Posts Tagged ‘Soft hackles


Fly Fishing: Presenting A Darker Silhouette

SwittersB Wading SB BBasic Black in fly patterns is a given concept of acceptance for sub-surface patterns and presentations, but many fly fishers don’t stay with the black on top of the water’s surface when fishing. Whether it is working with a fly pattern that offers more visibility, or attempting to provide more exacting “match the hatch” markers the fly fisher doesn’t tie or fish many black patterns.

A few years ago, I started using the Black Elk Hair Caddis pattern. My mind also questioned the blackness of it all. Maybe a more exacting shade of brown was in order? But, I have to say the black pattern has done quite well on rivers and lakes. I haven’t tied many up, but I plan to this Winter in assorted sizes along with Black Soft Hackles.


The patterns have merit and produce when the size of the pattern is matched to the existing hatches coming off. 

bow shallows wet cuff SB

In my excitement and admiration, I dunked my fleece jacket in the water to hold/release the fish. It was a cold day and a little forethought to this possibility was in order. This fish took the Black Elk Hair Caddis skittered on/in the surface chop. (Photo by Bucky)

Bow Caddis Reflection SB

This pretty fish also took the Black Elk Hair Caddis. (Photo by Bucky)

Give black surface patterns a try for Midges (Chironomid/Buzzers), Caddis, Stonefly and Mayfly. Even a big, fluttering Dragon pattern might entice a wallop. Trout Caught/Released


Wet Flies & A Beginner’s Retreat (Stop Thinking So Much)

Wet Fly~SwittersB (Lose the bead to go lighter)

Wet Fly~SwittersB (Lose the bead to go lighter)

You are a begining fly fisher and overwhelmed with Dry flies, stillborns, emergers, nymphs, pupa and larva. You glaze over at Rhyacophila, Dicosmoecus, Rhithogena and those are some of the more frequent ones. So my recommendation borne from some experience and some damn good fly fishers I know is go wet. Saves you many hassels of figuring out hatches and dredging the bottom. Tie or buy a simple assortment of wet flies….or ‘flymphs’/soft hackles and cast them precisely, swing them, retrieve them, jerk them back in fits and starts and you will catch fish. While you do that and have reasonable outtings you can still study and observe. But you will relieve yourself of all that thinking. Do you want the thinking? The puzzle? Then keep it simple for awhile: caddis, mayflies, golden stones, dragonflies, damselflies, baitfish or midges. Recognize the difference between a caddis and a mayfly. Recognize when to put on the Elk Hair Caddis or the Adams or small Midge. If you’re fishing subsurface with a nymph then stick to Hare’s Ears and Pheasant Tails. Keep it simple. The Latin can come later if it must. In the meantime, when you walk the shoreline before dinner or after poke that wet fly here and there. Read the water’s different verses and savor each perfect and not so perfect casts. KISS.


Soft Hackles (Whiskey Creek Primer)

Bead Head Wet

Stella's Seducer (Wet)~G. Muncy

Excellent sequence of posts re tying the Soft Hackles. I have a friend, who fishes soft hackles probably 90% of the time on streams-rivers and is a phenomenal fly fisher. He loves starling and partridge and rarely goes bigger than size 16’s unless the specific hatch calls for it.

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August 2020

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