Streamer Tips & Techniques - The Flatwing Style

By Bob Skehan

The flatwing streamer style has been a consistant producer for me over the years, particularly in the smaller casting sizes for brook trout. This by no means precludes this style from being used on the larger, trolling patterns however, as is shown by the widespread popularity of Joe's Smelt, which sports a flatwing made from a pintail flank feather. The main difficulty in tying this style on the longer hooks is the availability of appropriate, long flank feathers for the wing in this size.
In this feature, I'll describe the steps to tie the Woods Special, one of the older flatwing patterns, and a great spring streamer for brook trout ponds. The technique can easily be applied to other patterns as well.

More Flatwing Patterns

Woods Special

  • Thread: black
  • Tag: Flat Silver Tinsel
  • Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet Fibers
  • Body: Flourescent Orange Chenille
  • Rib: Flat Silver Tinsel
  • Wing: A lemon wood duck flank feather, tied flat.
  • Cheeks: Jungle Cock (Optional)
  • Collar: Soft Grizzly hen neck hackle, 2-3 turns, tied back.

Step By Step Tying Instructions

STEP 1: Start your black thread near mid shank, and wind back toward the hook bend, stopping at approximately the hook point. Tie in flat silver tinsel, and wind this back slightly down the bend, and back to the tie in point to create the tag. Select a clump of Golden Pheasant Tippet fibers and tie these in on top of the hook shank for the tailing. The length of the tail should be approximately equal to the gap of the hook.

STEP 2: Tie in the flat silver tinsel ribbing and orange chenille at the point where the tag and tail meet. Be sure to tie in the chenille by the thread core of the material. You'll likely need to strip out a section of the chenille "fluff' to get access to the core. Wind this forward to where the back of the head of the finished streamer will be, and tie off with a couple of wraps. Snip excess. Wind the flat silver tinsel ribbing forward, about 4 turns on a 6X or 4X casting-sized hook, tie off, and snip excess. Be sure to leave enough room to apply the wing, hackle collar, and to finish the head.

STEP 3: Select a lemon wood duck flank that has center fibers just slightly shorter than the hook shank. Fold back the "extra" fibers carefully to the correct wing length, which should be approximately from the back of the head to the tip of the tail. Your selected feather should look approximately like this:

Strip these "extra" fibers from the stem, and place the remaining portion flat on top of the hook. Tie in with a couple loose wraps, double-check the positioning of the wing to make sure it's perpendicular to the hook bend, and secure with a few tight wraps. By selecting a flank feather with longish barbules, you can now wet your fingers, and slick the rear of the wing into shape.

STEP 4: If you decide to apply the Jungle Cock Cheeks, then do so now. For this example, they've been left off, because frankly, this pattern is just as effective without them. Select a grizzly hen neck hackle that has barbules just a bit longer than the hook gap, tie in at the rear of the head tip first, and the "shiny" side towards you. Wind this hackle on for 2 or 3 turns, stroking the barbules back towards the rear of the hook, or fold the hackle before tying in. After the wraps are complete, tie off the remaining hackle, snip excess, and tie the barbules back as a collar. Build a nicely-tapered head, whip finish, and apply head cement. There you have it! A killer flatwing pattern!

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