Stupid Questions about Flatwing Flies

#16
Made my first attempt last night. I pirated what looks like a 1/0 or larger stinger hook from a fly I bought in San Diego. I followed a Youtube video for a multi-feather pattern (I used white, yellow, and blue feathers). I didn't have blue buck tail, so I used some blue ripple ice instead. I have to admit, I was skeptical of the final product at first. It seemed really disorganized with the buck tail splayed out everywhere and long feathers hanging out the back:

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After the eyes dried, I decided to see what it looked like wet. Much better! I love the profile - a full 3D presentation. I looks fishy from the sides, as well as above or below. I can see how the flat feathers will swim well. I was able to make a swimming motion by just moving the fly side to side.

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Here's one more from this morning after it dried. It looks much better now that the peacock herl is cooperating. I can tell this pattern is very dependent on material selection. I'm going to need some better buck tail and hackle feathers if I want to improve.

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Thanks again for all the advice.
 
#18
I would head to gig harbor fly shop for the hackle, they have a great selection of Keough saddles for $35, and many smaller feathers for the sound, the flatwing saddles from whiting I purchased are great but most feathers are too long for most of the flies you will tie. I was actually thinking about setting up some sort of exchange where east coast striped bass tiers send us their small feathers and we send them our large feathers. I have found that feathers similar to the picture i posted below swim the best for smaller flies. Others will say you can get away with wooly bugger packs from whiting or the cheap saddle hackles but I disagree, the Keough saddles make it so much easier and really aren’t that expensive.

I took a class with Brita last year and she said that some beaches JC is more effective, some beaches fish heads are better, I like the look of the fish heads and mostly tie these.

I believe flow from loon is super important, after each hackle I tie in I add a bit and it really locks in, but only if tied correctly, won’t correct a bad tie in. Second the fluff puff or whatever, gives it just enough to sit right. It’s a little dance every time for me still to get it right. And don’t settle, keep playing with it until it’s perfectly flat.

I have been swimming them in the tank a bunch over the last few weeks and have found that sparsely tied patterns keel better for me, and the tiemco 811-s outperforms the other hooks I have used, you need a bit of weight with all the fluff that’s in there.

I was using fox tail + minnow belly for the underside, but have found that just using the minnow belly swims better.

Also, you’ll want to tie in flashabou with each hackle you add, according to abhrames this creates a lot of flash as the flatwings swim and is important, and looks much better in my swimming experiments.

I dove head first into this thing a few months ago and it gets quite addicting:)

If you send me your email I will forward you some videos of my flies swimming in the tank.

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FinLuver

Active Member
#21
  • 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?
Not sure this is the reason, but Gunnar Brammer's explanation seems to fit...

"In the "olden days", longish streamer patterns, meant to imitate "prey" fish, were tied on long streamers hooks, so that material could be tied on in stages, due to less than ideal material lengths. Secondly, most prey has defensive mechanisms, such as spines and or flared gills to counteract being eaten; therefore, most prey is attacked on the side and near the head...most predators eat fishes, head first. A problem with the longer hook design, is that the fly was attacked near the eye of the hook (head), missing the point and the barb." [paraphrased]

Fly design and materials are very important, Gunnar does a good job of explaining in his "Tie Like A Pro" YouTube series. Even though he ties mainly for bass and pike, I find his knowledge and explanations to be helpful in my general fly tying.
 
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#23
So I'm going on a warm water trip. I'm posting here because I'm going to fish some flat wing flys. This is one of my first try's. This is tied on a 34007 6/0, it's a 7 feather tie, and is 7.5 to 8 inches long. Please let me know what I need to make this a better fish catching fly.
For warm water species it's been my experience that once you're getting into the 6/0 class of fly/fish, a circle hook isn't a bad idea. I like the Owner Mutu Heavy line. Wouldn't want that toad Ulua to straighten you out (not that most reels have drag strong enough to straighten a standard Mutu...)! Maybe try some red gills. Overall it looks like it'll swim great!
 

bjkhred

no longer new to board
#25
Brita ties some beautiful flies, and seems like a very solid fly fisher...

But really, jungle cock eyes are more effective than another type of eyes on SOME beaches? Hah Right.
I've got a sweet private saltwater beach in Nebraska I'm trying to sell also.
There are many reasons that jungle cock works better on certain beaches than epoxy heads or fish masks. The first and main reason is WEIGHT. Utilizing different head shapes and/or different eyes allow the fly to swim differently and the materials to move differently. Even if the weight were even, 3D stick on eyes will make a fly swim differently than cock eyes.

