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Fishing Soft Hackles


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I saw there is another thread on tying soft hackles, so I didn't want to hijack that thread with my question. I was wondering how you guys fish soft hackles? I always hear about how effective they are, but what is the best way to fish them? I typically fish a 2 fly rig, so how should I rig this with a soft hackle? Add weight? Lead fly or trailing fly? Cast upstream?

Lastly, what constitutes a "soft hackle". Is it any fly that uses "soft hackle" or is it a very specific fly. Forgive my ignorance as I do not tie my own flies.

Thanks for your help.

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I saw there is another thread on tying soft hackles, so I didn't want to hijack that thread with my question. I was wondering how you guys fish soft hackles? I always hear about how effective they are, but what is the best way to fish them? I typically fish a 2 fly rig, so how should I rig this with a soft hackle? Add weight? Lead fly or trailing fly? Cast upstream?

Lastly, what constitutes a "soft hackle". Is it any fly that uses "soft hackle" or is it a very specific fly. Forgive my ignorance as I do not tie my own flies.

Thanks for your help.

One of the techniques I like to use when the situation is correct is to use a wet fly swing/lift. Normally the perfect situation is when I'm walking down stream and you can be directly upstream of your spot. Basically, you determine where a lay is based on surface action, reading the water, or local knowledge. First you estimate how much line and leader is required to "tightline" to the spot you have found. Then you make your cast (with that much line) to the lane right or left of the spot and let the current swing the line directly in front of the fish. Then slowly raise your rod so that fly rises right in front of the fish. Your tightline fishing at this point so you are filling for the strike and no indicator is required. Two items to think about are spooking the fish and setting the hook. My approach works best for me in a riffle when the fish can't see you. If you are fishing a still pool stay low, try to make sure something is behind you (to break up your silhouette) and the sun is not behind (so your not throwing a shadow). When setting the hook, I have found that I have better luck when I set the hook with a low sweeping motion parallel to the ground. I don't know why, and it might be in my head. Also, before you cast, decide which direction you are going to set the hook so that you don't snap your rod on a tree or a bush. If you are fishing shallow water, sometimes I put on micro bead floats 12 to 18 inches in front of the fly...not as an indicator but to better gauge my distance. In the right situation, this approach is quite productive.

Again working down stream, you can use the same technique without the rise. Cast to the other side of productive water and let the fly swing through the current a couple of times. Then take a step down stream and try again. It is a blind technique but works well in the narrow riffles when following a dry is tough and you can cover the whole water. .

Going upstream you can dead drift them also. If the fish are not spooky, you can cast them upstream at a slight angle and strip them downstream also. Try small and long strips.

If I work a stream upstream from the car. I almost always throw on a wet fly for the walk back down.

Good luck and I hope this works for you.

I've never tried a two fly rig so I can't speak to that. If I were going to try it would probably be on a dead drift technique.

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I use soft hackles a lot...in fact it has become one of my favorite flies. Basically you use it any way you'd use any kind of nymph. I use it often on a two nymph rig, almost always as the trailing fly. It seems to be more effective than many nymphs on the swing as mic was describing, but it is just as effective as any nymph dead drifted under an indicator.

Basically I consider a soft hackle to be a fly tied with soft hackle and with a fairly slender body and little or no tail. But I also use a lot of soft hackled flies with bodies and tails, like soft hackle Pheasant Tails. I find that sometimes the color of the body on a regular soft hackle makes a big difference. I've had very good success on green-bodied soft hackles the last year or so.

I like them in very clear water. I am guessing that the combination of thin body, lack of tail, and the hackles actually not only not too visible in the water but also obscuring the visibility of the body makes this a good "finesse" fly for clear water. It seems sometimes that the rattier the fly gets with thinner and thinner hackles, the better it is.

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how to fish a soft hackle..

http://www.west-fly-fishing.com/fly-pattern-recipe/wet/softhackle.shtml

PROSPECTING WITH SOFT HACKLE FLIES

http://www.fineflies.com/Articles/softhackles.htm

The Soft-Hackle Wet Fly—Back to Basics

http://www.jackgartside.com/step_soft_hackle_flies.htm

Soft Hackle Wet Flies

http://www.flyfishusa.com/flies/soft.htm

here guys.. enjoy some reading!

Leonard

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how to fish a soft hackle..

http://www.west-fly-...ofthackle.shtml

PROSPECTING WITH SOFT HACKLE FLIES

http://www.fineflies...softhackles.htm

The Soft-Hackle Wet Fly—Back to Basics

http://www.jackgarts...ackle_flies.htm

Soft Hackle Wet Flies

http://www.flyfishus.../flies/soft.htm

here guys.. enjoy some reading!

Leonard

Thanks Leonard! This is how I will spend my snow day today! Thanks to all who replied....

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Too much information....

Keep your candy in the water...play with it....listen to what the trout say.

Datus? Is that you?

John

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