Soft Hackles

Information and tips for tyers, as well as information on hatches.
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TFO5wt
Posts: 753
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:33 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Soft Hackles

Post by TFO5wt » Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:52 am

I've got my nymphs mostly tied up and in the box for this season. Before I start in on the dries I was thinking of tying some soft hackles. In the past I've only carried two PT and black. While I don't fish them all that often they have helped save the day for me when I couldn't capitalize as well as I would have liked on a hatch, and have also helped pad the numbers on a numbers day. What colors/patterns do you tie? I was thinking of trying to colors to match BWO, DH, LH, and some caddis. Thoughts?
Simply put, people fish because it's fun

jrs
Posts: 1096
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:22 am

Post by jrs » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:01 pm

I don't fish soft hackles as much as I probably should. Some of my buddies do and I know they can be effective fished as emergers, cripples, or sunken spinners during many hatches. So you're probably on the mark trying match to major hatches although a PT soft hackle in various sizes would probably pass for all the mayflies. I also know some folks who fish soft hackles during trico spinner falls to imitate a drowned spinner.

One that you should include for sure is the Flashback Black Wet Fly. It's not a soft hackle in the traditional sense, but it does use soft hen hackle and it's excellent for imitating drowned terrestrials such as beetles and crickets in late spring through fall. Brntrout popularized this pattern, but he says that Art Lohman taught it to him. I'm sure you could find the pattern by searching this board and there are some variations. I tie them as:
Hook: TMC 3769
Shellback: Black flash braid
Body: Peacock Black Ice Dub
Hackle: Black hen hackle, sparse and a bit oversized

jrs
Posts: 1096
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:22 am

Post by jrs » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:01 pm

I don't fish soft hackles as much as I probably should. Some of my buddies do and I know they can be effective fished as emergers, cripples, or sunken spinners during many hatches. So you're probably on the mark trying match to major hatches although a PT soft hackle in various sizes would probably pass for all the mayflies. I also know some folks who fish soft hackles during trico spinner falls to imitate a drowned spinner.

One that you should include for sure is the Flashback Black Wet Fly. It's not a soft hackle in the traditional sense, but it does use soft hen hackle and it's excellent for imitating drowned terrestrials such as beetles and crickets in late spring through fall. Brntrout popularized this pattern, but he says that Art Lohman taught it to him. I'm sure you could find the pattern by searching this board and there are some variations. I tie them as:
Hook: TMC 3769
Shellback: Black flash braid
Body: Peacock Black Ice Dub
Hackle: Black hen hackle, sparse and a bit oversized

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TFO5wt
Posts: 753
Joined: Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:33 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Post by TFO5wt » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:17 pm

The Black Wet is a staple in my box. Great fly late spring and all summer.
Simply put, people fish because it's fun

brntrout
Posts: 2901
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:26 am

Post by brntrout » Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:25 pm

Here is one I call the Ugly Betty. It seems to be a real killer pattern at certain times especially late summer and fall, tho I haven't tried it much in the spring YET. I primarily fish this fly in depths of 24 inches or less without added weight on my tippet. The fly also works pretty good in deep water as well. However, if you fish it that deep you will need to add extra weight to your tippet get down where the trout are holding. When trout want this fly they "REALLY SLAM IT HARD".

Hook TMC - 2487 or 2457 size 10 or 12
Beadhead- black tungsten 1/8" diameter
Thread - black 6/0
Body - 6 or more strands of peacock herl wound on hook shank almost all the way up to the bead. The body should be tied somewhat FAT.
Rib 1/16th inch wide pearl mylar.
Reverse Rib - 8lb mono ( the mono holds the pearl mylar on the fly from being ripped to shreds)
Soft Hackle - slightly over sized brown hen hackle.

ted4887
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:14 pm
Location: Winona, MN

Post by ted4887 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 9:32 pm

I use a fly almost identical to that when fishing carp, Brntrout. The only difference is that I rib it with copper, and incorporate rubber legs, and lead.

brntrout
Posts: 2901
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:26 am

Post by brntrout » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:05 pm

Ted, your pattern is pretty close to the one I tie. I guess the real difference is wire ribbing doesn't reflect light or appear very flashy compared to using pearl mylar tinsel or holographic mylar tinsel for ribbing. I do like the idea of using rubber legs however. ;)
How many legs to a side do you tie in?

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