And don’t worry, Nebraska isn’t my thing
 
#26
There are many reasons that jungle cock works better on certain beaches than epoxy heads or fish masks. The first and main reason is WEIGHT. Utilizing different head shapes and/or different eyes allow the fly to swim differently and the materials to move differently. Even if the weight were even, 3D stick on eyes will make a fly swim differently than cock eyes.

And don’t worry, Nebraska isn’t my thing

I certainly respect your opinion but I'll just have to agree to disagree.

Confidence in what you're fishing is IMO one of the most important factors in all fishing. If you believe a jungle cock fly will swim better or out produce an epoxy head fly, then that's all that really matters.
 

SilverFly

Active Member
#27
For warm water species it's been my experience that once you're getting into the 6/0 class of fly/fish, a circle hook isn't a bad idea. I like the Owner Mutu Heavy line. Wouldn't want that toad Ulua to straighten you out (not that most reels have drag strong enough to straighten a standard Mutu...)! Maybe try some red gills. Overall it looks like it'll swim great!
Circle hooks work fine in smaller sizes as well. I use 3/0 Mustad C71 circles for some albacore flies. I like them for "deep soak" fishing on the drift where partial retrieves are used before stack mending and letting the line sink back to depth (then repeat). Using a circle hook gives you a chance if your fly gets eaten on the sink with all that slack line. I've caught fish on the retrieve as well, just don't strip strike too quickly/abruptly or you could miss a hookup. Make contact, and give a good snug set once you feel the weight of the fish.
 
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#28
I certainly respect your opinion but I'll just have to agree to disagree.

Confidence in what you're fishing is IMO one of the most important factors in all fishing. If you believe a jungle cock fly will swim better or out produce an epoxy head fly, then that's all that really matters.

You can have all the confidence in the world, if your fly is snagged on the bottom you’re more likely to sell that beach you were talking about.

I don’t think anyone disagrees it helps fishing flies with confidence. However, there is no doubt a difference in the number of fish that will hit a well tied flat wing fished appropriately vs a poorly tied flatwing fished with confidence.

Here is an example: I fish for a living. Two clients fishing at once, one off the bow and one off the stern. Client A on the bow is fairly new to fly fishing, client B on the stern reads an awful lot and can’t be told anything. This is a fairly common situation.

Client A is nervous they are not going to catch anything, is a pretty novice caster but they stick with it and they are listening to direction well.

Client B is casting 60-70’ and doing what he read on... well let’s say Washington Fly Fishing. Fishing the same fly as Client A. Not willing to change his retrieve to suit the fly and water because he was told that confidence is all that matters.

Confidence is going to get Client B a couple fish because we are on good water and I’m going to move the boat a bit to make sure dispite his ill advised approach he lands couple fish and has a good time. I’m pretty freaking good at my job lucky for him.

Fishing the right fly, the right way, in the right water is going to get Client A the better numbers and likely the bigger fish.

Knowing a section of water so intemently that whether or not your fly should jig through a section of water with a head or swims just below the surface with JC is a big difference. That’s not confidence in your pattern. That’s confidence in your knowledge of a fishery. The idea that it wouldn’t make a difference is laughable.

Or you can say “I’m confident my wooly bugger looks like a squid, let’s go fishing.” Which albeit is also fun I’m sure. However, we have a fishery that does improve with how you approach it.
 

FinLuver

Active Member
#29
Or it could be...
There are more fish schooled up at the bow than the stern and it wouldn't matter which fly either threw. One thing we can be confident in, the guide has an ego and shows prejudice to those who will listen to him. Maybe we should look for a guide with jungle cock eyes, when determining our confidence in guide choice?? You can have the best looking fly in the world, have all the confidence in it, but at the end of the day...there has to be fish "in" the water you are fishing. This I am confident in. ;)
 
