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Soft Hackles

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2006/9/12 21:16
From Suburban Pittsburgh
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I've recently started to tye some soft hackles, mostly been a Hare's Ear soft hackle, but also some variations with an olive ice dub and with peacock herl. I really haven't fished with soft hackles, but have read so many good things about them.

What are some of your favorite soft hackle patterns and how or when do you fish them? Would say, a soft hackle caddis, be best used during an emergent stage?

Thanks in advance, looking forward to hearing some responses and tapping into the great knowlege of this board

Posted on: 2007/8/23 0:17


Re: Soft Hackles

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2007/7/26 7:29
From Westmoreland Co
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Jay,

One of my favorite soft hackles is Tup's Indispensable which really works great when the sulphurs are coming off. I've fished it as a nymph, swung it like a wet and a few inches under the surface with a slow retrieve upward like an emerger and all have caught fish for me. Sometimes when I'm not getting action on anything else I'll throw on some sort of soft hackle and you'd be surprised how well they can fish. Adding the occasional little twitch with your rod tip will drive some fish just crazy. Partridge and ______ (you add the color) is a good soft as hackle. Don't be afraid to experiment as you probably won't be disappointed.

Posted on: 2007/8/23 8:14
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Re: Soft Hackles

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2006/9/11 11:30
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A partridge and tan of various patterns is good for all the tan caddis. I like a tan dubbed body (sparce!) wih brown rib and brown thorax.

Favorites for midges olives etc are size 18 and 20 starling and some dark body (thread, sparkly dubbibg, fur, magpie herl etc). I don't think body is all that important. Starling is a tender feather and need to tie by the butt with the feather facing forward and curved upward. In the small category I have done well with a William's Favorite, which is a soft hackle analogy to a Zebra midge. Black thread body with silver rib and black hen hackle. A mirrored glass bead head helps sometime.

My old favorite is the black thread ant - two humps of lacquered thread with a turn of black hen hackle in the middle. Try these in a 12 to look like carpenter ants.

Posted on: 2007/8/23 10:58


Re: Soft Hackles

Joined:
2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
Posts: 19931
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Hare's ear soft hackle will murder them during a tan caddis hatch.

I like to fish it over wild browns on freestoners. I usually just frogs fanny it every few casts and strip/swing/pull/etc it through the film over splashy risers. It works great until after the emergence stops. If you grease the leader and frogs fanny/gink it, it will even pass as a crippled adult in a pinch.

Everything above is good. Partridge/starling and * is always a good pattern.

Posted on: 2007/8/23 12:15


Re: Soft Hackles
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2006/9/13 12:42
From Altoona, PA
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If you are interested in soft hackles, you'll want to read as much of Sylvester Nemes as possible.

I'll second the (any color) and partridge and the Hares Ear as your go to soft hackles. And I have been lucky with soft hackles during hatches also. I found them particularly helpful in still water where the trout are to skittish to hit dries.

Posted on: 2007/8/23 16:35
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Re: Soft Hackles

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2006/9/13 23:35
From SW PA
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Guys,
jayL
"Hare's ear soft hackle will murder them during a tan caddis hatch."
This pattern has been my goto nymph/wet flie in sizes 14-16. Never leave home withoput them.
JH

Posted on: 2007/8/23 18:11


Re: Soft Hackles

Joined:
2006/9/28 14:40
From Philadelphia
Posts: 375
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The soft hackle is my go to fly when fish are moving close to the top. I just cast slightly upstream and keep mending through the drift.

Absolutely the hare's ear and partridge is my favorite and as someone mentioned above, it's a killer when a caddis hatch is on. But I tie it in many colors and have caught fish with all of them.

And Padraic is right, Nemes is the guy to read!
Coughlin

Posted on: 2007/8/26 10:01


Re: Soft Hackles

Joined:
2006/9/9 7:33
From Hatfield, Pa.
Posts: 318
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After reading about the Hares Ear soft Hackle I tied a couple up and took them to the Big Buffalo last night. They worked! Caught a bunch of smallmouth and some big chubs. On my way out I noticed a Hex hatch was on, I wonder if that's what they were chasing.

