Eight-feather flatwing: Ken Abrames’ R.L.S. Rat a Tat

I’ve been eyeballing the RLS Rat a Tat in the back of A Perfect Fish for about as long as I’ve owned the book. At first I didn’t really know what to make of this pattern. Over the years, its energy grew on me. Finally, this winter, I found the saddles I needed to tie it. Ken described the Rat a Tat’s genesis this way: “That’s a fly I designed just to irritate fish. It’s the kind of a fly that will get a reaction strike.”

I’ll be sure to hold on tight.

Ken once told me that he sometimes includes yellow elements in a fly to indicate the presence of fat, so this should make a fine greasy baitfish pattern (think herring or menhaden). Note how naturally the jungle cock nail integrates with the random black of the grizzly. Lots of magic going on here.

Ken Abrames’ R.L.S. Rat a Tat. This tie is about 11″ long.

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Hook: Eagle Claw 253
Thread: Chartreuse 6/0
Platform: Black
Pillow: Chartreuse dubbing
Support: Chartreuse neck hackle
Tail: First, a yellow grizzly saddle, second, a chartreuse saddle, third, 2 red Flashabou, fourth, a turquoise grizzly saddle, fifth, a light blue saddle, sixth, 2 gold Flashabou, seventh, yellow grizzly saddle, eighth, a ginger saddle, ninth, 2 emerald green Flashabou, tenth, a fluorescent green grizzly saddle, eleventh, 2 red Flashabou, twelfth, a yellow grizzly saddle
Body: Gold braid
Collar: Bucktail, ginger, bottom and both sides.
Wing: Bucktail, yellow
Cheeks: Bucktail, 3 hairs each turquoise, orange, chartreuse, dark blue and emerald green
Topping: Seven strands of peacock here
Eyes: Jungle cock

~

A closer look at the zebra-like tail section reveals great gobs of grizzly goodness.

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6 comments on “Eight-feather flatwing: Ken Abrames’ R.L.S. Rat a Tat

  1. Dave Studeman says:

    Very cool!! Thx!

  2. Frank says:

    Nice! If I squint I see a mackerel…

  3. manuel jorge says:

    in regards to the rls rat a tat flatwing could you share where you found the hackle this past winter I have been searching for a decent substitute since kens hackles became unavailable sincerely Manny Jorge

    • Steve Culton says:

      Manny, I feel your pain. Flatwing hackle is the unicorn of fly tying material. The best source I’ve found is the Keough booth at the Edison, NJ Fly Fishing Show in January. I know that doesn’t help you for another 10 months. He’s got these bins filled with hundreds of saddle patches and yes, I went through all of them. Took me the better part of an hour. He also sells packaged saddles, some marked “Flatwing” that are over twice as expensive as the bin saddles. You might be able to get those from him online — I don’t know. However, I usually don’t buy saddles sight unseen. Hope that helps!

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