Flatwing master Joe Cordeiro is going to demonstrate how he ties a multi-feather flat wing. The techniques are basically the same as those used on a Single Wing Flatwing except this one has more layers.
Joe's going to tie it on an Eagle Claw L253 in a 2/0 size. The L253 has really become the hook of choice for Flatwing flies. It's important the hook be held very securely in your vise as a good deal of thread tension will be used during the tying process.
3/0 Uni-Thread in white is pretty tough stuff and works well for this fly. Start your thread on the hook shank leaving a small space behind the eye. Take wraps all the way back to the point of the hook and cut off the tag.
Snip a small clump of the more hollow hairs found at the base of a buck tail. Strip out the shorter hairs from the butt end. Joe calls these the "rats". Work them around to form a tight bundle then snip the butt ends off at an angle.
Orient the snipped butt ends like this just in front of your tying thread. Make 2 tight pinch wraps pulling straight down on the second. Your tail should kick up like this. Now use your thumb to flatten the clump and spread it out. Take additional wraps to cover and secure the butts. This buck tail layer really helps to support the flat wing hackles throughout their range of motion.
From a neck cape, select a nice relatively stiff stemmed feather and strip most of the fuzzies off. Lay the feather flat against the buck tail fan, with the concave side facing up. Make open spiral wraps with your tying thread forward, toward the eye. Stop wrapping at a distance back from the very front of the hook equal to the length from the hook point to the tip of the barb. Once you've established this location, which will be the back end of the head of the fly, take close wraps rearward and snip off the stem. Continue taking wraps back until your thread reaches the hook point.
Now, select a single white flatwing saddle hackle. Find the location where the stem diameter changes dramatically. Use your thumb as a marker. Snip the stem leaving about 1/8 of an inch. Then strip the fuzzies off but hold on to them. Loosely dub them onto your tying thread, then raise the thread to vertical and push the clump down to the hook, pulling the thread straight down as you go. Lay the feather on top of this fluffy pillow, dull side down, and take a single wrap over the top to secure it. The butt end of the stem should extend to about the front of the eye and the tip about an inch beyond that of the first hackle.
Select a few strands of extra-long pearl flashabou. Although Joe pulls a bunch here, he is only going to use 3 on this fly. With a single turn of tying thread, secure the flashabou to the top of the hook at the tie-in point.
This time, select a yellow flatwing saddle hackle. Measure the feather so it's about an inch longer than the white feather beneath it. Snip the stem off at the proper length and strip an 1/8 inch of the fuzzies off, these you don't have to keep. Once again, tie the feather dull side down, flat against the feather beneath it using just a single thread wrap. Reorient the feathers if needed to keep them running flat and true.
To add some flash, tie in 5 or 6 strands of silver flashabou with a single wrap. They should extend about an inch beyond the yellow feather.
Next select a silver doctor blue saddle hackle. Measure and tie it in just as you did with the yellow hackle.
Grab 3 or so strands of blue flashabou and tie them in like you did with the silver.
Ok, I've got to stop for a second here. I know this whole assemblage looks rather loose and a little sketchy and it's going to get worse before it gets better. But trust me, it will all work out in the end. Ready? Here goes.
Snip about 8 to 10 inches of silver Bill's Body Braid free from the spool. Secure it to the side of the hook with a single wrap of thread. Then pull the braid to shorten the tag and bring it to the underside of the hook. Now squeeze the whole mess hard between your thumb and index finger and make 3 or 4 tight collecting wraps forward before snipping off all the butt ends at once.
Continue taking wraps forward to just behind the eye then switch directions and head rearward. While holding the whole rear assemblage really tight between your thumb and index finger, continue wrapping rearward with a lot of pressure. This is where the whole flatwing part of the fly really comes together and gets locked into the correct orientation.
Now take wraps forward with your tying thread to form a smooth foundation for the body braid. Get hold of the body braid and start taking overlapping wraps up the hook shank to where the head of the fly will begin. Take wraps of tying thread to create a nice smooth ramp between the hook shank and the body braid.
Snip a small clump of white buck tail from the prime area just below the tip of the tail. As before, strip out the "rats", organize the bundle and snip the butts off at an angle. Tie them in as you did the buck tail at the back of the fly and spread them out with your thumb. Then cover the butts with some nice tight wraps.
Repeat the exact same process with a clump of chartreuse buck tail but tie this clump to the top of the hook.
Repeat the process again but with a smaller clump of blue buck tail.
Get a hold of 7 long peacock herls, that's 7, no more, no less. Measure them so they extend about an inch beyond the longest feather and snip the butts off at the point you marked. Tie the butts in on top of the head of the fly.
For the cheeks, snip a small clump of lavender buck tail but this time cut the butts off square. Tie half the clump on one side of the fly and the other half on the opposite side.
Select 2 matching jungle cock eyes and drag them across your tying wax to seal splits and make tie-in easier. Secure one to each side with a single turn of tying thread. Then take a few more turns to further anchor them both. Carefully snip the butts off close. Then take wraps to clean up and cover the head of the fly.
Use two 5 or 6 turn whip finishes to secure the tying thread. Then apply a liberal coating of Hard as Nails. Joe uses the good stuff.
And there you go, one beautiful and extremely effective multi-wing flatwing fly.