Warmwater Fly of the month: February, 2002 - The Freaner's Flasher

Tying Freaner's Flasher


I recently came up with a design for a fly that seems to work very well on smallmouth bass and most sunfish. I had read that smallmouth and sunfish seem to like flashy lures and flashy flies during the day, so I began experimenting. I picked up some chartreuse marabou from the University of Maryland Fly show to go with some chartreuse marabou I had left over from a Mardi Gras swap. I also picked up some gold holoflash from a vendor at the fly show. This stuff wass great - gold colored but with irridescent rainbow highlights whenever light hit it. Marabou was the obvious choice for a tail, and the estaz for the body. I had some keel hooks (Mustad 79666) that I purchased several years ago, and figured they might work. What I wanted was a fly that would sink quickly, and stay down where the bigger fish are located, but a fly that wouldn't constantly hang up on the shale ridges in the river - this meant it would be best to have the fly oriented with the hook point up. The keel hooks were a natural for this. I used a 1/4 or 1/6 of a sheet of dental x-ray lead wrapped around the hook shank, plus gold bead chain eyes mounted on the sloped part of the hook shank near the eye. All this weight below the eye of the hook ensured it ride point up. I tied in the holoflash like a sparse wing on top of the fly, and added a bit of red floss below the bead chain eyes as gills. The resulting fly had the four things I though important: chartreuse, flashy, heavy and a dab of red.

During the Bass Clave of 1998, I gave Richard Warren one of the white ones, and I used a chartreuse one, as we floated down the James River in a canoe. Richard Warren named it the Freaner's Flasher because of the way the holoflash gleamed and flashed in the sun. The fly is simple to tie and works well on most sunfish as well as smallmouth bass. The fly has also caught largemouth bass, striped bass, red eye (rock bass), bluegill, pumpkinseed. Don H. caught trout in the Yockahanie with a white one, and Todd Cook caught a salmon in the great lakes on one. There are probably other species, but I've neglected to write it all down and keep a list.

In rapidly moving water, I fling it across and let it swing down stream - then let it hang in the current for a minute or two. I'll often get a strike just as I begin to retrieve it. In slower water, I again fling it out, count it down appropriately, and then begin retrieving it in little short strips (4 inch), with a random pause of 5 seconds every few strips.

-- Claude Freaner --


Hook: Size 8 Mustad 79666 Keel Hook
Thread: Chartreuse 3/0 (Color to match Estaz)
Tail: Chartreuse marabou
Eye: Medium Gold Bead Chain
Weight: Lead Wire or a Nontoxic substitute
Gill: Red Floss (or yarn)
Wing: Gold Holoflash
Body: Chartreuse Eztaz (of Ice Chenille as a substitute)

Webmeister's note: Claude has used a number of different color combinations for his pattern. Some examples are: clear (pearl) eztaz with white marabou and silver holoflash, purple and root beer. You are only limited to what colors you can come up with.

(Click on picture to enlarge)

Step 1: Place the hook in the vise as you would do in tying any other pattern. Start the thread just behind the eye of the hook, wrap back to the second bend of the hook and then back to the first bend of the hook.
Step 2: Tie the bead chain eyes on the top of the hook shank right before the first bend of the hook. Tie the eyes on the hook with crisscross winding. You may use Zap-A-Gap CA+ glue to more securely adhere the beaded eyes to the hook. Move the thread to the end of the hooks shank right after the barb.
Step 3: The tail is a clump of marabou about the length of the upper shank of the hook. Tie the tail on the shank of the hook just above the barb.
Step 4: Tie in a piece of Eztaz on the shank of the hook just above the barb.
Step 5: Wrap in your lead wire, starting just in front of the Eztaz and wraping forward to just before the bend of the hook.
Step 6: Wrap the Eztaz forward to the bead eyes. Now wrap the Eztaz in around the bead eyes. Tie off the Eztaz off right after the bead eyes.

Step 7: Take a piece of red floss or yarn and tie it in right before the bead eyes as shown in the picture.


Step 8: Turn the fly upside down in the vise (this is the way the pattern operates in the water, upside down). Use about three strans of holoflash for the wing. Fold the stran evenly on your scissors, cut, and then tie on the the hook just opposite of where you tied in the gills. Whip finish, and put some cement on the thread.

Step 9: Go fishing!