March Brown soft hackle?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by ray helaers, Mar 27, 2002.

  1. Does anyone know the recipe for an old-fashioned March brown soft hackle? Is it significantly different from a pheasant-tail soft hackle? Any and all comments appreciated.
  2. Ray,

    By "old-fashioned" you don't mean the original recipe Dame Juliana included in the Treayse, do you? If so, its "body of dun wool; wings of partridge." :)

    Here's a March Brown soft hackle pattern from Taff Price's fly pattern guide; not sure of its origin or if this is the traditional pattern you may be looking for or not.

    Hook: 8-14
    Thread: Dark Brown
    Tail: Patridge tail fibers
    Body: 50/50 mixture of hare's ear and body fur
    Rib: Fine gold wire
    Hackle: Brown Patridge
    Wing: Hen pheasant wing slips
  3. Thanks Greg.

    I suppose I wouldn't mind knowing the Dame's pattern, but this will probably do nicely. I've been having a lot of luck on the Yak the last few years with an old "partridge and peacock" soft hackle as a dropper under a dry (of course updated with the now ubiquitous bead-head), and I was looking for a pattern to fish specifically to March browns, as it's the season. I know all about plenty of contemporary emerger patterns, but I'm interested in some older traditional patterns.

    So if anybody has anything else, I'd love to see it.
  4. Sylvester Nemes, who brought these ancient flies to us from England and Scotland in a book Called (The Soft Hackle Fly, Stackpole 1975)has a great March Brown Spider, which is
    Hook: Standard wet fly; 1x stout size 12 to 16
    Thread: Pearsalls silk 6/0
    Hackle: Brown partridge
    Rib: Oval gold tinsel
    Body: hares mask fur
    These are kinda tied backwards,
    Fix the hook in the vise and tie on the thread and bring it forward towards the eye, Place the prepared partridge so the fibers sweep back when wound. Then wrap thread back to hook bend tie in oval tinsel dub with the hares mask, may want to use a bit of wax to hold dubbing & wrapping the dub forward, then rib with the gold oval about 4-6 turns evenly.Pick out the dubbing a bit and don't let the tinsel bind it down. Then wind one maybe two turns only of the partridge and tie off working the thread through the partridge. Make a neat head.
    As well the Partridge and Orange or Partridge and Green or Partridge and Yellow all sizes of 12-16.
    Alex Jackson ties one as well on a nickle daiichi hook that is splendid. A few weeks ago he was over at the Avid Angler- I used other thread than silk, but the silk makes it go on just so much more fine and the color is better. The above three flies, are merely that;
    Hook Daiichi nickel hook 12-16
    Body the Pearsalls silk thread
    Hackle natural partridge- length of the hackle wasn't an issue but you can use your own judgement depending how you like them. I used 2x hook gap.
    Instructions: for the body lay it on even and up close starting a 1/4 of hook back behind the eye, (leave a gap) that is where you will place the partridge, wrap the thread one layer back to just beyond the point of hook and one layer forward keeping it tight and finely close. Tie in the prepared partridge, he wraps the feather forward folded back on the bare hook portion,only two maybe three turns no more and make a neat head. Fished as a dropper or freely if you can get it into the layer you want with fairly long leader.
    Hope this helps. It was facinating to see him tie them one right after another. I am close to the right directions I think.
    PS, my dad told me that when you are working with the silk, it is often best to either use a touch of very thin cement on the thread before you whip finish it, or- a bit of beeswax to that which you will whip finish it holds it better.
  5. My bold and arrogant statement of the day.

    Just tie up a bunch of size 18 through size 10 hare's ear bodies with gold rib with a tail and hackle of soft partridge. Use for March Brown, or ANY other mayfly, and if you need a caddis, just pinch off the tail (or don't, the trout don't care). To quote everyone from In-Fisherman to Datus Proper "when color matters, it matters least". Meaning that size, depth, and action are all tons more important than color.
  6. I don't know if this will help. But I got a book out of the Marysville library called "The Classic Guide to FLY FISHING for Trout". It has some old flies in there(I think that's what your looking for) but it doesn't give a recipe for it. I wish I had a scanner,at least that way I could send you a picture of it. Jim S.

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