Today’s Blue Plate Special: the Rhody Flatwing

The Rhody Flatwing is an old pattern that was developed by Bill Peabody (of Bill’s Bodi-Braid fame). Being a Rhode Islander, Bill is said to have drawn his inspiration from fellow Ocean Staters Ken Abrames (flatwing design template) and Ray Bondorew (Ray’s Fly colors).

The result is pattern that makes a superb generic baitfish imitation. By altering the size of the fly, the tyer can match all manner of baits. The original pattern calls for a sparse tie. You can see from the picture that what I’ve used is more than enough material. Also note that there are no eyes on this fly – they’re just not necessary. Of course, if you must have eyes, jungle cock would be the appropriate choice.

This dozen was tied for a local fly shop, and the flies are about 5” long. Delicious!

A Dozen Rhody Flatwings


Hook: Eagle Claw 253 1/0-3/0
Thread: White 6/0
Support: 30 hairs white bucktail
Pillow: White
Tail: 2 strands gold Flashabou under yellow or olive saddle hackle
Body: Pearl braid (Bill’s if you’re going for homage and tradition)
Collar: 30 hairs short white bucktail on bottom, 30 hairs long white bucktail on top
Wing: 15 hairs yellow bucktail under 8 hairs light blue bucktail under sparse olive Krystal Flash under 20 hairs olive bucktail
Topping: 5-7 strands peacock herl

Tying notes: The Eagle Claw 253 is a classic hook choice for flatwings. It is light and has a short shank that helps prevent fouling. You can use either an olive or yellow saddle –well, heck, you can use whatever colors you like. Try all black. Try all white with a hint of pink or chartreuse. I like a hollower, springy bucktail fiber for the support on this fly. I made the collars an even length because that’s what looked right to me. Adding flash to a fly is like applying cologne: easy does it. Less is more.

11 comments on “Today’s Blue Plate Special: the Rhody Flatwing

  1. stevegalea6953 says:

    Steve, you are an artist. I could just see those things being the ticket for pike come spring.

  2. Alan says:

    Nice salty flies.

  3. Kelly L says:

    Great flies, excellent to have the recipe as well. Thank you.

  4. Long says:

    love the use of natural materials.

  5. Steve Culton says:

    Thanks, all.

    Long, that’s how we roll on currentseams. There’ll be no resin bodies, no ultra-realistic 3D eyes, no imitation feathers or fur. Not there’s anyhting wrong with those things. Just not on my flies.

  6. Great ties, I am with stevegale on this being a great pike pattern, and bass too. It must be a dream to cast compared with the rabbit filled concoctions that I currently toss.

  7. Steve Culton says:

    Your instincts are good. Flatwings cast small and fish large. This fly is 5″ long, but picture one like the Rock Island or Crazy Menhaden (elsewhere on this site) about a foot long. Out of the water, they look like a multi-colored strand of linguine, In the water, the fibers and feather open up like the petals on a flower. I sometimes use a five-weight for stripers with a 9-weight line, and I can cast a big flatwing no problem.

    I love flatwings.

  8. Dave Studeman says:

    Hi Steve – Continue to enjoy your posts!

    Flatwing hooks and containers – The more I read about flatwing hooks the less I know. Is the 253 hook you recommend that same hook that Ken Abrams says is no longer made? I know those posts by Ken are old – did Eagle Claw start making them again or are they a different model? As shorter shank hooks seem to be preferred, I have some old 254 SS hooks that are much shorter that the current 253/254 – would they be a good hook to use? You, Bob Bondurant and Ken prefer tin plated hooks – correct?

    Also what do you carry your large flatwings in? I used a plastic binder on my last trip to Mexico and the flatwings were a mess! What’s your reco?

    Thanks for all of your advice and insights! Dave

  9. Steve Culton says:

    Hi Dave,

    I confess I’m not up on the latest doings at Eagle Claw. What I can tell you is that I’ve been buying a hook they call the 253 (there’s also the L253, the “L” meaning laser sharp — I guess someone in marketing has a different definition of what laser sharp means than I do) for years now. It’s basically a spinnerbait hook, short shank, O’Shaughnessy bend, nickel plated. You can get them from a variety of sources on the web. They’re available in sizes from 1/0 to 5/0, but I mostly use 1/0, 3/0, and 4/0. If I know bigger fish are likely to be around, 3/0 is the minimum size I’ll use. I’ve had big bass bend 1/0s. The 253 is a light hook that sharpens easily. The short shank makes it ideal for flatwings. I’ve never been a fan of the 254 and its big eye. But that’s just me. If you dig them, you should use them.

    I don’t usually carry a stash of big flatwings with me. I typically use the big guns for fishing the herring run, and I take one strung up on my rod, and maybe a couple others lovingly squeezed into my 7″ long fly box. Out they come after the trip, lest they get bent into weird shapes. Of course, you can always re-shape a fly by running it under hot water and hanging it to dry. Since I don’t use stainless hooks, I rinse all my flies after a striper outing. I’d probably rinse them anyway to satisfy my inner Felix Unger. Any flatwing 7″ or less just stays in the box.

    Thanks for reading. Glad you like the site. Hope this helps.

    • Dave Studeman says:

      Thanks Steve…appreciate the advice and clear up things for me. Where do you stash that 12″ Herr Blue:)

  10. […] Here’s a link to the original Rhody Flatwing currentseams piece. […]

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