Time to tie up some Soft-Hackled Flatwings

So simple, so elegant, so effective. The Soft-Hackled Flatwing borrows from many sources, all of them wonderful and good. I love this fly for early season school bass, and it makes a fine generic baitfish year-round. Just tailor the color and length to the bait you’re matching et voila! And remember: eyes on flies catch anglers. Not stripers.

Impressionism rules the day. If you’re interested in learning more about soft hackles for stripers, read “Soft Hackles for Striped Bass” from the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of American Angler.


Here’s the basic template:

Hook: Eagle Claw 253 1/0
Thread: 6/0
Platform: 30 bucktail hairs
Tail: Flatwing saddle to match platform color, under 2-4 strands flashabou
Body: Braid
Wing: 30-45 bucktail hairs, under 10-20 hairs contrasting color, under 2-4 strands Krystal Flash or flashabou
Collar: Blood quill marabou, tied in at tip, 3-4 turns; 1 turn mallard flank (optional)

5 comments on “Time to tie up some Soft-Hackled Flatwings

  1. Pat Brennan says:

    What is your favorite color combo for this fly Steve ?

    • Steve Culton says:


      But seriously, it depends on the time, place and conditions. I can tell you that if I were fishing in a couple days and it was overcast and showery and an east wind honking (as is forecast) I would be fishing the grey dun and fluorescent yellow version. Try something dark in murky water. Can’t go wrong with white and chartreuse….so many possibilities.

  2. Joe Verlicco says:

    That’s the real half and half. Half Gartside and half Abrames! lol

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