Whiskey Creek Fly Fishing

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Soft Hackle Tying Class

October 20th, 2008 · 1 Comment

This is the first of a series of postings that will show how I tie soft hackle flies. The series kicks off with a few photos and description of tying materials. Soon, there will be videos of tying demonstrations, starting with the simplest of soft hackles, the partridge and yellow.

Why soft hackles?

Soft hackle flies are becoming more and more popular. Why? Well, they catch fish of course. Also, they are quick and easy to tie, and very versatile flies to fish.

I fish them with a traditional soft hackle swing, as a dropper off a bead head nymph, dead drift like a nymph, and treat with floatant and fish right in the film. Tie your traditional nymph patterns, like pheasant tail, hares ear, or prince nymph, and add a soft hackle collar. You now have a fly that can be used either way.

Soft hackles are quick and easy to tie. Most have 3 or 4 materials to worry about, and take less than 5 minutes to tie. That is a dozen in an hour. You can find soft hackle patterns with just about any type of body material, many with just thread bodies. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Most patterns are tail-less, although you can add a tail. A body, rib, thorax, and hackle covers the majority of patterns.

Last summer, I introduced my wife and kids to soft hackles. They love to fish them. My daughters like them, because they catch fish. Once we find a pod, catching fish is much easier with soft hackles than standard drys or nymphs. Fewer arguments, also, because daddy is spending less time “correcting” his daughters and telling them to set…

My wife loves to fish soft hackles, the swing can be accomplished while taking a sip of wine.

Did I mention they catch fish?

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be showing the materials used to tie soft hackle flies, plus a series of videos that demonstrate the techniques.

For those that would like a deeper dive, here are a few references that I’ve found useful.

Tags: Fly Tying

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Soft Hackle Wrap up // Mar 8, 2009 at 9:24 am

    [...] Introduction – Why fish with soft hackles, and some reference books [...]

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