I wrote about Bill Peabody’s Rhody Flatwing pattern on currentseams seven years ago. Three years earlier, I’d posted the pattern on a public forum. It’s funny how these things play out, because someone recently followed up on that old forum post with a Rhody Flatwing timeline that didn’t make sense. I don’t know when Bill Peabody created the pattern, but it had to be some time after 1980. Before his death, Peabody clearly stated that Ken Abrames’ flatwings were the inspiration for the Rhody. I’ve also had conversations with Ken where he talked about sharing some of his flatwings with Bill. The point is: Ken didn’t start experimenting with the modern saltwater flatwing until the late 1970s, and he did not share them with the Rhode Island fishing community until the early 1980s. So. The Rhody Flatwing had to have come after that.
A few years ago, Capt. Ray Stachelek gave me a copy of an article Bill Peabody had written in the May-June 1998 issue of Fly Fishing In Salt Waters. I mentioned it here, then mostly forgot about it. A few weeks ago, one of you asked if I could share the piece. With my Compleat Angler flatwing demo tomorrow, this seemed like a good time to do it.
Below is a pdf of “Bill Peabody’s Flat-Wing Patterns.” The quality is as good as I can make it, this being photos of a photocopy. I want to be clear that I did not write this piece. Bill Peabody did. Enjoy!
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.