Revisiting the Herr Blue: a three-feather flatwing-bucktail hybrid

Many years ago I adapted Ken Abrames’ R.L.S. Herr Blue bucktail into a large nine-feather flatwing. I was pleased with the result, and that fly produced many large bass for me. But the recent acquisition of a ginger saddle brought out the tinkerer in me. And since I never did a three feather flatwing-bucktail version of the Herr Blue, I went to work.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a flatwing/bucktail hybrid combines the seductive motion and swimming action of a flatwing (using three contrasting saddles) and the color-blending deliciousness and adding-the-illusion-of-mass properties of bucktail. I originally started tying these not only as a way to conserve precious flatwing saddles, but also to use bucktail in place of saddle colors I did not have. The template is Razzle Dazzle, with all strands of flash extending at least 3/4″ beyond the longest feather. (See the Rock Island and Crazy Menhaden three-feather flatwings.)  Bonus: they’re easy to cast for their size, and they swim beautifully on the greased line swing.

Obviously this fly is intended to imitate a river herring or alewife; it could also easily pass for other larger baitfish like menhaden. I tied two, one 8″ and the other 10″. So without further ado, I present the Herr Blue three-feather flawing. DIA. (Danke In Advance.)


Hook: Eagle Claw 253 3/0
Thread: White 6/0
Platform: White bucktail, 30 hairs
Tail: First, a white saddle; second, 2 strands silver flash; third, a pink saddle; fourth, a ginger saddle; fifth, 2 strands light green flash; sixth, 15 hairs light blue and 15 hairs pink bucktail, mixed; seventh, 10 hairs light blue and 10 hairs violet bucktail, mixed; eighth, 2 strands purple flash; ninth, 10 hairs orange and 10 hairs emerald green bucktail, mixed.
Body: Silver braid
Collar: White and ginger bucktail, mixed about 5:1 respectively
Wing: 15 hairs smoky gray bucktail and 30 hairs dark blue bucktail, mixed
Topping: 7-8 stands peacock herl
Eyes: Jungle cock


A closer look at the blend of nine different colors of bucktail.




11 comments on “Revisiting the Herr Blue: a three-feather flatwing-bucktail hybrid

  1. Alan Petrucci says:

    Steve I don’t fish the salt but I do admire the flies you tie for that purpose. They are so crisp and so detailed. In smaller versions I’m sure they would have beneficial fresh water applications.
    Well done.

    • Steve Culton says:

      Thanks, old friend. You could totally use these on a smaller scale for trout. (I have. They work.)

      • David Studeman says:

        Just curious, what’s your preferred hook for trout flatwings? Thx


      • Steve Culton says:

        Depends on the size of the fly and the fish I’m after. I’ve fished a 4″ long on a EC253 1/0, but I’m not going to be hooking 12″ trout on that. You could also try something smaller, like the Gamakatsu B10S in a 1 or 2 or 4.

      • Dave Studeman says:

        Thx, appreciate the input.

  2. Dave Studeman says:

    Beautiful flattie! Thx for sharing. Video soon? 🙂 Dave

  3. Ray Hamilton says:

    Steve, another absolutely informative and valuable post on your part. I am always ready for another bit of fly tying to keep my apatite satisfied. Thanks.

  4. Sam Somera says:

    Beautiful flies. Always love a good flatwing. Would love to see a post or video that covers the greased line swing. I have read so much about it, but would love to see it performed/explained.


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