and thinking what might bring the hook back to level would be to substitute the bucktail tied in front of the eyes with a "Headless Horseman" style palmering of long maribou, so combining say pattern #4, 7, 14 or 17 with the patterns of the last 2 pictures (which are unweighted "Headless Horseman"). In this way the pattern, tied  from the hook point end going to the eye would be feathers, palmered maribou, dumbbell eyes, palmered maribou, weed guard.  Just a thought.

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Edited by FlatWing

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