Tying Soft Hackle Flies

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Tying Soft Hackle Flies
TMC 3769
Winter Stick
Line Building Fund Raiser
Bristol Bay Fund Raiser
All pictures are Mouse-over.

January 22, 2008 - Clackamas Fly Fishers General Meeting

A PowerPoint Presentation "Summer Steelhead Fly Fishing" by Mark Bachmann. How-to/where-to fly fishing adventure with lots of pictures of fish and commentary from an angler who has caught summer steelhead with flies for the past 40-years. Showcases the Deschutes River, and other local rivers as well.
The meeting is Tuesday the 22nd of Jan at 7pm at High Rocks Pub in Clackamas. Most people start showing up around 6:00 for dinner.

Tying Soft Hackle Flies
These incredibly versatile patterns will catch many species of game fish under a wide range of conditions.  Literature has made the soft hackle style of fly most popular for trout in streams.  Here they are usually fished dead drift or on the swing as a wet fly.  Often the best best depth is very shallow.  Presented in this manner these patterns represent insects which are struggling just below the surface. The soft, wet, flowing hackle simulates the activity of thrashing legs and beating wings. Soft hackle flies are also very productive in lakes and ponds for most species of trout, char, bass and pan fish.  These patterns are often fished in the surface film as an emerging insect.  This can be a very productive method during mayfly and caddis hatches. Cast the fly with a floating lines ahead of cruising trout. Barely twitch the fly as the fish approaches.  Soft Hackles can also be fished deeper around submerged weeds or even along more barren rocky bottoms. 
In 1496 Dame Juliana Berners published "The Treatise of Fishing with an Angle". It was the first definitive work on sports angling written in the English language. In it were the first twelve fly patterns. They were all soft hackle type wet flies. Soft Hackles are as popular and productive as when first written five hundred years ago.
As you will see in the illustrations below, tying soft hackle flies is quick and easy.

Success often relies on your preparation. It is best to thoroughly read the fly tying directions and recipes when you first set down to tie.  Gather and organize all the tools and materials before you begin to tie. Starting this way will make your tying session more pleasant and productive.  Some tiers lay a dozen hooks in a straight line on the table, then prepare twelve hackles. This approach will assure that twelve well proportioned flies will wind up in your box. For more information on getting

organized for fly tying you might want to read: Getting Organized For Fly Tying

Pattern: Pheasant Tail Soft Hackle
Hook: #12-#16 TMC3769
Tying Cement: Anglers Corner Water Base Head Cement
Thread: Uni 6/0 Waxed, Camel UNI6D51
Tail: Pheasant tail fibers
Rib: Copper Wire UWB67
Abdomen: Pheasant tail fibers
Thorax: Peacock herl
Hackle: Partridge
Head Cement: Anglers Corner Water Base Head Cement


Clamp the hook in the vise, making sure the shank is level with the table.  Add a foundation of thread.  A thin coat of head cement will make your fly more durable.

Tie in three separated strands of pheasant tail fibers. Wrap the fibers down to form a smooth foundation.

Tie in the copper ribbing wire. A six inch piece of wire will tie several flies.

Trim the tag end of the wire and the the butts of the tailing fibers.  Tie in 4-8 pheasant tail fibers tip first.

Wrap the pheasant tail fibers forward to form the abdomen of the fly.

Tie off the pheasant tail fibers and reverse rib the body with the copper wire.  Make an extra wrap with the wire and wrap the wire back over itself to lock it. Then over-wrap it with tying thread to lock it down.

Tie in three peacock herls and wrap them over the front 1/3rd of the body for a thorax.

Tie off and trim the herls and get prepared to add the partridge hackle.

Prepare the hackle by stripping one side.  Tie in the hackle by the tip.

A hackle pliers can help to control the hackle as you wrap it forward two turns. Two turns will be about right to get maximum movement of all of the fibers.

The finished fly should have a sparse look.

Fly Patterns
These are the four most popular Soft Hackle Patterns.
Soft Hackle Gray
HOOK: TMC 3769, #12-#16
THREAD: Uni 6/0 Waxed, Gray
TAIL: Natural Gray Partridge
RIB: Flat Gold Mylar, 16-18 FMFE
BODY: Hare-Tron Gray, HT3
HACKLE: Natural Gray Partridge

This fly is one of the best all around searching patterns for many streams and lakes.  The neutral shades of gray and tan simulate many species of mayflies and caddis.  It is particularly effective on lakes during Callibaetis Mayfly hatches.  It is also well proven on large freestone rivers like the Mackenzie.  Here it is deadly on cutthroats.  It can be the best searching pattern for cutthroats in all mountain streams.

