Friday, April 25, 2014

A Flatwing Sculpin

     Really liking the flatwing creations of Ken Abrames & other East Coast tiers, & fascinated with the beautiful designs of the Puget Sound anglers, who have adapted the style to match their bait, I thought to try some patterns designed to meet trout in my home waters, & over the next few posts I’ll feature a few that I think are worthwhile. 

A sculpin was the first critter that came to mind as a flatwing candidate. I fish sculpin patterns a lot on the UC, & I'm always looking for a better one. Peter Van Hest fished the first flatwing out of the vice & had a really good morning swinging it from the bank, catching two nice redband & the chunky surprise of a smallmouth bass, before losing the fly on the bottom. Then we spent most of the day tying a bunch more –  

(And it wouldn’t surprise me that the Flatwing Sculpin is taken for a crayfish, as stillwater smallies seem particularly fond of it. With a built-in action that bass like, I see a lot of potential in flatwing designs tied for freshwater bass.) 

Usually mottled tan, brown, or olive, & barred down the sides, sculpin vary in coloration according to location. I’ve seen both brown & olive specimens from the UC, so variations do occur in the same water.

I like the sculpin tickling over the bottom on the swing, & tie the flatwing unweighted (for best action), relying on a sink-tip or full-sinking line to get it down.   

Flatwing Sculpin

Hook: #2-#6 Mustad 9174 (or other heavy-wire, short shank hook)   

Thread: Black, brown or olive

Body: In order: Wind base thread even with the hook point; tie in a pinch of white or yellow bucktail as tailing, short, about the same length as the hook shank; dub tan, or olive rabbit onto thread & cover the rear half of the hook shank, winding forward toward the eye; add a small pinch of natural brown (or olive) bucktail, extending back, tips even with the white (should have used a bit more bucktail on the fly in the photo); tie in a ginger, brown, or olive grizzly neck hackle, flat to the top of the hook shank, tip down; apply a wind of dubbing; tie in a matching saddle hackle, tip up; tie in two strands of copper or olive mylar flash, one on each side of the hook shank (as lateral lines); tie in a topping of six to eight peacock swords.

Head (Hackle): One pheasant rump hackle, then two brahma hen hackles, wound to the hook eye – & finish.   

Flyfish NE Washington with Steven Bird:

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