#30
I did not say "that's all that really matters" in regard to ALL of fishing... As if to say fishing a spark plug tied onto a floating line with confidence will catch just as many fish as a properly tied fly pattern. The "all that really matters" was in relation to confidence itself. I strongly believe in having confidence that what you are fishing is the right fly, with the right retrieve, at the right time/location. That confidence can vary from person to person though, and that's my point. In the situation you describe I would fish whatever fly I chose with extreme confidence, and I would catch fish. You might choose to have your clients fish with flatwings tied a certain way because that would give you the confidence to do your job effectively. You yourself have confidence that if you move the boat a bit that your client who isn't listening is going to catch a couple fish. But how do you prove that he caught that fish BECAUSE you moved the boat, and would not have done so anyway? How do you know that one guy fishing a JC fly is casting over a pod of 5 fish in the bow while one guy fishing an epoxy head in the stern is casting over empty water? Perhaps the guy on the bow has shortened his leader to the point that his fly is riding lower in the water column? Perhaps he was eating Cheetos and got some on his JC fly and cutthroat love Cheetos. How can you prove that when you have your client replace his non JC fly with one that does have JC that in that three minute span some fish moved into the area? Now when they recast their new fly they are showing the fly to fish that were not there a few minutes prior. There are so many factors in fishing which is why I'm a big believer in confidence. At the end of the day we can't control all these factors, so IMO the best we can do is fish what we feel is an appropriate fly for the time and place. You guys like to fish flatwings with your program. That's your gig and I can dig that for sure. Not everyone has the patience to tie those things, especially when doing so for clients who I'm sure lose a ton of them. But the bottom line is you can't prove a negative.... You can't prove that your flatwing outfishes a wooly bugger fished with confidence. There are far too many unknown factors. This is where confidence is key for me.... Because there are so many outside factors, and so many things we can't really prove, I believe the best one can do is find what works for them and stick with it.

Nobody is doubting that you guys know the Canal well, or that your flies don't catch fish. You both tie amazing flies, (Especially Brita, no offense Justin :) ) but I simply choose to approach this fishery differently. I tend to approach all fisheries differently really. I too fish for a living, albeit different fisheries, but at the end of the day fishing is fishing and myself I have become a big believer in 98% of the time its the archer, not the arrow. No doubt you are good at your job, which perhaps explains a customers success better than JC vs. Non JC. Myself I am very much in the K.I.S.S. camp when it comes to fishing, and I have a very high level of confidence in my ability to catch fish. In every fishery I've ever engaged in I've taken the most simple, direct approach and my results have been very good. Put me on the bow of your boat with a box of my own flies, and you guys fish the stern with your flatwings, and at the end of the day I am quite sure we will both have stellar days. Especially with someone like yourself who knows the water so well running the boat.

We get these guys on the ocean all the time... The ones who show up to go tuna fishing with every piece of fancy gear known to man. Rapalas, X-Raps, fancy Japanese plugs I can't even pronounce, flatfall jigs, butterfly jigs, poppers etc etc etc. They do things like put scent on their gear, drop down to 15 lb fluorocarbon, change their lure/size/color every five minutes looking for that bite. When he does hookup hes convinced it's because he finally found the right lure.
I on the other hand, spending every single day of the summer tuna fishing, just smile and wait for the albacore to come eat the cedar plug I'm running on the port side outrigger.
My personal belief is you are good at your job for the same reason I am good at mine. You spend so much time on the water, not because your flies have JC. But just like your opinion, mine certainly can't be proved.

I know of several guys who spend just as much time on the water with their wooly buggers and catch as many fish as anyone.

There's more than one way to skin a cat, which is one reason I love fishing so much. We can each approach a fishery differently and each catch plenty of fish doing it our own way


You can have all the confidence in the world, if your fly is snagged on the bottom you’re more likely to sell that beach you were talking about.

I don’t think anyone disagrees it helps fishing flies with confidence. However, there is no doubt a difference in the number of fish that will hit a well tied flat wing fished appropriately vs a poorly tied flatwing fished with confidence.

Here is an example: I fish for a living. Two clients fishing at once, one off the bow and one off the stern. Client A on the bow is fairly new to fly fishing, client B on the stern reads an awful lot and can’t be told anything. This is a fairly common situation.

Client A is nervous they are not going to catch anything, is a pretty novice caster but they stick with it and they are listening to direction well.

Client B is casting 60-70’ and doing what he read on... well let’s say Washington Fly Fishing. Fishing the same fly as Client A. Not willing to change his retrieve to suit the fly and water because he was told that confidence is all that matters.

Confidence is going to get Client B a couple fish because we are on good water and I’m going to move the boat a bit to make sure dispite his ill advised approach he lands couple fish and has a good time. I’m pretty freaking good at my job lucky for him.

Fishing the right fly, the right way, in the right water is going to get Client A the better numbers and likely the bigger fish.

Knowing a section of water so intemently that whether or not your fly should jig through a section of water with a head or swims just below the surface with JC is a big difference. That’s not confidence in your pattern. That’s confidence in your knowledge of a fishery. The idea that it wouldn’t make a difference is laughable.

Or you can say “I’m confident my wooly bugger looks like a squid, let’s go fishing.” Which albeit is also fun I’m sure. However, we have a fishery that does improve with how you approach it.
 
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