For those who love small streams, wild trout, and life...in their simplest form
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Soft Hackle Thoughts
This is a bleached Starling skin
Over the last several weeks I have recieved numerous emails from several readers asking about various hackles used in soft hackle fly construction. It seems that color and ease of wrapping the hackle was most talked about, but price and availability were also talked about. So I have put together some of my thoughts on this subject and would like to pass it along. Now this information is my experience and I don't claim to be an expert on the subject of soft hackles, but I do have extensive knowledge fishing soft hackles and I have a fairly good handle as to what makes them work.
A bleached Starling feather pulled from the skin above. Starling is a beautiful material. It's color and moving hackle make it an ideal fly. The issue with Starling is it can be brittle and break in the wrapping of the hackle. Also it's feathers tend to be small so most of the flies tied from it will be 14 to 18. For some reason I have found Starling most effective in late February and through March.
The fly was tied with the feather above. It is tied on a 14 hook.
A golden Badger hen skin. This skin is about as cheap as you can get, this one cost me 5.00. It has a wide range of colors, shapes and sizes. It is easy to tie with and is quite versatile in what it can represent.
A feather from the skin above. Look at and you can see the various other hackles it can substitute for, like Partridge.
Here is a fly tied with that feather.
Another hen skin, this one also cheap with outstanding properties.
Here is a feather from that skin. Look at it and imagine the patterns you could tie with it. Waterhen Bloa? if yo do please use the term variant so as to not get into trouble with the Accuracy police.
A fly tied with the feather above.
This is a bleached Partridge skin. These not much left on it but I do have a small box of selected feathers.
Here are a couple of types of feathers from that skin.
Here is a fly tied with the feather on the left. This fly is producing now.
Here are two hen pheasant feathers. Looking at them you can see they will in a pinch work just like the bleached Partridge, and golden Badger hackles.
Here are two flies tied with the hen pheasant feathers. The bottom fly is size 14 and the top fly a 12. All of the flies are tied with YLI silk thread for the body, and all have hares mask dubbing for the thorax.