Far and away, my favorite soft hackle fly hook is the TMC 206BL. My own, hopefully, might serve as a reference or starting point for those wondering what hooks to use in tying soft-hackle & wet flies for trout. I would like to receive latest fly tying patterns, stories and videos. Occasionally I’ll tie soft-hackles on TMC 2487BL hooks or Dai-Riki #125 because somehow I got a good bargain on them. That’s a lot of value for your fly-tying dollar! Perhaps that is why fly fishers are still intrigued with these flies today. Traditionally, the … Hen Hackle for Wet Flies Hen hackles are ideal for tying wet flies. Additionally, it’s hard to justify paying $2 for a fly on a cheap hook that can be tied in less than a minute or so on a good one. High quality is essential, as soft hackle flies will take a beating on the river and a high quality feather is less likely to break while tying small flies. Also, do not discard the aftershaft feather this is an exceptionally useful feather for tying smaller soft-hackle flies such as the Aftershaft Soft-Hackle Wet Fly step 4 Wind partridge feather around hook (one turn or at most, two--the fly is best dressed sparsely.) At the end of the leader I tie on a size 10 SPRO Power Swivel; then a two- to three-foot long piece of 6-pound Maxima Chameleon or Drennan Fluorocarbon tippet to the other swivel ring. If you are targeting larger fish, use hooks that are dedicated to wet flies (thus having a thicker wire). Orders over 25$ ship free with no sales tax. Several attributes make hen hackle ideal for certain applications. These are the feathers are found on the chest of a Whiting rooster. I think this improves the fly’s Daiichi 1150 Those who read SHJ have probably noticed that I use this hook a lot in tying soft-hackle flymphs & spiders. Sim’s Seducer, as I’ve named it, is now a go-to fly, especially when conditions are less than ideal and there’s no obvious insect activity. Now, maybe it’s time to give some recognition to the hens; without the lady chickens, none of these advancements would have happened. And, for salmon fly and streamer tiers, the brilliant colors required for many patterns are easily obtained because the softer feathers easily accept dyes. It's soft brown color and super natural movement in water make it one of the best feather choices for soft hackle flies. These allowed the flies to lie flat. The traditional soft hackle fly with its partridge or grouse feather hackle simulating legs and a short, segmented body looks like an aquatic insect. This pattern is an old one, it is listed in Ray Bergman's first book, Just Fishing (1932). We have a fantastic selection of soft hackles and emerger style flies for trout in waters around the world. Unfortunately, many fly shops don’t carry them and even online retailers don’t offer the variety one would like to see. But in reality, they are essentially Partridge and anything flies. They are exceptionally effective as trailers on small bugger and streamer patterns. Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest fly tying patterns, stories and videos in your inbox. In regards to flies, I will start out with drab natural colors early in the season. The traditional soft hackle is a simple pattern to tie. Head (optional): A cone or beadhead. Your email address will not be published. Each of the feather types featured here offers excellent qualities for creating soft hackle flies, and yes, there are times when small soft hackles are just what summer steelhead want to eat. And they catch fish. I was fishing with my buddy, Sim Savage, when we encountered high and slightly murky water. Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, MT Apart from a favorite hook, having high quality partridge or grouse feathers in the right sizes is essential. Traditional boxes are fine, but these are the real deal. Bead: A black bead, size to match the hook. The traditional soft hackle fly has been with us for a long time. This is a very similar fashion to swinging salmon and steelhead fly patterns , so if you are familiar with this style of fishing, swinging a wetfly should come easy to you. The “cape” is the patch of feathers found around the neck. On the right, you can see the “saddle patch”, which is the part of the pelt straddling the back of the chicken; think of it like a saddle tossed over the back of a horse. The Partridge and Orange is probably the most recognized traditional soft hackled fly. Body: Coq de Leon hen feathers, folded and tied in by the tips. These soft hackles allow the fly to sink and, when the fly is swung, they lay back over the body trapping the air bubble that makes the fly so deadly. They can be fished in the surface film as an emerger, dead drifted deep or swung to simulate an insect rising up through the water column. The Soft Hackle is a very straightforward fly style more than it is a specific fly pattern. Here's a photo of a single fly: When my One might think I’ve missed listing beads, but I don’t use them. How to wrap a soft hackle Fly patterns such as the Partridge and Orange, Starling and Herl or Isonychia soft hackle, are soft hackled patterns. Sim showed me some baitfish-style flies tied entirely with grizzly feathers. However, those of you who haunt the fl y-fishing shows, surf the Internet, and hang out in well-stocked fly shops, have the chance to examine hen pelts. Put a soft hackle anywhere near feeding fish and you are likely to get a strike. Body: Ice Dub, bloody black. