By Nick Simonson
For a big streamer fly with life-like baitfish movement it’s tough to beat the Flat Wing. Nearly two-dimensional, with its tall, flat profile on the vise, this streamer slims down in the water and with its large, arching top and bottom wings, it pulses with every strip and twitch, enticing big predator fish like bass and pike to strike when they see it from the side. Unlike other bucktail flies, there’s not a lot of bulk or weight to the Flat Wing, making it easier to cast. Tie a dozen or so in various forage patterns and get ready for a spring and summer filled with smashing success.
Hook: Mustad 3407 Size 2 to 2/0
Thread: 3/0 White
Tail: 2 White Saddle Hackles, Pearl Flash
Body: Pearl Estaz
Overwing: White/Gray/Black Bucktail, Silver Flash
Topwing: 3 Peacock Herls
Underwing: White Bucktail
Gills: Red Krystal Flash
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Insert the hook into the vise and start the thread on the shank, letting it hang near the bend of the hook. Start the fly by selecting two hackles about two-to-three times the length of the hook. Cut them out of the hackle selection just below where the marabou fuzz starts. Tie one on either side of the hook shank and put three or four strands of pearl krystal flash on either side (1). Once secure, tie in a four-inch strand of pearl estaz and advance the thread about 3/4 of the way up the hook shank. Wrap the estaz forward to form the body, tying off and trimming the excess (2).
At that point, tie in a sparse pinch of white bucktail with even tips and add a few strands of silver krystal flash (3). On top of that, add a pinch of bucktail with gray layered under black in the same length as the white layer (4). Flip the hook over and tie in another sparse pinch of white bucktail as the underwing, before rotating the vise back to the standard holding position (5).
On top of the upper wing, add in three strands of peacock herl that will reach to the back of the tail hackles and provide a solid upper outline on the bait’s profile in the water (6). As opposed to the traditional jungle cock feather eyes, I like to add flash for gills, so take five or six strands of red krystal flash and tie in short delta-shaped gills on each side of the pattern behind the thread head (7). Secure everything in place and whip finish the head of the fly. Once complete, take a permanent marker and color the head of the fly (here, black) and add a layer of head cement to lock everything in place (8).
Sparse is the name of the game – don’t overload the fly with too much hair or flash. When kept relatively light, the materials will pulse and swim in the water with a simple strip-and-pause cadence, giving this streamer a life-like presentation to hungry predators. This simple black-and-white version can be easily customized with a grab bag of bucktail pieces in a variety of colors to match the prey species in any water or to create something wild made from confidence colors. Tweak and adjust material lengths, hues and hook sizes to match what’s swimming in front of pike, bass and anything that eats smaller fish this spring and summer and you’ll find success!
Featured Photo: Flat Wings are easily customized to match available forage for pike, bass and even walleyes. Dress them up to entice more strikes, but keep the bucktail and flash sparse for easy movement in the water. Simonson Photo.