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Friday, June 21, 2013

Materials and Knowhow for Puget Sound Flatwings

One of the best-kept secrets in Washington fisheries, the beaches of Puget Sound have a lot to offer local anglers. Fishable year-round, your local beach offers opportunities to chase sea-run cutthroat and a variety of migratory salmon including, most notably, the coho and pink salmon that will be off our beaches starting in the late summer months.

Some of Ben's Sculpin Flatwings and a Flatwing Minnow

Some of Joel's Puget Sound Flatwings

Lots of bait means lots of food-forms for our local fish to eat. Season in, season out, we’ve found that one of the keys to success is using flies with a profile that matches the prevailing bait in the water. One of the best flies is the Puget Sound Flatwing. This isn’t a pattern that you’ll find in our bins, and it’s not one that you’ll find tied by commercial companies, at least not yet. It’s a style of fly developed and popularized by east-coast fly tyer and artist Kenny Abrames, who needed a unique fly for stripers. The defining technique uses various colors of saddle hackles tied in lengthwise on top of the hook shank to create a unique combination of color and movement that looks, and performs, unlike any other fly out there.
We learned this style of tying, characterized by minimal use of materials and blending of different colors to achieve a unique effect, from the former manager of the Avid Angler, Nathan Keen. While teaching at striper school back east, Nathan adopted these tying techniques and subsequently brought them back to the Puget Sound. He adapted them to the food forms in our local waters, including sculpin, sand lance and pacific herring, and he taught the entire staff how to tie these elegant and effective patterns. To this day, you’ll find flatwings in varying sizes in all of our boxes; we love to fish them, and we love to tie them.

We’ve got a variety of saddles with colors you won't easily find anywhere else, and they’re the perfect length for the baitfish patterns in our waters. We also have upcoming classes to offer instruction in both tying instruction and fishing the Puget Sound. Come on in, check it out.