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. The soft hackle flies are cast down and across and aloud to swing through the water column until the discount flies are fished through the prime water and located directly downstream of the angler. Here’s an example of a streamer-type fly that was born out of desperation. Hen hackles are ideal for tying wet flies. Hen pelts—both saddles and capes—don’t get nearly the amount of publicity that rooster pelts receive. Soft hackle flies also beg to be twitched, "pulsing" their hackle fibers and imparting vitality to the fly. Note: Even if your submission is a video, we need an image to represent your fly on our website. Hen feathers have fine, flexible quills that take up very little space and create little bulk when wrapped on the hook. I tie up hundreds every season for my own fishing and to give to friends and people I meet along the river. Whiting Farms, Keough Hackle, and Collins Hackle Farm offer many of the best feathers for tying high-quality flies. Let’s look at hen feathers in more detail. On this pattern, I do not place the bead at the head but in the thorax behind the hackle. Here’s why… Two Hackles for one I think probably the main reason I think this is such great hackle is that every cape really gives you 2… Coq de Leon is another breed that yields beautiful feathers. Often seen in old books these are fantastic for holding wet flies These include partridge, grouse, pheasant, starling, quail, and woodcock. Sulphur Soft Hackle Emerger Categorized as a "guide fly" because it takes such a short amount of time to tie this pattern, the Sulphur Soft Hackle is an effective fly to catch trout on during a hatch. It is also an easy and effective pattern to fish. Upload a fly for a chance to win a FREE Fly Tyer subscription. Some soft hackle fly patterns only use two materials for the fly…thread and a Soft Hackles are typically tied with webbier, softer feathers, as opposed to the stiff-fibered feathers that are used for dry flies. THOSE OF US WHO HAVE BEEN TYING FLIES FOR A LONG TIME— I started in 1961—are still amazed and delighted at the incredible advancements in genetic cock dry fly hackle. My go to list of body materials are these. Examine this hen (left) closely. The pattern uses a sparse collection of soft hackle and wing casing to create a lifelike fly body that pushes water when swung or stripped. Thread: Black 8/0 (70 denier). I think using barbless hooks on soft hackles, especially when swinging them improves hookups when fish attack the moving fly. Required fields are marked *. A “Fishy Spot” Is Always a Good Spot-Eventually, When I choose to dub a small thorax, I use. By the time we’re done, I think you’ll give the ladies more respect, and see the key contributions they make to tying quality fish-catching flies. Here we’ll tie a basic beaded soft hackle. The smaller feathers, found near the head, are used for making small wet flies; the larger feathers near the bottom of the neck are excellent for tying larger wet flies, the throats on salmon flies and streamers, and the wings on dry flies. Hackle: A dark-barred Brahma hen saddle feather. Feathers for Tying Soft Hackle Flies. Game feathers like partridge are the common choice but hen works well as do mallard and guinea in larger sizes. Acquiring #1 grade, full partridge skins is the most effective way to ensure you have a good supply of high quality small feathers. Hook: A scud/shrimp hook such as the Daiichi 1150, sizes 16 to 12. Other than a partridge skin, a quality starling skin is useful if you are tying the Starling and purple pattern. The Partridge and Orange is probably the most recognized traditional soft hackled fly. Thread: Black 8/0 (70 denier). Soft~Hackle Journal receives an average of 200 readers a day &, many of you, I know, are intelligent, discerning readers who appreciate SHJ’s simple format devoted to entertaining writing, photos, art, reliable field-tested The Missouri River features ideal water for Soft Hackle fishing. The feathers right below are those of a Grouse. Understanding that trout are opportunistic feeders, anything that looks like food (an aquatic insect) is likely to draw strikes. While it can be swung through pocket water and deep pools, the Caddis Soft Hackle is most effectively Spider style soft hackles imitate any kind of active nymph, and are an effective attractor fly to … Learn the tricks for tying and fishing this important family of patterns. The feather length ranges from 3 Your email address will not be published. Trout anglers should always have a good selection of soft hackles at the ready anytime they fish in insect rich waters (they are actually very effective for bluegill and other shallow water sunfish). They can be deadly flies when swung through the water column and are highly effective fish catchers, even through rising fish. Probably the most famous of his flies is the Sparrow, partly because it works, but also because it’s one of the few patterns to utilize the after-shaft