Fly of the month

SOFT HACKLE PHEASANT-TAIL NYMPH


Learning to give flies movement will make you a much better angler. Using patterns that have a lot of natural motion, such as soft-hackle wet flies, is one of the best ways to do this. Soft hackles are some of the easiest trout flies to tie, and when fished with extra movement, such as swung or stripped like streamers. They produce lifelike, pulsating motion that triggers fish into striking. Trout are like any other fish, and when presented with a fleeing prey, they rarely pass it up. Soft hackles have a very long history of catching fish. Before the dry fly came along, all fly fishing entailed fishing wet flies and soft hackle “spiders”. Spiders originated in Scotland, Northern England, and Italy more than three centuries ago. Early anglers fished these patterns downstream with rods measuring more than 10 feet long. This style of fishing still works in practically every type of trout water, from steam riffles to still waters, but you do not have to use an ultra-long fly rod, nor do you have to fish exclusively downstream. Today, a “soft hackle” refers to almost any nymph tied with a collar of hackle such as hen or partridge.

PATTERN

HOOK – TIEMCO TMC3761 or Equivalent, sizes 18 to 10
THREAD – Fluorescent Pink and Brown 8/0 (70 Denier)
BEAD - Black Tungsten
TAIL – Pheasant Tail Fibers
ABDOMAN – Pheasant Tail Fibers
RIB – Small Copper Wire
THORAX - Olive Ice Dub
HACKLE - Hungarian Partridge

HOW TO TIE

  1. Debarb hook – Put bead onto hook - Mount the hook in the vise and start the pink thread in at half shank and go back to just before the bend of the hook and tie in a sparse tail of pheasant tail fibers (3) about the length of the shank of the hook.
  2. Tie on a piece of copper wire right in close to the tail then tie in roughly 12 pheasant tail fibers in the same spot as the wire (smaller hook – smaller amount of fibers for the abdomen) by the tips.
  3. Wrap the pheasant tail forward to just about the center of the hook shank and tie it down – then spiral wrap the wire forward to make the ribbing and tie it off, clip off any tag ends.
  4. Spin a pinch of dubbing for the thorax and wrap onto the hook. (Just a small one – 2 or 3 very thin dubbing wraps)
  5. Using the pink thread still - wrap a slight slope of thread (Tapered down toward the eyelet) that you can slide the bead onto but leaving a small amount of pink thread showing ( Like a hot spot) – whip-finish and cut the thread.
  6. Push the bead back onto the pink thread and then start the brown thread in front of the bead – clip off the tag end of the thread.
  7. Strip the fibers from the left side of the partridge hackle (This will be up against the hook) and tie in by the tips (This is a very fragile feather so go slow at stripping the fibers and start at the butt section – removing only a couple of fibers at a time) in front of the beadhead.
  8. Wrap the feather forward while petting the fibers backward to create the sparse soft-hackle collar. Tie off and clip off the tag end of the feather. Now put a few wraps on to form a small tapered head – Whip-finish and clip the thread.