Published Mar 19. 2021 - 6 months ago
Updated or edited Mar 19. 2021

Freaner’s Flasher Streamer

A simple and flashy streamer that’s originally designed for smallmouth bass

Green and olive Freaner Flasher
Green and olive Freaner Flasher
White Freaner Flasher
Root beer and brown Freaner Flasher
Black Freaner Flasher
Classic white Freaner Flasher
Freaner's Flashers
Jim Burchette

The Freaner Flasher streamer was designed by Mr. Claude Freaner in the mid 1990’s as a smallmouth bass fly. Claude was well known in the smallmouth bass conclaves held throughout southeastern US. He showed the then unnamed fly to my fishing companion, Richard Warren, during one of the James River Virginia smallmouth bass “claves”. Richard dubbed it the Freaner Flasher. The fly became a popular pattern in our fly-fishing club, Triangle Fly Fishers. I always have a few “Freaner’s” in various fly boxes. The Freaner Flasher has never been a commercially produced fly, although I recall it was once featured on the Warm Water Fly Fisher web site but not longer can be found on their site.

Mr. Freaner originally tied his creation on a Mustad 7966 keel hook in sizes 6-10. Unfortunately, Mustad discontinued that model hook. Today’s Freaner’s are tied on traditional streamer hooks.
The Green Caddis Outfitters model GC231B barbless hook in sizes 6 & 8 is an excellent choice, as used in this tutorial. While the Freaner is not a complex pattern, it can teach a new tier good proportions, material handling, tying in materials and so on. A seasoned tier can produce a season’s worth in an evening tying session.

Materials used in the fly consist of small lead or bead chain eyes, Krystal flash chenille as a body, a marabou tail, and has a wing of gold holographic tinsel.
When fished, the fly swims inverted, placing the wing on top and the eyes on the bottom. I sometimes tie in a strip of lead substitute wire on top of the hook for added weight and to assist with the keel effect for the pattern.
White and pearl are my preferred colors. However, black, tan, chartreuse, green, and root beer-colored patterns are worth tying. I once caught a chunky 18” smallmouth bass on root beer Freaner Flasher. In addition to being an excellent smallmouth bass fly, I have done well with the pattern for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, white and hybrid bass.

Jim Burchette with a smallmouth
Jim Burchette with a smallmouth
Jim Burchette

A productive method of fishing the Freaner Flasher is to cast across stream and mend the fly line to allow the fly to sink as it drifts downstream. Oftentimes the fish will strike as the fly comes tight during the swing or as the fly hangs in the current below you. That is especially true with rivers and streams that support a population of white bass. If that does not illicit a strike, allow the fly to hang in the downstream current for a few seconds before stripping the fly back towards you. Casting the fly to the shore or working the fly around rocks can be productive. Do not overlook the effectiveness of this pattern in ponds or lakes when slowly stripped or bounced over the bottom.

Original style
Original style
Jim Burchette

Let us get on to tying the Freaner Flasher.

Freaner Flasher
Pattern type: 
Streamer
Originator: 
Claude Freaner
Species: 
Materials: 
Hook
2-3X long streamer hook in sizes 6-10. Here I am using the above mentioned GCO231B in size 6, barbless and black nickel finish.
Thread
70-140 denier white
Eyes
Small lead dumbbell or bead chain eyes in silver or black
Tail
White marabou
Body
Medium size pearl flash chenille
Wing
Gold holographic tinsel
Difficulty: 
Easy
Instruction: 
  1. Secure the hook in your tying vise.
  2. Attach the tying thread behind the eye and wrap a base layer of thread about a centimeter in length. Return your thread to the hook eye, stopping about an eye width from the hook eye.
  3. Secure the dumbbell or bead chain eyes using cross wraps and horizontal wraps to lock the thread in below the eyes. Apply head cement or CA glue to the thread wraps to further secure the eyes.
  4. Advance your thread to the bend of the hook.
  5. Select a clump of marabou to be used for the tail of the fly. Measure the marabou to the hook shank and transfer this length to the hook bend. Proceed to tie in the marabou tail material. Continue making thread wraps over the marabou butts, up the hook shank, stopping behind the eyes. Trim the excess marabou butts and return the tying thread to the bend of the hook.
  6. Expose approximately 0.5 cm of the chenille core by plucking the sparkly material from the core. This will reduce bulk and create a smooth tie in point for your body material.
  7. Tie in the chenille core and advance the tying thread to the rear of the fly eyes. Apply adhesive to the fly underbody at this point if desired.
  8. Wrap the chenille around the hook shank to create the fly body. When you reach the eyes, secure the chenille with 2-3 turns of thread. Move the thread to the front of the eyes and bring the chenille over the center section of the eyes, tie off and trim the chenille.
  9. Rotate the fly 180 degrees if you are using a rotary vise or invert the hook in the vise jaws if you are using a fixed head vise.
  10. Select 6-8 strands of gold holographic tinsel. Fold the tinsel over the thread.
  11. Maintain tension as you secure the tinsel and tie in on the bottom of the hook, keeping the tinsel in centerline with the hook.
  12. Finish the fly head with additional thread wraps. Lock the wraps with a half-hitch, perform a 4-5 turn whip finish and snip the thread to complete the fly.
  13. Trim the tinsel wing to the length of the marabou tail.
  14. Apply head cement.

Step-by-step in pictures

See the instructions above for details.

Step 1 - eyes

Step 2 - tail

Step 3 - chenille stripped

Step 4 - chenille tied in

Step 5 - body wrapped

Step 6 - flash

Step 7 - "wing" positioned

Step 8 - fixed and trimmed

Step 9 - done

Jim Burchette

Tying Notes

If you are fortunate to have keel hooks in your inventory, use them. I have used a variety of hooks over the years for this pattern and have no complaints. Any streamer hook will work. I have considered tying this pattern on a stinger style hook.
A hot spot fly head can be incorporated into the fly by switching to an alternate tying thread or coloring white thread with a permanent felt marker when dressing the fly head at the conclusion of tying the fly.
Adjust the thread color to the material color used. I sometimes mix twisted flash tinsel with flat tinsel for the fly wing as well as adding some flash to the tail of the fly. The opening on bead chain will sometimes be rough or the metal post will slightly protrude. By applying a drop of thin UV resin to this spot will prevent fly tying thread from fraying and possibly, your leader from catching on this spot.
At the time of this writing, I have noticed the brass eyes of the flies used in my examples have tarnished. This too can be overcome with the application of a topcoat of thin UV resin.

White bass
Jim Burchette

Conclusion

In this day and time of time consuming, complex and multi material flies, I find the simplicity and effectiveness of this pattern continues to be rewarding. Since learning of this pattern some 25 years ago, I always have a supply of “Freaners” in various fly boxes.
I wish to thank Mr. Claude Freaner for the time he took corresponding with me. In addition to being a talented fly tier, Claude is a retired aeronautical engineer and a master at seed bead artistry. His seed bead fish patches are treasures for those who possess them, and his large, framed seed bead fish are truly masterpieces.

Bead brook trout
Bead brook trout
Jim Burchette
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