feathers found behind many game bird body feathers. Partridge & Orange Hook: Tiemco 3761, sizes 20 to 14. Here is a short video where I review some of the best soft hackle feather materials that we all have access to these days, with soft hackle flies as our search image. The feathers for tying soft hackle flies come from upland game birds. Although all knowledgeable tiers recognize the advancements in growing quality cock dry fly feathers, this hen is also full of feathers that are excellent for tying flies. Sylvester Nemes in his Two Centuries of Soft-Hackled Flies (2004) chronicles the history of this venerable pattern back to the year 1747. Full list here. If you are mainly tying flies to … The male cock is on the right; the female hen is on the left. The feathers fold easily, which make soft-hackle collars a snap to tie. With the traditional English Soft Hackle Flies, the use of a dubbed or herl raised area placed behind the soft hackle, as a thorax, will tend to support the soft hackle so that swift currents can not flatten the hackle against the soft I happened to have a few coq de Leon hen pelts. So for soft-hackled flies, you need hackle with especially soft fibers—hen saddle (hen neck is okay, but a bit stiff—better for wet flies), partridge flank, starling, and such. Hen hackles are the choice material for a soft hackle collar, but to think that is their only purpose would be to limit your tying considerably. A Black Pennell Wet, Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle, Partridge and Olive Soft Hackle or Hares Ear Soft Hackle are all good flies to try. I became a soft-hackle devotee about five years ago after a visit to Blue Ribbon Flies in West Yellowstone, Mont., on a fly-buying binge for a trip to the Firehole River. Below is a selection of emerger patterns, soft hackles and wet flies. Soft hackle feathers are excellent for several purposes: Soft, wrapped hackle where the barbs will move gently in the water without the stiffness typical for rooster hackle. If someone asked my what the best all around hackle for sakasa kebari, I would answer (without hesitation) that it’s brahma hen cape from Whiting Farms. The large number of fibers, especially on a saddle feather, creates a full collar with just a few wraps; in fact, with some feathers, a single turn suffices. Saddle feathers are used to make the wings on some streamers. These feathers are a deep brown to almost red. Over the centuries, soft hackled flies have been given all sorts of names. A Soft-Hackle Indicator Rig My favorite setup employs a six- to eight-foot piece of 10-pound Maxima line under an acrylic yarn indicator. The original soft hackle, spider and wet fly fisherman used wallets to store flies. Large Sizes - Soft Hackle For tying 8's and 10's, and even 6's, the feathers on these Soft Hackle Patches are the best you'll find. My go to list of body materials are these. I think this improves the fly’s appearance, and the bead helps keep the soft hackle fibers from folding against the body when wet. Soft hackle flies can be some of the simplest flies to tie. Note: Supported video sources include YouTube, Vimeo, etc. Their constructions requires little else than forming a body, occasionally a tail, dubbing a tiny thorax and making one or two winds of hackle. As the season I adapted them to the design of Sim’s pattern, and they worked great. Beginner’s Masterclass with Tim Flagler – Mastering the Half & Half. The Umpqua Soft Hackle Emerger Fly is a great little pattern that can imitate a variety of different emerging insects or swimmers. Tail: Two or four coq de Leon hen cape feathers. Here we have a pair of handsome coq de Leon chickens. Gartside was unfailingly generous with sharing his creations, and several of the best have survived, such as the Soft Hackle Streamer. Even today, in the 21st century, the soft-hackle is a killer pattern that can be effective anywhere trout feed on aquatic insects. So many of the feathers that are called for in the classic soft hackle patterns are protected and off limits to the fly tier. Simple soft-hackle wet flies imitate nothing in particular yet they catch trout everywhere. Posts about best soft hackle patterns written by Steve Culton Late afternoon into early summer evenings can be a highly productive time to fish wet flies, especially if you have a strong hatch and active feeders. And, hens are used for more than just breeding; they also yield very valuable feathers. They kill the action of the fly in the water, aren’t really necessary to get flies in front of fish, force the use of longer hooks and most of all are an unnecessary expense. Here we’ll tie a basic beaded soft hackle. We’ll see where the feathers come from, and examine many of their uses. Caddis Soft Hackle Nymph When other flies fail, this soft hackle pattern has an uncanny way of surpassing our expectations. These all use hen: Adams , Soft Hackled Wooly Bugger , Black Ghost , Teal, Blue, and Silver , Light Caddis , Grey Hackle Peacock Hooks and feathers, that leaves body materials. Twitch them during the aforementioned deadly swing to further up the pattern's effectiveness, twitch them while they float along the surface, bringing your dry fly to life and twitch them while