I have a couple trips coming up this year that could call for some large streamers, so I've been looking into tying flatwing patterns. WFF, Google, and Youtube have good instructions for tying them, but I haven't found much on the background of the design. The more I know about why a fly was designed a certain way, the more confident I am in modifying colors, materials, etc. So here are my stupid questions: Why are the hackle feathers for the tail tied in facing up instead of to the side? That seems to increase the profile of the fly if viewed from below or above, but hides most of the bulk and color if view from the side. Is that deliberate and/or does it serve another purpose? Why do so many patterns use JC for the eyes? Is that simply tradition, or would using glue-on eyes or fish skulls negatively effect movement or profile? Is there an ideal ratio of overall fly length vs. hook shank length? Some of the patterns I've seen have massive tails - maybe 5 or 6 times the length of the hook. Seems like that would make flatwings more prone to short strikes. Is that the case?