Dan Blanton is known as one of the pioneers in the area of saltwater fly fishing and tying. His saltwater fly creations have become famous world-wide. Many of his creations date back more than 30 years and are still considered top flies for catching almost any saltwater species. The Whistler series of flies have a tail that can only be described as a comet of fur. These distinctive tails help in getting attention from any fish species that might be lurking in the area. These fishtails as Dan calls them are fashioned from standard Flashabou or Mylar and bucktail, making a tasty treat for any fish but especially striped bass.
Tie this fly in sizes 1/0 - 3/0.
Start this fly by placing your hook in the vise and attaching the thread to the hook shank. Place a set of bead-chain eyes on top of the hook shank (1/4 inch back from the hook eye) and use figure eight thread wraps to secure them in place tightly. Move your thread back to the middle of the hook shank and tie in a medium bunch of white bucktail directly above the hook barb. The tail should extend off of the back of the fly about an inch and a half. Ideally when tying in the bucktail do not let the hair roll around to the underside of the hook shank.
On top of the tail you just tied created tie in 25 strands each of silver and pearl Flashabou, extending off the back of the hook shank. This flash tail should be approximately an inch to an inch-and-a-half beyond the hair tail/wing. Tie in two more bunches of white bucktail and clip/ tie ends off tightly.
Onto the sides of the fly tie in 5 strands of pearl crystal flash. On top of this flash shoulder add one grizzly hackle and secure it in place with a drop of glue.
Tie in a strip of red chenille and wrap it forward three turns making a nice even body collar. Behind the bead chain eyes tie in two white saddle hackles and wrap them four to five times around the hook shank. Attach a spool of red thread to the hook shank and tie off your existing white thread. Wrap back behind the bead eyes with the red thread creating a slightly swept look to the white hackle. Form a small neat head and whip finish and cement the thread thoroughly.
You now tie in two, long webby saddle or neck hackles (saddles preferred), just in front of the red collar. Place one hackle on top, the other slightly forward and on the side nearest you. Semi-Palmer the front hackle to just short of the bead eyes, followed by the second hackle. These two hackles form a wide collar. Now face the white hackles with a large, webby grizzly hackle, taking about five turns.
Finish off the fly's head by taking several turns of thread in back of and then finishing off in front of the bead eyes. Cement.
Finish the fly by trimming the flashtail to size and shaping the wire snag guard. The two legs of the guard should be bent back toward the hook point, stopping about a 1/4 inch in front. Another bend is put into the wire at that point so the two legs now run parallel to the point and shank. Now spread the legs into a V with one leg positioned on each side of the hook point as shown. You now have a completed SPS Flashtail Whistler with double-wire snag guard.