Recommend 2 gotta have soft hackles

Discussion in 'Patterns' started by wioiei, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. Going to try fishing with soft hackle flys and are there any old wise fly fishermen that could offer 2 need to have soft hackle flies?
  2. If I could only fish for trout with 2 or 3 patterns, one would be a simple, nameless soft hackle I learned about when a friend and mentor fished circles around me one afternoon a half-dozen years ago at a hike-in mountain lake. When I asked what he was using, he showed me a well-chewed pattern that looked like nothing I'd ever seen before.

    Tied on a regular dry fly hook, his unassuming pattern had a plain, chocolate brown dubbed body over a few wraps of lead wire. Try using Wapsi's Awesome Possum with a couple turns of dark brown partridge on a size 12 or 14 wet fly or nymph hook. After you tie in the collar hackle, pull it back a bit with your fingertips before cinching it down and tying a neat thread head.

    That's it - no flash, tinsel, beads, or other bling. But you'll be amazed at how well it works.

  3. i'm not too old, and i question how wise i am at times..... however there is only 1 soft hackle i tie and fish because it seems to always work.

    standard length wet fly hook - i use a mustad 3399a usually
    peacock body - a few wraps of lead wire if you like
    partridge hackle - 2 turns

    works wonders out here on the n. oregon coast for me. ymmv
  4. I guess, if I had to pick a couple soft hackles it would be a partridge and (insert a color here) That fly tied with orange floss and green floss have brought more fish to hand for me than any other fly, period. Use a darker colored partridge on the orange and a lighter color on the green, and wrap the hackle sparse.

  5. Thanks for the suggestions, we will attempt to tie and fish these this season. There is a picture of the wilted spinach, has anyone used this fly and had any luck with it?
  6. My favorite is peacock and black. It is a peacock herl rope body with a turn or two of soft black hackle. I like it in sizes 14 or 12 but have tied it larger and smaller and caught fish. The others mentioned have all worked well for me also as has a pheasant tail soft hackle both with and without a beadhead (pheasant tail tail, pheasant tail body reverse wrapped with fine copper wire, peacock herl rope thorax and grey partridge soft hackle).

  7. My goto soft hackles are the hares ear and partridge 'n' peacock

  8. I haven't used soft hackles much, but just the other day I tied a pheasant tail soft hackle just for fun. I used olive dyed pheasant tail, peacock hurl thorax, mylar tinsel shell back and hungarian partridge, spares. I tied them on size 16 and 18 Tiemco Caddis Pupa hooks.

    I flailed around with them for about on hour on the Mo yesterday, but I was pretty uninspired given that it was snowing and cold as hell.
  9. My most productive soft hackle is also about the simplest. A few wisps of hackle fibers for a tail, natural hare's fur body (with fine gold rib) and a hen's hackle wound a couple times at the head and then palmered about two turns back to about the middle of the shank. I vary the shade of the hackle and hare's fur for different conditions. This is sometimes called a 'flymph.'
  10. My grandpa (92) recently looked with his high powered glasses at my fly boxes and asked where all my bucktails and soft hackles were. I think I am so clever tying 18 & 20 emergers with foam posts and trailing shucks that I sometimes forget about the old classics. He said fly fishing was easy back then, ‘just throw on a fly that was bigger than everything else on the water’.
    He also used to ‘stoop so low’ and tie a hook on with a live crawdad attached and cast off the docks in Lake Tahoe. I have some framed pictures of enormous trout he pulled in that way, what a cheater!
    I am thinking of putting together a box of some of the old classics for hot summer days in the cascades! I guess that I will have to break out some of his ‘retired’ gear and do it up in style.
    Anyhow, I usually tie 12-14 wet hooks with olive thread, tan dubbing or peacock with light or dark hackle. Pretty simply, actually.
  11. I agree with Ron Eagle Elk about the orange. I have had massive success with this fly. I tie it with a few pheasant tail fibers for the tail, orange floss body, peacock hearl thorax, 1-2 turns of pheasant hackle (light grey), and typically a gold bead head. Silver wire around the body helps to maintain the floss from falling apart after fish tag it and you can hide some lead under the peacock for weight.
  12. Pheasant tail with grouse hackle (standard wet hook size 12-14)