Hare's Ear Emerger
HOOK: TMC 3769, #12-#16
THREAD: Uni 6/0 Waxed, Cahill UNI6D263
Natural Gray Partridge
RIB: One Strand Pearl Flashabou
BODY: Hare's Ear Plus, Natural HET1
HACKLE: Natural Gray Partridge
WING: White Antron Strands, AY141, sparse

This simple fly incorporates some Antron fibers over the top to trap air bubbles.  It is a very productive fly through out the season.

Partridge & Green
HOOK: TMC 3769, #12-#16
THREAD: Uni 6/0 Waxed, Camel UNI6D51
Natural Gray Partridge
RIB: None
BODY: Green Silk Floss
THORAX: Hare's Ear Plus, Natural HET1
HACKLE: Natural Gray Partridge
HEAD: Camel

The Partridge & Green can be used as a deep sunk juvinile dragonfly or damselfly.  Fish it with a sinking line and short sharp twitches.  It is equally effective during green body caddis hatches or olive body mayfly hatches in rivers.  During these periods, fish the fly in the surface film with a floating line.

Partridge & Yellow
HOOK: TMC 3769, #12-#16
THREAD: Uni 6/0 Waxed, Camel UNI6D51
Natural Gray Partridge
RIB: None
BODY: Yellow Silk Floss
THORAX: Hare's Ear Plus, Natural HET1
HACKLE: Natural Gray Partridge
HEAD: Camel

A similar fly appears in English literature as early as 1496.  It may already have been used for centuries, but not recorded.

Sproat bend, Down eye, 2X Heavy, Forged, Bronze. 
For Nymphs & Wet Flies.

Item Description Size Price To Top
42139 TMC 3769 Fly Hook 12 25 for $4.65 Sale Ended
42140 TMC 3769 Fly Hook 14 25 for $4.65 Sale Ended
42141 TMC 3769 Fly Hook 16 25 for $4.65 Sale Ended

Natural Color Bleached 5 Dyed Brown Dyed Olive
Hungarian Partridge (Perdix perdix)

A flocking ground-bird. Also known as Grey Partridge and European Partridge. Most commonly are called "Huns" in the U.S. Huns inhabit the northern third of the agricultural lands in North America. They are especially fond of open, irrigated land. Hungarian Partridge are not native in the Western Hemisphere.  The North American strain appears to have been imported from Czechoslovakia.  Relatively small in size, the adult Hungarian Partridge averages 12-14 inches

in length. They have short, round wings and a short, dark, chestnut-brown tail. The body feathers are brown and gray, and the male's flanks are barred in chestnut and white and the gray breast has a distinctive horseshoe-shaped chestnut patch on the lower portion.
Hungarian Partridge Plumage is avidly sought after as wet fly tying material. The fibers are soft and water absorbent, which make them come alive when fully saturated while submerged. Even more appealing is the coloration which is is a combination of earthy tans, grays and browns. All feathers are cross barred, which easily imitates the barring on most aquatic insects.  There is a plumage difference between the sexes. The plumage of both males and females are used. The feathers from one sex is not commonly more valuable than the other. Most fly tiers are not aware of the difference. Females have a smaller chest patch or lack one altogether, and the body feathers are paler. Female shoulder feathers have darker brown cross bars.  Male shoulder feathers tend to be more rust color. Feathers from all parts of Hungarian Partridges are used for fly tying.  Breast, neck, saddle and rump feathers are commonly used for soft hackle flies, traditional wet flies and nymphs. Coloration, barring pattern and size of feathers vary widely in different areas of one bird skin.  Individual birds also vary in feather size, barring and color tone.  Tail and wing feathers are used as well as body feathers.  These stiffer feathers are commonly used for winging or tailing material on traditional wet flies, as well as tails, legs and shell backs on nymphs. 