Buffalo

Posted on: 2007/8/29 7:52


Re: Soft Hackles

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2006/9/11 11:41
From bucks cty
Posts: 997
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Browsing the internet to find pictures and recopies for Hares ear soft hackle flies I find several recopies and different ties. Could some of you post pictures and recopies? I've only been tying a couple years but partridge always seems to look buggy to me in the water. In this pattern (hares ear and partridge) is the partridge a full collar or trimmed on the top and sides?

Posted on: 2007/8/29 12:43


Re: Soft Hackles

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2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
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I don't have a pic... but here goes:

Hare's ear, or some equivalent dubbing. I use squirrel, but it really doesn't matter.

I just dub the body from bend to eye, rib it with copper, and add a full turn of partridge at the head. Tie off, whip, pick the dubbing.

Occasionally, I'll add a tail and/or wingcase, but I don't think it's often necessary.

Think Walt's worm with a soft hackle collar.

http://www.westfly.com/patterns/wet/softhackle.shtml

http://tinyurl.com/ypsg53 [cabela's.com]

Posted on: 2007/8/29 13:13


Re: Soft Hackles

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2006/9/11 11:41
From bucks cty
Posts: 997
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Quote:

jayL wrote:
I don't have a pic... but here goes:

Hare's ear, or some equivalent dubbing. I use squirrel, but it really doesn't matter.

I just dub the body from bend to eye, rib it with copper, and add a full turn of partridge at the head. Tie off, whip, pick the dubbing.

Occasionally, I'll add a tail and/or wingcase, but I don't think it's often necessary.

Think Walt's worm with a soft hackle collar.

http://www.westfly.com/patterns/wet/softhackle.shtml

http://tinyurl.com/ypsg53 [cabela's.com]


Thanks. That's the pattern I would think works well but I have seen some with tails and the collar trimmed so that only the hackle fibers below the body are left. I suppose that is to represent legs dangling below. My thought is that the full colar is visable to the trout from any angle making it more attractive.

Posted on: 2007/8/29 13:22


Re: Soft Hackles

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2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
Posts: 19931
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Well, I'd think that there are two different patterns there. The one with trimmed hackle and tails/wingcases would better represent a generic nymph, whereas the full collar plain version, pictured above, is more of a caddis imitation (emerger, pupa, cripple). I've tied and fished both, it's just that I tend to fish mostly caddis-heavy waters so I'm partial to the full collar.

Posted on: 2007/8/29 13:26


Re: Soft Hackles

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2006/9/12 21:16
From Suburban Pittsburgh
Posts: 1191
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Great replies, thanks for all of the information. When you guys fish soft hackles, do you use an indicator? Or are these fished simiilar to drys, that is, going by sight?

I too would think the full collar is the way to go, otherwise the pattern is more like a nymph. Then again, I don't have as much experience as most who have posted so I'm not sure I'm fully qualified to answer.

Posted on: 2007/8/29 15:02
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Re: Soft Hackles

Joined:
2007/1/2 11:55
From Bozeman
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It's such a versatile fly... you can fish it however you want. I've deep drifted it with an indicator, I strip it, I swing it, I float it. Whatever works. I tend to fish my emerger style patterns without an indicator, so I usually do it on a tight line swing.... no indie.

Posted on: 2007/8/29 15:17


Re: Soft Hackles

Joined:
2006/9/9 7:33
From Hatfield, Pa.
Posts: 318
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Here is what I used last night
http://www.buckeyeflyfishers.com/fly_tying/hare_ear/hare_ear.htm
I agree with Jayl it dosn't matter too much if it's rabbit, squirrel or a dubbing you can pick out to make it look buggy. The only thing I did different was wip finish with red thread.
Buffalo

Posted on: 2007/8/29 19:10



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