In this week’s “How to Tie” video feature, Davie McPhail ties a Flatwing Sandeel imitation that every angler from Maine down to New Jersey should have in their striped bass arsenal.

Learn About This Fly:

Difficulty: Intermediate

When it comes to saltwater fly fishing, there are many new patterns that use epoxy, synthetic materials, and even rattles to get the job done. There is no contest that the evolution of fly fishing has been beneficial for catching fish, but some vintage patterns will always stand the test of time. Flatwing Sandeel patterns are among those and have been catching striped bass and other sandeel eating predators for decades.

Implementing hackle into this pattern allows for a swimming motion that fish respond well to. The profile of a Flatwing Sandeel is superb and between strips the fly will continue to “stay alive” due to the bucktail and hackles movement in the water. Selecting the right hackle and bucktail for the job is important, so make sure the quality is there to ensure the best profile. Tying this pattern is relatively simple and will be a fantastic striped bass fly to learn on alongside Lefty’s Deceiver and the Clouser Minnow.

Fishing this pattern on an intermediate line from shore is a great way to make sure this unweighted fly gets down. If fishing in 2-3ft of water, a floating line with a long leader is acceptable as the weight of the hook will help sink the fly. Mixing up your retrieve will allow you to gauge what the fish want for that particular spot, day, or tide cycle. Be sure to tie a variety of colors and sizes up for the sandeels in your area, and to enjoy the grind of winter tying with this Flatwing Sandeel pattern.


Now you know how to tie a Flatwing Sandeel!

Video and ingredients courtesy of Davie McPhail.


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