Published Jan 1. 2001 - 23 years ago
Updated or edited Jan 21. 2016

Oatman swap

The idea of a swap of patterns originated by Lew Oatman came from interaction by the participants on The Streamer Board on this site. The swap was hosted by Bob Petti.

The idea of a swap of patterns originated by Lew Oatman came from interaction by the participants on The Streamer Board once hosted on this site. The swap was hosted by Bob Petti.
A very informative Introduction To Lew Oatman's Patterns was authored by Chris Del Plato.

Thanks to both Bob and Chris for their hard work. Select any of the links below to see the patterns submitted for the swap. Enjoy!


Submitted By Bob Petti


HOOK TMC 300, #6
THREAD Black Danville 6/0, White Danville Flat Waxed Nylon
BODY Cream Floss
RIB Flat Gold tinsel
THROAT Orange Hen
WING A pair of olive hackles inside of a pair of golden badger hackles
CHEEKS Jungle Cock
HEAD Black
  1. I used white Danville's flat waxed nylon to tie in the tinsel rib and floss, using the thick thread to build a slender tapered body shape.
  2. After shaping the underbody with the nylon thread, I wrapped the floss and rib forward, tying them off under the hook shank.
  3. Using a bright orange hen hackle, I plucked a section of barbs and tied them in under the hook shank beard style, trying to make the throat about a hook gap in length.
  4. I matched a pair of olive and a pair of golden badger hackles and trimmed them to length, so that when tied in the tips of the hackles are just beyond the back of the hook.
  5. I oriented the hackles so that the concave sides are in, with the pair of olive hackles inside the pair of badger hackles. These are tied in on top of the hook shank such that the wings hug the top of the body.
  6. I chose a pair of jungle cock eyes that were quite small and tied them on the side of the head wraps, trying to keep them as flat with the wing as possible.
  7. Flattening the thread, I wrapped the head, whip finished my thread, and applied a couple coats of head cement, one thin to seal the wrapsand one thick to add a glossy finish.


Submitted By Chris DelPlato


HOOK Mustad 9575, 3665A or equivalent. Sizes 6 - 10.
THREAD Black, 8/0 Uni-Thread
TAIL Mottled brown turkey feather, as long as hook gap.
BODY Light yellow floss or Uni-Stretch
RIB Flat gold mylar tinsel, size 14.
THROAT Small section of goose quill.
WING Small bunch of fox squirrel tail hair, extending to end of tail.
CHEEKS Jungle Cock, small & short.
HEAD Black
Chris's Comments On This Pattern:

My aim in tying this pattern was not so much to follow the original recipe, but to closely replicate the look that Lew Oatman intended. As a reference, I used the picture of the streamer in Joseph Bates' book "Streamers and Bucktails - The Big Fish Flies." that fly was tied by Keith Fulsher, who was instructed how to tie it by Oatman himself.
Although the construction of the "Postmaster" is fairly conventional, I offer the following insights:

I chose the 9575 loop-eye style hook, since it offers a 'shelf' on top, which can be of help with wing placement. However, after tying these flies, I now believe that the loop end hinders the tapering of the front of the body - a common feature in 16 of Oatman's 17 patterns. The 3665A or similar non-loop hook may be more desirable.

Achieving that 'cigar-like' tapered body that I had seen on Mr. Oatmans' originals was a the most challenging aspect of this fly. I tied some with 4 strand floss and some with Uni-Stretch. I did prefer the golden yellow color of the floss over the brighter yellow of the Uni-Stretch, for this pattern. I find both easy to tie with, however, I believe the Uni-Stretch to be superior for bare hook applications. It has some interesting qualities with regard to streamer bodies. It is a bit more forgiving than 4 strand, in that its stretch seems to help it to 'spread' itself evenly. Uni-Stretch can be used by hand ( like traditional 4 strand floss) or fed through a bobbin. If the latter is used, an occasional spin of the bobbin will prevent it from 'roping up' from twist. I find it easier to handle in a bobbin. I realized near the end of tying my flies that since the Uni-Stretch can be pulled tight, it can be used in place of the thread to lash the tail and tinsel to the hook. This produces a much smoother back-end taper.

