The Secret Sauce Behind My Flatwing/Bucktail Hybrids

It’s that little bucktail wing over the tail. It adds just the right amount material (70 total fibers) to create the illusion of mass — and gives the tier the opportunity to create a seductive blend (6 colors here) of color.

A Rock Island Flatwing/Bucktail Hybrid in progress, secret sauce complete.


I started adding this rear wing as a way of making up for a lack of saddles in the colors needed for some of Ken Abrames’ multi-feather flatwings. I first tried it with Ken’s Striper Moon and Crazy Menhaden. The bass loved them. A few years later, I created the Rock Island, now one of my signature patterns. I don’t know if the stripers care, but I love the way the bucktail does the heavy lifting of color blending without adding mass — not to mention all the secondary and tertiary colors it creates.

Thanks to everyone at the CFFA Show

I was humbled by the number of people who stopped by my tying table today. Old friends, new introductions, online names to connect with faces, an excess of positive energy, talking fishing and tying, and some really good questions. I’ve been going to the CFFA Show for years; this was my first time as tyer/exhibitor. The CFFA was a terrific host. I value the little things in life, like finding out that they had a spiffy little box lunch set aside for me. Feed me, and I’m happy.

I did manage to sneak away and do a little shopping (thanks, Gary and Todd for watching my swag). Found some goodies like a bag o’ wood duck feathers, an el cheap jungle cock neck (the nails need some work, but a little wax and some flexible cement and they’ll be quite passable). My master score was two large white bucktails with scads of straight fibers over 5″ long. $5 each!

I just know there was a saddle suitable for flatwings hiding somewhere in that room. Perhaps next year.

Pardon my humble setup: some MDF screwed to 2x4s and my Universal No. 2 clamp vise that I bought from Clapp & Treat in 1976 for $13.95. Sadly, it’s on its last legs. There’s a new toy on the way, but nothing will ever replace my baby who has served me faithfully for so many years. “It’s not the arrow, it’s the indian.”


Slight change in plans for the CFFA Expo this Saturday

I just learned that UpCountry Sportfishing had to pull out of the show; I’m still going to tie, but obviously not at their table. I had planned on focusing solely on wet flies for trout, but I’ll probably do a little saltwater, too. You can find me on Tyers Row.

Also, due to some prior commitments, I won’t be able to tie the whole time. Figure something like 9am to 1pm-ish. Hope to see some of my local followers there.

The CFFA Expo is held at Maneeley’s, 65 Rye Street, South Windsor, CT, 2/1/14.

Thanks to everyone who visited my tying table at the NE Spey Clave II

Lousy weather, terrific energy. That’s a good way to sum up today’s festivities. Thanks to everyone who stopped by my tying table. It’s always nice to put faces to names, whether you’re from an internet forum or a faithful follower of currentseams. I always enjoy the discussions, and for those of you who had questions, I hope I helped.

The Purple Spider, a steelhead soft-hackle


And to those who walked away with one of my flies: do me proud.