Tying Soft Hackles

This summer I became a big fan of soft hackles and am now tying quite a few variations.

However, I have a question about the hackle. Should the hackle be tied so it is swept back, or should the hackle stand almost perpendicular to the hook for greater action in the water?

In most books the hackles are not tied down, but many commercial flies (Carey Special) are typically tied with the hackles swept back.

Thanks for your advice
- Bj -


Active Member
The hackles of most soft hackle flies are tied so that the barbules are at an angle that is something more than forty-five degrees to the hook shank. In many cases a little ball of dubbing is wrapped right behind the hackle to help to support it in this position. If you're interested in soft hackles you might take a look at any (or all) of Sylvester Nemes' books.