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Chasing tail
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like many FF, I have fished a variety of soft hackle patterns in lakes and streams over the years with my favorite colors being olive and orange. I recently picked up some of the New Trick Soft Hackle in purple.

Just curious, how many of you use these and what kind of success you have had with them?
 

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How do you fish soft hackles? Dead drift? High stick? Swing? Strip?

I've asked this question a lot and it could almost be a poll question with the number of different answers I get. The most common answer is something along the lines of "fish'em any way you want." That doesn't really answer my question, though, so let me rephrase.

How do YOU fish soft hackles?
 

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Chasing tail
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Lakes, I strip it using various retrieve patterns. My favorites are short, quick strips or long, slow strip while slightly twitching the rod tip. Always with an intermediate sinking line.

Rivers, usually swing with a leisenring lift after the swing with a floating line. Almost always behind a stone fly or bead head pattern.
 

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There ain't nothin like a Flymph!
 

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Formerly tbc1415
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Aww sh!t
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I cast across and up stream like you would a nymph. Let it dead drift following with your rod tip. At the end of dead drift allow fly to swing again following with rod tip. Then depending on what type of water is directly down stream I will raise my rod tip so the fly is riding on the surface and let it dangle for a few seconds.
 

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I cast across and up stream like you would a nymph. Let it dead drift following with your rod tip. At the end of dead drift allow fly to swing again following with rod tip. Then depending on what type of water is directly down stream I will raise my rod tip so the fly is riding on the surface and let it dangle for a few seconds.
^^^^ This. ^^^^

Yup. I swing 'em. I also may add a short strip or two at the end of the drift/raised rod tip, which often elicits a strike.

I also fish soft hackles to actively rising fish in the classic dry-fly manner. After a false cast or two, they usually ride no lower than the surface film for a few seconds so as long as your casts are accurate, you should get plenty of drift. This is often a very good way to catch fish on heavily-pressured water with educated fish. The Firehole comes immediately to mind.
 

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How do you fish soft hackles? Dead drift? High stick? Swing? Strip?

I've asked this question a lot and it could almost be a poll question with the number of different answers I get. The most common answer is something along the lines of "fish'em any way you want." That doesn't really answer my question, though, so let me rephrase.

How do YOU fish soft hackles?
All the above. It all depends on what the fish want that day, but I high stick the least and dead drift the most.
 

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BigDog
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Swinging is particularly good in certain circumstances (e.g., when caddis are emerging).

I will more often use a soft hackle on 18" of tippet tied to the hook of a dry fly and cast as you would any dry fly. In certain circumstances the soft hackle will draw 2X or more the number of strikes. The soft hackle usually is close enough to the surface that you can see the take, but the dry fly keeps your eyes on the right spot in the current and draws strikes more often than a strike indicator.
D
 

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Suggested reading for those interested - Sylvester Nemes "The Soft Hackled Fly", circa mid 1970s. Required reading in my home as a child. Some of it is bit dated, but still provides lots of tips on how to fish soft hackles, patterns, what kind of water works well/not as well with soft hackle techniques, etc etc.
 

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I will more often use a soft hackle on 18" of tippet tied to the hook of a dry fly and cast as you would any dry fly. In certain circumstances the soft hackle will draw 2X or more the number of strikes. The soft hackle usually is close enough to the surface that you can see the take, but the dry fly keeps your eyes on the right spot in the current and draws strikes more often than a strike indicator.
D
I do this often during BWO, PMD and Caddis hatches. I am not sure what the fish take it for .... and emerger or a drowned adult or a cripple .... but the soft hackle can generate fast action when the rise is on.
 
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