    The ones below are usually tied with size 12 scud hooks:
    - dun sparkle yarn body and grouse or starling hackle
    - tan sparkle yarn body with partridge hackle
    - peacock body with grouse or starling hackle
    - yellow egg yarn body with starling or grouse hackle
  13. I have always had better luck with the Partridge and Olive over the P&Orange, for some reason, and my "improved" version with a whisper of Antron as a pseudo "wing" between the thorax and hackle works even better (7:1 in actual testing)

    The second is one that I have come to call the Northwest Country Spider:

    Hook: standard or heavy wet fly
    Abdomen: Pearsall's Gossamer silk in Jasper
    Thorax: Hare's Ear dubbing
    Hackle: Golden pheasant greater covert feather
  14. I have always had better luck with the Partridge and Olive over the P&Orange, for some reason, and my "improved" version with a whisper of Antron as a pseudo "wing" between the thorax and hackle works even better (7:1 in actual testing)

    The second is one that I have come to call the Northwest Country Spider:

    Hook: standard or heavy wet fly
    Abdomen: Pearsall's Gossamer silk in Jasper
    Thorax: Hare's Ear dubbing
    Hackle: Golden pheasant greater covert feather

    However, I must add, one can never have too many soft hackles and being forced to carry only 2 would be like...well, it'd just be bad ju-ju. If I couldn't carry as many as I do then I might have to resort to those floatie-things; you know, dry flies.
  15. 1. Self-bodied Carey Special, 8-14. Counter wrap fine copper wire over self body. Natural, dyed olive, dyed yellow.

    2. BWO Soft Hackle, 14-18, BWO olive Nature's Spirit dubbing, fine copper wire rib, California quail breast feather, two turns.

    Good Fishing,
    Les Johnson
  16. Hey Les,

    What do you mean by "self-bodied"? You have me curious, as I'm a huge fan of the olive hackle and peacock herl body Carey. I prefer to use that fluffy, marabou-like stuff below the hackle tip for the tail--for a touch of movement when the fly is paused and sinking a little. Plus you don't waste as many feathers using them for tails. Same as you, I use the copper wire for reinforcing and ribbing the body. I've heard that copper iridesces when exposed to UV light. Nice combining that element with the peacock herl. This fly makes me look better than I deserve and has saved and made many a fishing day for me. I think the fly should be re-named "The Crutch."

    Wapsi produces this strung pheasant rump hackle that is not only gorgeously dyed (a deep, vibrant olive), but one of the two strung clumps in the bag has very long hackle tips. I mean they're long enough to properly hackle a Carey tied on a #10 TMC 300 hook. This fly sits at about the max length for a dragonfly nymph--about 50 mm. This is a very nice product. I stumbled upon this product almost two months ago while at Michael and Young's fly shop in Vancouver. I suspect people tying salmon and steelhead flies would be interested in this hackle. Have you seen this Wapsi pheasant rump hackle yet?
  17. Les is referring to the technique in which a pheasant rump feather is tied in by the tip at the rear of the hook shank then spiraled forward up the hook to form a body. A few fibers always escape which adds to the ragged,"buggy" appearance. A counter-wrapped rib (usually copper wire) is necessary to keep the first fish who grabs it from destroying it. A few turns of a pheasant rump feather of the same color are then wound on to form the hackle. They are usally referred to as Self-Bodied Carey Specials. The most famous of the breed (and the only one to have garnered a name of its own) is Karl Haufler's Six Pack. It is tied with yellow-dyed pheasant rump. The yellow dye, applied to the gray green rump feather, results in a very natural-looking olive shade.

    As the story goes, Haufler tied up some Self-Bodied Carey Specials using this material and took them to Pass Lake to try them out. It turned out to be one of those days, and Karl was pulling them in one after another on his new fly while no one else was doing any good at all. He was soon beseiged by other anglers who wanted to beg, borrow or steal one of his flies. Being an enterprising sort, he quickly established a barter rate which also gave the fly the name it's been known by since then.
  18. Thanks Preston! :thumb: The next time I tie up some Careys, I'll give the self-bodied style a try. And great story about the origin of the "Six-Pack" name. I've always wondered about that.
  19. My favorite soft hackle is size 16 with a spring green body with counter-wrapped fine gold wire rib, sparse gray or brown partridge hackle. I pull the hackle back and tie a few wraps around the front to keep it there. It works great fished slowly just under the surface on those calm early mornings/evenings on E. Wa lakes when there are lots of finicky risers.
  20. hares ear soft hackle, and a plain olive soft hackle. Both use partridge for the soft hackle part.

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