We offer skins that have been bleached and also dyed.  These exotic skins give the tier even more options in creativity.  All skins are hand selected Number #1 Quality with very straight feathers.  Dyed pelts appear to be smaller than natural ones because of skin shrinkage caused by the dying process.  The feathers are unaffected in volume or individual size.  You are going to love our Hun Hides.  We guarantee it.

Hungarian Partridge, 1
Natural Color

This is still the most commonly used color of partridge pelt for fly tying.  These skins contain enough feathers to tie hundreds of flies.  Packaged feathers also contain enough feathers to tie dozens of flies, but are not the same quality as those available from whole hides.
Item Description Size Price To Top
1HPS242 Hungarian Partridge, Natural Whole Hide $23.45 Sale Ended
HP242 Hungarian Partridge, Natural Packaged Feathers $2.05 Sale Ended

Hungarian Partridge, 2
Bleached Color

Popular hackling material for light colored mayfly and caddis emergers. 


Item Description Size Price To Top
HPS18 Hungarian Partridge, Bleached Whole Hide $25.50 Sale Ended

Hungarian Partridge, 3
Dyed Brown Color

Very popular material for soft hackles and nymph patterns used in dark bottom streams and lakes.
Item Description Size Price To Top
HPS40 Hungarian Partridge, Dyed Brown Whole Hide $25.50 Sale Ended

Hungarian Partridge, 4
Dyed Olive Color

Popular material for many flies used in lakes. These skins contain enough feathers to tie hundreds of flies.  Packaged feathers also contain enough feathers to tie dozens of flies, but are not the same quality as those available from whole hides.
Item Description Size Price To Top
HPS263 Hungarian Partridge, Dyed Olive Whole Hide $25.50 Sale Ended
HP263 Hungarian Partridge, Dyed Olive Packaged Feathers $2.05 Sale Ended

New Winter Stick

George Cook introduced me to the 8129-4 Z-AXIS last September. At that time I was in love with the 5-6-7 weight rods that we were using. The 8129-4 seemed too beefy to fit my summer fishing scene, so it was put into storage and forgotten until December. Now this rod has been re-examined and has become one of the most used pieces of equipment in my boat. The past several winters, our flies have been getting larger. Flies up to five inches long are not unusual. Lead eyed flies of 2 1/2 to three inches are common.  These sizes of flies turn over easiest when the tip of the line has mass. If you are going to fire a big bullet long distance, you need gunpowder behind it.  In the past, big heavy, long rods were thought to be the best way to go.  Ten years ago, fifteen foot nine weight rods would have been most popular for throwing big flies. For the past five years fourteen foot rods have replaced them. With the development of super efficient Skagit type shooting head lines the game has changed.  Shorter rods are easier on your body and easier to use where there is limited space behind you.  Shorter rods magnify your casting mistakes less than do long ones.  They allows easier loop control that increases line speed, providing a more pleasant experience for the angler. It seems as though anglers of all skill levels adapt easily to the 8129-4 Z-AXIS. I use this rod to propel a 12-weight, 190-grain type eight Rio tip, which gives the perfect sink rate  for much of the water

we have been fishing this winter. So far three Skagit heads we have tested on the 8129-4: a Rio 550 and 600 as well as the Airflo Skagit Compact 570. This results in total head weights of 740, 760 and 790 grains. They all perform so well, it's hard to make a clear-cut choice.

8129-4 Z-AXIS

Length: 12' 9"     Line: 8     Pieces: 4

Super tactical spey rod.  From Kings in Alaska to winter steelhead in the Pacific Northwest, don't be fooled by the short length.  Long casts come surprisingly easy with minimum effort.
Line Match:
8/9/10 WindCutter, AFS 8/9, Skagit 600 w/out Cheater.
Sinking Tip:
15' 150-190 grain type 3, 6, & 8 as well as T-14 in 9' to 13' lengths.
Reel Matches: Tibor Riptide, Nautilus 12, Ross CLA 6, Sage 3500D or 3600D.
Rod weight:  7 3/8 Ounces

Line Wt
Action Handle Price To Top
8129-4 Z-AXIS 8 Fast F $765 Sale Ended

Fund Raiser For Native Fish Society

Improve your success and make your fishing more enjoyable. The most basic element in the fly fishing experience is how the line and rod interact to present the fly. The fly line is the most critical link in presenting a fly. A greater understanding of fly lines will help in selecting the best line that suits your casting style and rod action. Line building will bring a new dimension to your fly fishing experience. Gaining a greater understanding of how a fly line profile delivers the fly, will give confidence in making alterations. A custom tailored fly line, like a personal

hand-tied fly, is an expression of your prospective, providing a tactical advantage to resolving a fishing situation. Unique lines can be designed to counter seemingly impossible casting/fishing situations. A custom line can be tailored to fly further distances, sink deeper and faster, slice through gusty winds, and more. Freshwater to saltwater with single or two-handed, a customized line can drastically improve your fishing success.

