Soft hackles and copper john-athon

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Thomas Williams, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,161
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +966 / 1

    Charlie, you could always send me some of your flies and I'd take pics for you to post. I am curious how sparse your hackle is/are (verb depends on quantity of hackle).
  2. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,598 / 0
    If I remember correctly, it seems to me the traditional wet fly patterns had fairly thick hackling. About the same as a dry fly pattern of the same time... but tied so the hackles swept back instead of a right angle to the shank.

    I'm not even so sure they were trying to imitate an emerger as perhaps an adult bug that sunk before it could fly off the surface. A quill wing dry fly looks very similar to a quill wing wet fly... the only difference is the angle of the hackle fibers and wings to the hook shank.
  3. Olive bugger Active Member

    Posts: 2,392
    Woodinville, WA
    Ratings: +410 / 0
    Give me a day or two to crank out a few and I will post them over to you, Bill. I will PM you when I am done with them. OK?
  4. psycho Active Member

    Posts: 337
    B.C. Canada
    Ratings: +132 / 0
    I tie my soft hackles with one and at the most two wraps of hackle and I usually strip one side of the feather.
    Jeff Dodd likes this.
  5. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,161
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +966 / 1
    Ron Eagle Elk said 13 hackle fibers was the magic number on soft hackles. Not too thick and not too sparse. I also read this in some soft hackle books. I am a subscriber to the above practice of two turns and stripping the hackle off one side of the feather as psycho does.
    Gary Knowels and Jeff Dodd like this.
  6. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,598 / 0
    Normally, that's what I do too but the trout liked the chubby hackling so now I'm wondering if I've been tying mine too anorexic. I mean really, who decided the trout want skinny hackles?
  7. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,161
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +966 / 1
    I hedge my bets by having both styles of soft hackles.:rolleyes:
  8. Thomas Williams Habitual Line Stepper

    Posts: 1,391
    Ansbach, Germany
    Ratings: +401 / 16
    I just gauge it by looks. If I want to eat it then surely the fish want it! :cool:
    David Prutsman likes this.
  9. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,598 / 0
    Personally, I'd rather eat a thick hamburger than a skinny one. :D

    Maybe the sparse soft hackles only appeal to the trout on a diet.
  10. Olive bugger Active Member

    Posts: 2,392
    Woodinville, WA
    Ratings: +410 / 0
    Come on guys, weight watcher flies?

    I am gullible, but not that gullible.
    It sounds like something my wife would like to sell me.
  11. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,161
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +966 / 1

    Sounds like a winner. PM me when you are ready.
  12. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,598 / 0
    They're called "Slim Fast Soft Hackles".
  13. Gary Knowels Active Member

    Posts: 1,081
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +403 / 0
    Sounds like a skinny bodied sparse hackled fly tied as rapidly as possible

    Sent from my HTC_Amaze_4G
  14. Chad Lewis NEVER wonder what to do with your free time

    Posts: 881
    TriCities, WA
    Ratings: +152 / 0
    Counting the number of hackle fibers on a fly. My world just tilted a little.
    wadin' boot likes this.
  15. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,598 / 0
    You mean you DON'T count the hackle fibers on a fly???? Good grief, man, you can't go tying flies willy-nilly!
  16. Chad Lewis NEVER wonder what to do with your free time

    Posts: 881
    TriCities, WA
    Ratings: +152 / 0
    Jesus GAT. Next you'll want everyone to count mayfly tails and shit. Geez.......
  17. Olive bugger Active Member

    Posts: 2,392
    Woodinville, WA
    Ratings: +410 / 0
    Let us leave Willie out of this. He gets me in enough trouble.

    Now I know why my world us off center. I count hackle fibers.
    Well up to ten, and then I lose count.
  18. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,598 / 0
  19. Ron Eagle Elk Active Member

    Posts: 1,741
    Yelm, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +110 / 0
    Most of the really sparse flies (North Country flies and spiders) were used on high gradient streams where the fish had but a short amount of time to decide if a fly was food or not. The sparse hackle moved more in the fast current and elicited strikes. I usually tie my spiders with 1 1/2 turns of hackle without stripping a side. This gives me more than 13 fibers, but after a few fish have gnawed on the fly the hackle gets whittled down a bit.
  20. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,021
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,598 / 0
    Seriously, I do tie some of my soft hackles very sparse, but not all. I change it up. Sometimes very sparse provokes a strike, sometimes those with a fuller hackle works better. Thus the reason I tie and carry both styles.

    There's never "always" in fly fishing but "usually". I was careful not to use "always" in my articles because that ain't the way it works.