Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Kent Lufkin, Dec 16, 2005.
Tying up a variation on the bread crust. I have some shitty shlappin that I am using for the colars
My flies are tied and will be in the mail in the next few days.
Mine are packaged and ready to go to the mailbox tomorrow. Thanks again for sponsoring this one! I loved tying this fly and hope it works well for the recipients.
Everyone, remember to tie one fly for John Hicks with really "shitty hackle" so he feels at home when his swap flies arrive :rofl:
Halcyon, I'll make sure kent knows which one is yours The hackle will be about 4" long and be half eaten by webbles.
My flies are in the mail now. Getting excited to tie/fish wets... its something I have been meaning to try more anyway.:beer2:
Great! I can't wait to see all the flies!
On a fishing note, My Rocky Ford trip was a bust due to nasty weather so we headed up to Lone Lake. The lake is fishing good right now, but beware of the wind!
I've been out of town over the weekend, but my flies were finished and shipped Friday. Hopefully they got there Saturday or will show up Tuesday.
I don't get mail delivery at my office on weekends. I'll be working out of the house for a few weeks but will drop by the office every few days to check on mail, etc. and will post updates as files arrive.
Hey guys found a great bit-o-info on soft hackles by John W P. Mooney
Soft-hackled wet flies, like their stiff-hackled cousins, the Variants, are a type of fly, not a pattern. And they’re a very old type. It is said -- with some justification -- that they may date back to the "donne flye" of Dame Juliana Berners in A Treatise on Fyshing With an Angle, written in 1496. Certainly they were in common use in Scotland in the early 19th century, and probably before.
Soft-hackles have been a basic fly on Scottish streams for two centuries or more for several reasons: They’re easy to tie, they’re inexpensive, and they work. Also, they’re ideally suited to the swift-flowing streams of the Highlands.
Probably no fly is easier to tie than a soft-hackle. Wind a hook with tying thread or floss; add a couple of twists of partridge, grouse, woodcock or starling hackle; and you’re done. No tricky wings to set in place -- not even a tail.
Certainly they appealed to the legendary Scotch frugality. Except for the hooks, there was just about no cost at all. Leftover thread from the family sewing basket made up the body; the hackles came from game birds shot for the pot.
Probably Scotland’s leading practitioner of the art of the soft-hackled fly in the early-to-mid 19th century was W.C. Stewart, who published "The Practical Angler" in 1857. Stewart devoted almost 70 pages of his book to his three famous soft-hackled "spiders" -- the Black Spider, the Red Spider and the Dun Spider. In each case, he named the fly by the color of its hackle -- not its body (and indeed, for the Dun Hackle, he listed no body at all).
Stewart’s Black Spider consisted of nothing more than brown tying silk on the shank of the hook and a purplish-black starling feather palmered slightly toward the bend. The Red Spider called for a slim body of primrose yellow tying silk and the reddish feather from the wing of a land rail. Stewart’s recipe for the Dun Spider calls only for a dun feather from a dotterel. (James E. Leisenring, the famous wet-fly fisher of the Brodheads, apparently couldn’t accept the idea a hackle-only fly; in his 1941 classic, The Art of Tying the Wet Fly, he specified a body of primrose tying silk.)
Perhaps the most diligent proponent of soft-hackles in recent years -- at least in the United States -- has been Sylvester Nemes, in his book, The Soft-Hackled Fly. In England, where they still call the flies "spider wets," Malcolm Greenhalgh has also sung their praises in print.
Whatever you call it, though, the fly has lasted through the centuries for one simple reason: It works. The key is the soft hackle. Like marabou, the soft feathers of gamebirds and songbirds move seductively with the currents, whispering "I’m alive! I’m alive!" And trout, smallmouth bass, panfish and probably a host of other species heed that siren call.
One year, just for fun, I fished soft-hackles exclusively for an entire trout season and saw no noticeable difference between my take that season and my catch during seasons when I frantically ran through a whole vest full of fly boxes trying to "match the hatch."
Soft-hackles can be fished upstream or down. Stewart fished his upstream; Nemes tends to favor a downstream approach. I do both.
Probably no fly -- with the possible exception of the Muddler Minnow -- is more versatile. Soft-hackles can be tied on dry-fly hooks and fished just below the surface; they can be tied on wet-fly hooks and fished deeper, or they can be beadheaded and fished near the bottom with a "Leisenring Lift." If you fish them across-and-down, you can retrieve them with little jerks to imitate miniature minnows. You can grease the leader to within an inch or so of the fly and fish it as a spinner during a spinner fall. Or you can grease the fly itself and fish it as a dead or dying dun caught in the surface film.
My personal favorite for summer evenings (or mornings) here in New England is the Partridge-and-Yellow. Close behind is the Partridge-and-Orange. Here’s the tie for the P&Y. Just modify the color of the floss to change the pattern.
As tied by John W.P.Mooney
Here is the partridge and orange that he spoke of.
John, if you're still interested in learning more about soft hackles (or spiders as they once were called), check out any of Sylvester Nemes' fine books on the subject. He's written several and all are excellent.
My own introduction to the soft hackle came 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, the simple pattern had a plain brown dubbed body over a few wraps of lead wire with sparse soft hackle of brown partridge.
Compared with the gaudy, bead-headed, tinsel- and flash-adorned patterns that weren't fooling any of the fish I managed to put them in front of, seeing this drab, unassuming fly and how well it worked was an epiphany for me and one which completely changed the direction of the sport for me. If you like, I'll tie one up and send it to you.
Fished in idaho this weekend and soft hackles were one of only two patterns that caught fish for me. cast and slow retrieve, killer.
Here's an update as of Wednesday, January 18:
halcyon - flies received
Banzai - flies received
Mike Doughty - flies received
Wayne Jordan - flies received
Mike Etgen - flies received
mr trout - flies received
SpokaneFisherman - flies received
Kent Lufkin - swapmeister, finished
We've still got a little under two weeks left. How are the rest of you coming along?