Another issue worthy of mention here, in that care should be taken to clip all the squirrel hair from the same spot on the tail. This will ensure that all the dark banding or marking on the hair will be aligned after stacking.

In addition, if Jungle Cock is used, it should be treated with Dave's Flexament, or something similar. This not only makes it more durable, but also adds a bit more shine to the nail.

For a very interesting featherwing conversion of this pattern, see "The Shushan Postmaster Revisited" by Dick Talleur, Fly Tyer - Autumn '95.


Submitted By Doug Saball


HOOK 2x- 6x size 4-12
HEAD Black
TAIL Very small section of silver pheasant wing quill.
BODY white floss, slightly tapered
RIB medium narrow flat silver tinsel
THROAT a few fibers of peacock sword, curved downward to hook point.
WING 2 white edged badger hackles slightly past tail.
CHEEKS Jungle Cock, small and short
Doug's Tying Instructions:

I Starting
1. Place the lower part of the hook bend in the jaw of the vice. Tighten the vice jaws enough to hold the hook securely without slippage.
2 Place the thread over at the hook at the center of the shank with the bobbin in your fight hand and the loose end of the thread held firmly between your left thumb and index finger.
3 Make several thread wraps forward toward the eye of the hook, keeping tension on the thread with both hands. Note, always wrap away from you over the top of the hook.
4. Wind the thread back over the first wraps.
5. Trim off the tag end of the thread after it is secured by over wraps. Continue wrapping thread back about 1/16 inch from the start of the bend.

II The Tail
6. Hold the tail material between your thumb and forefinger and position it on the hook shank. Rise the bobbin above the hook so that the thread is taut against the near side of the material.

7. Pinch the thread between your thumb and forefinger to keep the tension on the thread and hold the tail material in place.
8. Form a slack, or soft, loop above the tail material. Bring the thread back down the other side of the material and hook shank sliding the thread between you thumb and forefinger without releasing the tension.
9. Slowly pull the bobbin straight down, keeping pressure on the thread and tail material with your thumb and forefinger.
10. Make several more soft loops to secure, and continue the wrapping.

III The Body & Ribbing
11. Cut a 3-inch length of silver tinsel, or thread the spool of tinsel through a spare bobbin.

12. Tie in the ribbing material on top of the hook shank making several thread wraps to secure. Trim the tag.
13. Continue to wrap the thread to about 1/8 behind the eye.
14. Cut a 12-inch length of multi-strand floss, or thread the spool of floss through a spear bobbin.
15. Hold the strands of floss between your right hand thumb and forefinger. Place the floss over the eye of the hook. Tie in the strands of floss about 1/8 behind the eye of the hook wit several turns of thread.
16. Grasp the floss ends and wrap around the hook shank back to the tail and ribbing material. To form a tapered body slightly overlap previous wraps as you wind the floss.
17. Once at the tail, overwrap the floss by wrapping forward to the thread at the eye. Note; two layers helps to keep the color of the floss true. Some floss materials are semi-transparent allowing the under thread to bleed through.
18. Secure the floss with several turns of the thread, and trim the excess floss.
19. Grasp the tinsel ribbing and wind forward over the body material with evenly spaced open-spiral wraps. It is important to keep an even tension on the ribbing material. This is where a rotary vice is advantageous.

IV. Wing Preparation
20. Select two white edged badger hackles of equal webbing and length from the left and right side of the hackle cape.
21. Strip the individual hackle fibers off each hackle until they are the proper length. Apply a light line of thick head cement along each badger hackle stem, from the base to the jungle cock nail length.
22. Strip the individual hackle fibers off each Jungle cock eye until they are the proper length.
23. Cement the jungle cock nails to each wing. When the cement has dried sufficiently, proceed to the next step.

