Going way back in the archives: “The Art of the Flatwing” by Tom Keer

“The Art of the Flatwing,” written by Tom Keer, appeared in the Summer 2001 issue of Fly Tyer. I’ve had this article in pdf form for years — and now it’s got an online home. Speaking of flatwings, I interviewed Ken Abrames yesterday. Our focus was on the Razzle Dazzle-style patterns in A Perfect Fish: color rationale, nomenclature, genesis, anecdotes and other good stuff. I’m not sure what form it will take, but you’ll get to read/hear some of it in the future.


Here’s my take on the Razzle Dazzle, one of the featured flies in the piece. Ken once described this fly as a caricature rather than a detailed painting or sculpture.



Rather than peacock herl, the topping is an olive saddle and a silver doctor blue saddle tip.



What you leave out of a fly is as important as what you put in.




Did you know that I give private fly tying lessons?

I didn’t either, until a few weeks ago. Bill stopped by my table at the CFFA Expo and asked if I’d give him some fly tying lessons. He wanted to learn some new patterns and refine his technique. We met on Friday, and a swell time was had by all. In addition to tying, we talked about tactics and strategies, from wet fly to nymphing and stripers to trout. So yes, I can speak at your club or show. Yes, I can take you out on the water. And yes, I can work with you on tying and fly fishing theory/practical applications.

I am a teacher. It’s what I do.

Here’s a free lesson for everyone: use only as many thread wraps as you need. Use only as much material as you need (you’re probably using too much.) Here’s how much fur I use for the hackle on a Squirrel and Ginger. And did I mention that you first need to clear out the longer guard hairs and all that underfur dross with a mini comb? What you leave out of a fly is as important as what you put in.

Fur hackle dubbing loop prep

Et voila.

S&G ready to finish

Getting the most out of currentseams, or: the video you want may already be here

Thanks to everyone who has put in for the contest. Keep them coming! Get a friend to start following, and we’ll be at 700 and another contest before you know it.

I see several requests for Hendrickson tying videos, and it occurs to me that many of you may be unaware of what’s already on the site (like my Dark Hendrickson Winged Wet tying video).

Every post I make gets placed in a category. (For example, this one is in “General Ramblings.”) You can find the complete list of categories on the right side of the home page:

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 3.34.27 PM

Click on the “Select Categories” and that gives you a drop down menu:

Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 3.33.37 PM

If you select the “Fly Tying Videos,” you’ll be taken to all that are posted on the site.

I hope that helps, and I hope you find some cool stuff you didn’t know was here.



It’s a Super Six Hundred Celebration!

Happy nor’easter , fellow Currentseamsers. While the snow piles up, I am safe and warm by the fire. Thank you for being part of the Super Six Hundred! To celebrate, we’re doing our customary flies-tied-by-Steve giveaway. Here are the rules:

1) No purchase necessary.

2) You must be a follower of currentseams to enter. (If you’re not one already, you become a follower by clicking on the “Stay current with currentseams” button on the home page.)

3) To enter, leave a comment on this thread that responds to these questions: 1) if I started to include podcasts, what topic(s) would you like to hear about? 2) Is there a fly I tie that you’d like to see a video on? Which one? One entry per person. Deadline for entering is 11:59pm March 31, 2018 (no foolin’). Three winners will be chosen at random. The winners will be notified in the comments section of this thread or by email, and will be responsible for sending me their address so I can ship the flies out. Sorry, I can only ship to U.S. addresses.

4) All decisions by me are final.

Thanks again for reading and following currentseams.

It’s getting closer to Hendrickson time. Maybe you’ll have some swag like this come April.



LIFFE Expo March 17

My friends from the Long Island Flyrodders asked me to give a shout out about (I did that on purpose) the 3rd annual Long Island Fly Fishing Expo on Saturday, March 17, 9a.m-4p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, 110 Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, Hauppauge, NY Exit 53 on the Long Island Expressway.

You can find out more here.

I can tell you they throw a heckuva cookout. Wouldn’t it be nice to be in shorts right now?


A new flatwing from the Culton bench: The Bombardier

Long before I fished for stripers, I was aware of striper plugs. I’d see rows of them in gleaming packages in the local sporting goods store (remember those?) and think that some day I’d like to throw one and catch a big bass. I remember liking the blue and white glitter-flecked Atom plugs.

I also remember the Bomber. Something about that plug in basic black said badass cow catcher. Would that translate to a large flatwing? One way to find out.

Creating a striped bass fly that draws from the color and energy of a plug is not new. Ray Bondorew did it it in Stripers and Streamers with his Yellow Rebel. My goal was not to make a carbon copy of the Bomber Long A, but to capture its essence. So, lots of black saddles and bucktail. Some purple to jazz things up. A glowing core of light blue and chartreuse. High contrast jungle cock nails. And some seductive flash tied “Razzle Dazzle” (thanks, Ken!) style.

I like this fly 9″-12″ long. It shines when fished on the greased line swing. Cue up The Gap Band!

The Bombardier


Hook: Eagle Claw 253
Thread: Black 6/0
Platform: 30 hairs light blue and chartreuse bucktail, mixed
Pillow: Black dubbing
Support: Black neck hackle, curve side up
Tail: First, 3 black saddles, second, 2 strands silver Flashabou, third, 1 black saddle, fourth, 2 strands light blue Flashabou, fifth, 1 black saddle, sixth, 2 strands red Flashabou, seventh, 1 black saddle, eighth, 2 strands purple Flashabou, ninth, 1 black saddle, tenth, 2 strands black Flashabou, all Flashabou to extend 1″ past longest saddle
Body: Purple braid
Collar: 2/3 black and 1/3 purple bucktail, mixed
Wing: 30 hairs black bucktail
Topping: 7 strands peacock herl
Eyes: Jungle cock
A more detailed look at the Bombardier’s explosive energy.



You get the idea.



The Bombardier Rogues’ Gallery:

Twenty pounds, short line swing, 2017



Fifteen pounds, greased line swing, 2017



The Big 6-0-0

Greetings on a very rainy, windy, squally (at least in Connecticut) Friday. I would not like to be riding on the Block Island ferry today.

Many of you will have no doubt noted that we’ve reached and surpassed the 600 subscribers mark. Yippee!!! Once that number stabilizes, we will have another giveaway. If you’re new to currentseams, I choose a few subscriber entrants at random to receive some spiffy flies tied by yours truly. I will announce that contest, probably in the next few weeks, here on currentseams.

Till then, stay dry and tight lines.

Set your eyes on the prize…something like this.



Today also happens to be #2 son’s birthday. Cam is already a pretty darned good steelheader, and naturally I’m a proud papa.