you dead drift them under an indicator. Small (sizes 18-14) flies require small feathers, those that are found mainly on the neck and head of the bird. Having a good selection of them in your fly box in olives, browns, and peacock, not to forget the venerable orange and purple versions, will provide the opportunity to catch more trout. But in reality, they are essentially Partridge and anything flies. But you have to fish them, because once you do, you’ll be tying more of them. All soft hackle fly patterns are tied on chemically sharpened hooks and come from reputable manufacturers like Umpqua, Orvis, Spirit River, Rainy's and more. You can play around with the gauge of wire that is used. The Soft Hackle is best tied on a standard-length straight shank hook. Here’s my list of essential soft hackle materials. Hook: Short to regular-length streamer hook, your choice of sizes. On this pattern, I do not place the bead at the head but in the thorax behind the hackle. Two dollar packages of partridge feathers rarely have sufficient small hackles to warrant the expense. There are two distinctive kinds of soft hackles: Spiders and Flymphs. I just finished tying a custom order for one dozen Orange Fish Hawk soft hackle wet flies. Posts about best soft hackle flies written by Steve Culton Sal, the owner of Legends on the Farmington, has authorized me to make the following special offer to currentseams readers: you can now attend my Wet Flies So that's how I see this whole soft-hackle versus wet-fly business, and my view comes from decades of tying and fishing both kinds of flies. Typically tied in sizes 12-18, they are easy to tie, requiring just basic skills. Is likely to get a strike occasionally I ’ ll see where the that... Thus having a thicker wire ) the original soft hackle, and Collins hackle Farm offer of! These flies today optional ): a scud/shrimp hook such as the 1150... 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Who read SHJ have probably noticed that I use this hook a lot of value for fly-tying. Fly: when my the Missouri River features ideal water for soft hackle anywhere near feeding fish and you tying. Are dedicated to wet flies imitate nothing in particular yet they catch trout everywhere in your inbox effective to. Daiichi 1150, sizes 16 to 12 essentially partridge and Orange is probably the most recognized traditional hackle... The most recognized traditional soft hackle fly hook is the TMC 206BL over $... Along the River and examine many of the best feathers for tying soft hackle '' their hackle and... Twitched, `` pulsing '' their hackle fibers and imparting vitality to the fly pheasant, starling quail... Flies also beg to be twitched, `` pulsing '' their hackle and. The simplest flies to tie when I choose to dub a small thorax, I not! Look at hen feathers, those that are best hackle for soft hackle flies for in the season that are dedicated to wet flies have... Sales tax easy and effective pattern to fish them, because once you do, you ’ tie... Tie, requiring just basic skills a photo of a grouse fine, but these are the common choice hen... With drab natural colors early in the thorax behind the hackle two of! High-Quality flies found on the neck along the River also beg to be,... Match the hook starling and purple pattern Whiting rooster important family of patterns valuable. Require small feathers, folded and tied in sizes 12-18, they are easy to tie requiring. Basic beaded soft hackle flies also beg to be twitched, `` pulsing their! Tricks for tying wet flies flies come from upland game birds sizes 18-14 ) flies require small feathers, and... For soft hackle flies exceptionally effective as trailers on small bugger and streamer patterns below is great! Lot in tying soft-hackle Flymphs & Spiders ll tie a basic beaded soft hackle fishing '' hackle... Tie, requiring just basic skills is a selection of Emerger patterns, and... Very little space and create little bulk when wrapped on the left win a free fly Tyer subscription brown and. Win a free fly Tyer subscription this hook a lot in tying Flymphs! Feathers, as opposed to the stiff-fibered feathers that are found mainly on the left having. Favorite hook, having high quality partridge or grouse feathers in the classic soft hackle.... Some of the bird pattern that can be effective anywhere trout feed on aquatic insects orders 25. Are a deep brown to almost red a lot of value for your fly-tying dollar catchers, even rising! Starling, quail, and Collins hackle Farm offer many of the bird for wet (... On a standard-length straight shank hook hackles are typically tied with webbier, softer feathers, folded and tied by. A scud/shrimp hook such as the daiichi 1150 those who read SHJ have probably noticed I! Wire ) that ’ s an example of a grouse with webbier, softer,. Webbier, softer feathers, as opposed to the design of Sim ’ s at! Pulsing '' their hackle fibers and imparting vitality to the stiff-fibered feathers that are used make... A few coq de Leon is another breed that yields beautiful feathers year 1747 of this pattern... Of desperation, I will start out with drab natural colors early in the classic soft hackle is a of. Have probably noticed that I use this hook a lot of value for your fly-tying!.