Note; with C grade Jungle cock eyes most are split. To achieve a smother look apply a small amount of head cement and work flat between your thumb and forefinger.

V. Finishing
24. Attach the wing assemblies to the hook shank so that the wing is above the body.
25. Build a neat head, whip finish, and apply head cement.


Submitted by Donald C. Corey


HOOK 3 - 6x long, size 2 - 6
TAIL yellow hackle as long as the gap of the hook (optional)
BODY pale cream or amber floss, slightly tapered
RIB medium flat gold tinsel
THROAT small bunch of yellow hackle, over which is orange hackle edged outward
WING Two yellow grizzly saddle hackles, covered by two yellow saddles, all extending slightly beyond the tail
CHEEKS Jungle Cock, small
Don's Comments On This Pattern:

I have not had a chance to fish the fly yet but I am looking forward to trying it (I pulled a muscle in my right bicep and have not been able to cast for 2 weeks).

I opted to use Uni-Floss for the body. I have used this some and it makes a nice looking body. I had a difficult time finding yellow grizzly with the size hackle that I needed and the color to match the yellow hackles. All the Metz saddles seemed to be the very long, thin style really too small for a streamer hackle. Bill Smith of Smitty's Flies in Bradley pawed through his "stuff" and found a suitable saddle patch for me.

I tied my flies on a Mustad 33960, size 6. I used 8x Uni-thread for the body and switched to 6x Uni-thread for the wings and head. I used Paul's Super Cement on the head with a coating of black lacquer for the finish coat.

I think that I would like to make a modification to the recipe to try. You know we tyers are never satisfied. I think that I will try a body of green Uni-Floss rather than the amber. I really think that this would simulate the flash of green that is visible on the yellow perch in this area (Maine). I may also try a red over yellow throat rather than the orange over yellow. Too many ideas and not enough time.

I have enjoyed this Oatman swap and am looking forward to receiving and fishing with the other streamers. Thanks to Bob Petti for "hosting" this swap and to Bob Skehan for handling the "web stuff".


Submitted By Lindsey Grandison


HOOK 6 X long, ring eye. Partirdge CS5, Mustad 36620 or Daiichi 2460
TAIL A bunch of white hackle barbs over which is tied a equal sized bunch of black hackle barbs over which is tied a bunch twice as large of orange hackle barbs. Length equal to hook gap.
BODY White floss on the rear three quarters of the shank and a salmon pink floss on the front quarter. The body has a slight taper.
RIB Flat Gold tinsel
THROAT A large bunch of orange hackle barbs under which is a half sized bunch of black hackle barbs under which is a half sized (to the orange)bunch of white hackle barbs. Length is similar to that of the tail.
UNDERWING A sparse underwing of orange bucktail which ends at the end of the tail.
WING Olive over grizzly. The outer olive wing is spotted with red and yellow dots along the central stem.
EYES Jungle Cock
HEAD The dorsal surface of the thread wraps immediately behind the eye of the hook is painted white
Lindsey's Comments On This Pattern

Apply the dots of paint to the olive saddle hackle before the hackle is tied into the fly. It helps if the paint is quite thick. I used lacquer. With one of the bottles, I had to let it stand uncapped for a day in order to evaporate off some of the thinner in the paint.. If the paint is too thin, it will wick along the stem and barbs.

As recommended by Dick Talleur it helps to coat the jungle cock nails with head cement before tying them in. Coating them prevents the nail from splitting.

