Big Flatwings in Low Light? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Big Flatwings in Low Light?

02-18-2004, 01:41 PM
I'm in the midst of my usual winter routine where I torture myself and anyone else who will listen with questions on fish behavior and fly design.

I've been seeing some very nice flatwing style flies posted here and other places lately which imitate large baitfish like bunker, herring, mackerel, etc..

I was wondering if you guys have had success with this style of fly at night and in the early morning (prior to and just after sunrise)?

How about when the water is murky/stained and underwater visibility is 2-3' or less?

I think I've convinced myself (in theory) on how these flies can be successful in conditions with good ambient light and clear water conditions, but haven't sold myself yet on the low-light and/or murky water case.


-- Tom

Dble Haul
02-18-2004, 02:12 PM
Black flatwings at night = angler's delight :)

I had good success last season using black flatwings from dusk to dawn. A slow retrieve or dead drift in outflows was the best presentation in my situations. I tied them with just a touch more bucktail in the collar so that they'd move a bit more water.

So to answer your question, yes! They work well.

02-18-2004, 03:31 PM
A good compromise between black and blue is purple; I've done fairly well with purple baitfish patterns at night. I'd say that the success rate is about the same as with black variations of a pattern, but I suppose the purple is simply more attractive to me.

02-18-2004, 04:00 PM

I have had some good luck with Flatwing styles in your neck of the woods (Joppa).

In these water conditions, Yellow and Olive seem to work the best.

Also, I don't think Big is necessarily the answer; I tie a lot of fairly sparse stuff about 3" on #1 hooks, especially during the Spring when the Bait is Smaller.

Tod D
02-18-2004, 04:12 PM

Anecdotal experience, so your mileage may vary...

In night/dark conditions, I’ve had great success w/ the following:

• Ken Abrames’ Eel Punt. Large – 10-12”, dark colors – black, purple, maroon, some w/ palmered hackle bodies/heads, some w/ spun deer hair (kind of like a snake fly / eel punt hybrid). Slow & in the flow w/ a floating line; lots of dead drifting w/ an occasional twitch.

• Abrames’ Ruthless. Smallish, size 4, 2, 1 hooks, orange/red/maroon. Same MO as above.

• Abrames’ Eelies. All different sizes, with marabou collars. Fished them a lot early morning, outgoing tides on the flats & creeks. I have often used a three fly set up: weighted (i.e. clouser) point fly w/ two eelies as. Ditto on the MO.

Last year did quite a bit of multiple fly-fishing (mostly 2 w/ an occasional 3 when feeling brave). Great way to figure out what may be working. Takes a little getting used to a night, but it’s all about getting the casting rhythm and keeping false casts to a minimum. Got to the point late last year that I'd always fish at least two different flies, even in blitzes. Made for some interesting/fun doubles.

FWIW, I love the Ruthless. To Greg's point re size, I fished these small at night (clam worm hatches, general small stuff/isopods etc) and have had some husky fish absolutely hammer a size 4 fly on a static line drift in the current. On the other hand, I've had bigger fish hammer a big ol' eel punt too... Either way, it's all good.

02-19-2004, 11:10 AM
I'll second the big eel punt. Got one of my best fish on one that was about 12" long. Dead drift with a floating line. Have also had good luck with a 10" to 12" flatwing pattern that copies the black/purple color schemes of some of the big plugs used at night.
Tod D, you're right about the use of droppers. It can get "very interesting" some times....

02-19-2004, 12:09 PM
Remind me to show you what worked for Lol last July

Remeber that picture you did for me? That one for starters - I'll talk to you about the finsh on Saturday...

02-19-2004, 12:29 PM
I think the flatwings are beautiful & productive flies.

But, I have only used a big purple eel punt with moderate success.

My most productive night fly, when night fishing was all I ever did for several years, was a #2 or #4 clouser... black over gold flash over brown....

Good luck,


Tod D
02-19-2004, 03:49 PM

It's cause those flatwings are hard to cast w/ a stradic reel & 6' spin rod!;)

You have got to honor JimW and me this spring w/ a trip around your 'local' inshore waters. I'll tie up a big, fat eel punt for ya!

Doc Duprey
02-19-2004, 10:06 PM
...and for a chance to fish with the Legendary Roop-meister (and Tod D.), I'll happily tie whatever flatwingz yuz all want! (That is how we Joisey types are alleged to speak. Being from New Hampshire originally, I wouldn't know.)

Can't wait for warmer weather and 'yakking around your neck of the woods! Tod, the Pungo is at the ready! If you want to venture south (for the early fishing...just shoot me an e-mail. Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook, NJ Jetty Country and Barnegate Bay await for your early season pleasure!

Best regards,


02-20-2004, 08:01 AM
Originally posted by Tod D

It's cause those flatwings are hard to cast w/ a stradic reel & 6' spin rod!;)

You have got to honor JimW and me this spring w/ a trip around your 'local' inshore waters. I'll tie up a big, fat eel punt for ya!

1. The rod's are 6'6", 7' & 8' and they will be used much less this season. ;)

2. You & Jim are on - I think we should plan an overnighter in the bay for the three of us.

Stay in touch!


03-15-2004, 04:38 AM
Yep, symmetrically tied black flatwings with red blue purple have taken many many large stripers, blues, even weakfish for me at night, at dawn, at dusk. My first and often only fly in low light, so yeah, tie'm up, drift'em and swim them slowly. Grateful to Ken A. and Ray B. for spreading the word about this type of killer fly--makes fishing easy.

Jim, in Montauk