This six-hour class will dispel the myths and mysteries in designing and building fly fishing lines. The class will cover three major topics:

*How line profiles (lengths, shapes and sizes) interact with the fly rod and how each profile best presents the fly.

*An interactive group session will analyze and configure several line designs to best suit rods and/or solve a fishing situations.

*Hands-on demonstrations in making several line-to-line and loop splices. This will include knotted, bonded (glued) and welded type splices as well as use of different fly line base materials.

Included is “How to Design Fly Lines” booklet as a class text and future reference. Bring your questions on fly lines, floating and sinking. Ask about best fitting your rods for top performance, single or two-handed. Come with your toughest fishing situations and find a line that is the cure. This interactive class will focus on answering your questions and empowering you to find the fly line solution.
Al Buhr has been designing fly lines for 30-plus years for single and two-handed rods. He has worked with Leon Chandler, Jimmy Green and currently works with Bruce Richards of Scientific Anglers. This 6 hour class is $125.00 and all proceeds go to Native Fish Society.
February 16th , Saturday, 9:00am - 4:00pm, with a 1-hour lunch break. Ten students maximum.
In addition, The Fly Fishing Shop will donate 10% of it's gross in-house retail sales for February 16th to Native Fish Society.

Item Description Price To Top
NFS-FUND Al Buhr Line Building Class, Native Fish Society Fund Raiser $125.00 Sale Ended

Fund Raiser For Bristol Bay Alaskan Fishery
(We got this email from Marc Bale at Sage, Redington & Rio)

We are writing to you today to inform you of an initiative we are undertaking here at Sage, Redington and RIO which is created with the idea of raising money to support Alaska TU and their efforts to confront the interests who are behind the Pebble Mine project on Lake Iliamna in Bristol Bay.  As this is one of the largest environmental impact stories of our lifetime, we sincerely hope that you will join us in this effort.

For those of you who are unaware of the Pebble Mine project, it is presently conceived to be an open pit mine of gargantuan proportions.  When completed it will be 2 miles long, 1 ˝ miles wide and 1700 feet deep with an accompanying 20 square mile toxic waste lagoon, all built right in the middle of one of America’s premier salmon and trout fisheries.  Owned primarily by Northern Dynasty Minerals, Ltd, a Canadian mining-development company, Pebble Mine will directly impact Upper Tularik Creek, the lower Koktuli River in the Nushagak and Kvichak drainages, as well as Lake Clark and Lake Iliamna.

Given the magnitude of the potential impact to one of the world’s greatest fly fisheries, we at Sage, Redington and RIO have determined to do our part to try and stop Pebble Mine from moving forward.  We are therefore dedicating one day of our manufacturing time, naming it One Day for Bristol Bay, in order to create a limited edition run of 300 rod, reel and line packages which we will make available to both shops and consumers, and from which we will donate a significant portion of the proceeds to TU Alaska who are one of the spearheads of the anti-Pebble Mine movement.

The outfits are comprised of a Sage 890-4 Z-AXIS rod, a matching Redington CD moss colored reel that is pre-spooled with an RIO Gold 8 WF flyline.  They are packaged in a black cordura rod/reel case with More Precious Than Gold embroidered on the tube.  The retail value of this package is over $800.  However, we will retail it for $600 and will sell it to shops for $400 - or any amount above $400 that the shop might wish to donate to the cause at the time of purchase.  Any dealer that matches our donation of $200 will be recognized in press releases.  At a minimum, we will be making a donation to TU Alaska  in the amount of $200 per outfit (more if sold for higher than the $400 minimum), thereby raising a baseline amount of $60,000 when Sage successfully sells all 300 outfits.

The Fly Fishing Shop will have these outfits as soon as they are available.

The Fly Fishing Shop HOME. The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty


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