This listing of materials differs from that given by Joe Bates in "Streamers and Bucktails" by the inclusion of an underwing of orange bucktail. I chose to add an underwing because I examined the picture of the Lew Oatman Brook Trout in the Bates' book and it appeared to have an underwing even though one was not listed in the tying pattern. There is another illustration for the Lew Oatman Brook Trout in Schmookler and Sils' " Rare and Unusual Tying Material, Vol II". The fly pictured there also appeared to have an orange bucktail underwing. I tried tying with and without the underwing and decided to include an underwing in all of the flies submitted for the swap. I found that an underwing gave some support to the wing allowing it to lay in place more easily. How the inclusion of the underwing will affect the action once the fly is in the water and whether one without an underwing will catch more fish than one with is unresolved in my mind. I guess I will just have to go fishing and find out.


Submitted By Joe Mulvey


HOOK Streamer style, 4x - 8x, Size 6 or 8
TAIL Orange and Yellow hackle tips, mixed
BODY White wool, tapered
RIB Oval tinsel
WING Two Olive Hackles sandwiched betwixt two Blue Dun Hackles
THROAT Same as tail


Submitted By Stan Jakubaszek


HOOK 6x 6-10
HEAD Black
TAIL small bunch of orange hackle, size of hook gap
BODY white floss, slightly tapered
THROAT small bunch of white bucktail with tail material over
WING small bunch of yellow bucktail with 4 peacock herl on top
SHOULDERS grey-blue dun saddle hackle as long as wing
CHEEKS Jungle Cock, short


Submitted By Stan Jakubaszek


HOOK 6x 6-8
HEAD Black
TAIL red marabou, cut off straight even with hook bend
BODY pink floss, slightly tapered
RIB Flat Gold tinsel
THROAT red marabou, cut same as tail
WING 2 black saddle hackles with 2 badger saddle hackles over
CHEEKS Jungle Cock
Stan's Comments On These Patterns:

Both of these Oatman patterns have been successful in catching a variety of fish; bass seem to love them when the patterns are allowed to 'hang' in the current and then retrieved erratically. the Golden Shiner has been attracting browns for me while the Red Fin has been almost an exclusive rainbow getter. I've fished them exclusively so far in size 8 and 10 with similar results for either size. Using real tinsel instead of the mylar type adds just a little weight to the streamers and they float just a little lower in the water column, especially with a faster current.


Submitted By Ron McKusick


HOOK No. 2 to No. 10, 3X long
HEAD Gray-tan, to match the upper wing
TAIL A very small bunch of fibers from a blue dun hackle, slightly longer than the gap of the hook
BODY Wound with white floss, slightly tapered
RIB medium flat silver tinsel
THROAT the same as the tail, and of same length
WING A small bunch of summer sable tail hair, extending to the end of the tail. Over thhis are two fibers of pink dyed ostrich, of the same length. On each side of the hair and ostrich is a chinchilla saddle hackle of the same length.
CHEEKS Jungle Cock, small and short
Ron's Comments On This Pattern:

The only thing I changed on this was the summer sable hair and changed it to silkworm silk.
From Joseph D. Bates' Book, Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing:
"Pike Perch will feed heavily on schools of trout perch, expecially during the spawning season when these little minnows run towards and into the creeks. This pattern, the Ghost Shiner, and the Silver Darter are fine when fly fishing for the pike perch."


Submitted By Bob Skehan


HOOK No. 8, 6X long
THREAD black 6/0
TAIL A very small bunch of gray hackle fibers
BUTT A few turns of red floss
BODY Tapered White floss
RIB medium flat silver tinsel, over body only
THROAT A small bunch of gray hackle fibers
WING Two medium blue saddle hackles on each side of which is a silver badger saddle hackle, all extending to the end of the tail.
CHEEKS Jungle Cock, rather short
Bob's Comments On This pattern:

The original pattern calls for a medium blue saddle hackle to be used as the inner pair, but not having a decent medium blue, I chose to substitute a blue dun hackle. I liked the results. I'm also very partial to patterns which use silver or golden badger saddle hackles for wings, particularly those with a dark "V" shape along the stem. It's very fishy looking.

To build up and taper the body, I used a cream-colored dubbing as an underbody. It was much quicker than using floss only, and doesn't seem to effect its sink rate when fished.

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