Quonnie

Flat Wings

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Jerry,

You can fish them any depth in the water column if you like.

It all depends on bait layers, where fish are laying, etc. 

The geometry of the flat wing makes it more visible from viewing underneath at least to us humans.

Side views produce a thinner profile while stripping.

But I you're going to use them as designed you want them above, close to the surface and breathing in the water.

This is where technique come into play, choice of line, slow action rods if fishing long flies.

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Already mentioned by Steve in this thread ... but a Flat Wing is just about how one places a feather in a fly build. Flat Wings come in all sizes (as does the Surf Candy).

 

I fish Surf Candies a lot ... very effective. But a while back, I received some small Flat Wings that were probably tied / meant for Albies ... and caught a lot of Springtime Stripers on it. No surprise really ... the sizing "matched the hatch" (creek chub minnows) was right and the small Flat Wing had a nice undulating action to it ... as a streamer fly should.

 

So Size does matter ... now go out and Catch a Big One!

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On 11/1/2019 at 2:32 AM, The Fisherman said:

See if you can find some Eagle Claw 253 hooks, the classic hook for this classic template

I fished one of Joe Cordeiro's flatwings this weekend (my understanding is he only uses the EC253) and the hook opened up on me.  I was fishing 20# and horsing fish - but my Owner Akis stayed put.

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I have been tying them on Tarpon Hooks, I figure if it will hold a Tarpon it will penetrate and hold a Striped Bass, and that way I can use them for Tarpon as well.

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Hook choice does matter.  Ken Abrames ended up using the EC 253 exclusively for his versions of flat wing flies because it was short shank, pretty strong, especially in the larger sizes, and the right weight to balance his flies if you used the proportions and lengths he recommended.  Also, fairly cheap and somewhat corrosion resistant with the nickel finish.  I think it took Ken many years of refinement of his patterns to finally decide on the 253.  Admittedly, there weren't that many choices back then, but it was no accident that the 253 became his go-to flat wing hook.  I'm pretty sure Steve Culton has a thread on this on his site.  Well worth a read.   As I recall, Ken was not real big on the stainless versions that were similar-- the EC 254 SS and a similar hook by Mustad.  They were too heavy for his tastes.  I learned the importance of this first hand one spring evening fishing the "herring hatch" with my friend Lyle, a superb fisherman and fly tier in his own right.  Lyle was hooking up regularly with a big flat wing pattern while I was drawing blanks fishing the same soft current seam where the fish were holding and feeding with a fly that looked identical to his.  When we finally called it a night, I asked him what was he doing that I wasn't doing (other than the fact that he was simply a much better fisherman)?  He said, "Let me see your fly in the water."  He shined his light on my fly, and said, "Give it some slack."   And my fly nosed over at about 45 degrees and swam toward the bottom.  Then Lyle said, "Look at mine."  On a slack line, his flat wing laid almost perfectly horizontal in the water sinking ever so slowly, held up by those flat hackles with the bucktail pulsing and the flashabou shining ever so slightly.  Everything about his fly said "Eat Me!"  Mine suggested "Fake!".  I learned something very important from Lyle that night, and over time I've come to the opinion that flat wings work their magic the best when they are swung in some current and allowed to pause in soft water or near the end of the swing.  But they have to be tied correctly and on the right style of hook for that to work.  I'm not suggesting that there aren't good alternatives to the EC 253 (which is getting harder to find).  I would suggest that if you use an alternative hook, that you take a good look at that fly in the water to see how it behaves at rest.  Then adjust how and where you place materials to get that good horizontal resting position.  I tie a lot of smaller flat wings on Owner Mosquito hooks.  (You have to bend the offset slightly to get them true).  They work great on sea trout and redfish down south here.  I'm not sure they are stout enough for big stripers, though I've caught a lot of false albacore on them on fairly high drag settings without issue.  Tight lines. 

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Very helpful bmac, I will run some of the ones I have tied on the Tarpon hooks and see what they look like verus the flies tied on the 253 and report back. The Tarpon hooks I use are short shanked as well. 

Interesting about the hackle supporting the fly in a horizontal position in slack water, I had not thought it would make that much difference but I have been wrong in the past and will be again I am sure.

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A tarpon hook is pretty heavy.  It might just collapse the fly unless you bulk it up or fish it in much heavier current, or strip it fast.  But that's not what a flat wing is designed to do IMO.  I think they work the best in the soft seams or on that pause at the end of the swing where the fly just comes to life.  Give it a try and see.  I'm curious about the Owner Akis that JCH mentioned.  I'll definitely be checking those out. 

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Bob, thanks.  I will say the fly got eaten a ton - and more often than not on the pause.  (On a separate note, I do love when you can get a fish to commit through your retrieve and watch the whole thing unfold.  In this case they would follow the fly on a somewhat fast retrieve, I'd stop it dead, wait for them to slurp it, and stick them in the face.  You have to anticipate it ever so slightly - just the best.)

 

I've never really considered the weight of the hook affecting movement (I'm new to tying).  I'll give it a test this weekend. 

 

Thanks!

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Posted (edited) · Report post

BMAC  without quoting your whole post you brought up many good valuable point because they are based on experience. 

Edited by Orca

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I have the flatwing books and love the way they behave. I have used standard Hackles for my first attempts. I know there are flatwing hackles but they are hard to find and expensive. Are there other options that would work in order to create quality flatwings? Thanks in advance for the insights.

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You can definitely find other hackle, it takes some looking. I like the shows and flipping thru bins of necks for what I want. 
 

I was never a fan of the 253, I’m biased based on a single experience of straightening out a hook on a particularly hot 40” class fish. I also never fished them fully flat wing ‘style’. 
 

also, keep in mind that you can always adjust the fly - more or less sparse based on your needs. You can dress a fly a little more heavily to compensate for a heavier hook. But obviously, that my be counter to the flat wing approach of a sparse fly and an ‘illusion’ of bulk vs actual bulk. Again, it’s all about adjusting to your needs/wants. 

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So not being the sharpest tool in the shed, the "flatwing" as it is tied actually supports the fly correct. If you add more flatwing hackle could that support a heavier gauge hook? and still maintain the same profile, you would just stack them on top of each other.

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