How to Tie: Soft Hackle

What You’ll Need

Hook

3761 TMC size 16-22

THORAX

Sow-scud dubbing

RIB

UTC wire (BR)

BODY

Thread

THREAD

UTC 70 color to match body, olive

COLLAR

Hungarian Partridge

Step 1

Secure the thread on the hook shank. Tie in at the front. Only do enough turns to get the thread started.

Step 2

Get a piece of wire and tie it in at the front. You want the wire down the whole shank. One to keep the body the same shape and two, to also secure the wire in solid. You want to hold the wire at an angle as you wind back. Because of the way you’re holding the wire and winding back it will slide down the wraps butting each wrap side by side. This is real important if you only have a thread base for the body of the fly. By using a floss thread you will definitely like the way the body looks verses uni-thread or threads that are waxed.

Step 3

Advance the thread forward still making each wrap next to the next wrap. This will build the thread wraps making the body smooth. Wind the wire forward which I like to do on the first turn. Try not to pull hard on the first turn because this will shift the wire down at an angle and the body will have an uneven look. Once you do the first turn around then you can apply more tension with the wire for the rest of the turn, even when I space them to create the segments on the body. Once you tie the wire in then heat the wire by moving it back and forth. This will cause it will break and will not leave a tag of wire. If you do use scissors don’t use a good pair. This will dull them qiuck. Also cut at the back of the scissors.

Step 4

This step is kind of tricky. You don’t want to use a lot of dubbing. Just one or two wraps. When dubbing this on the thread try not to twist to hard because you don’t want it to grab the thread when tying it in. You want it to have a shaggy look.

Step 5

Select a partridge hackle. Make sure you’re picking from the very front section of the bird, down by the face. You will need a whole bird to get the best selection of feathers. If you go the cheap route by buying the loose feathers in the bag then your flies will not turn out to good on smaller sizes. The hackles are all too long. Good for size 10 and 12’s.

Step 6

What you want to do is grab the tip of the feather with one hand and with the other hand pull back and split the barbs evenly on each side. One thing before you go on is you only want the barbs from the collar and not the shaft stuff on the very bottom of the stem. Pull it off the stem. With the tip section of the feather you are going to tie in the middle where you split it. Now if you tied the feather in right the tip side should be facing in front of the eye.

Step 7

This part will definitely give you practice on your hand coordination. You cannot give this too much tension or you will break the feather or pull it out when you go to wind it around.

Step 8

Make you’re first turn slow with not a lot of tension. Try not to twist the step around when you go around. You want the hackle laying in the back direction. To make the collar look palmered, you need to work on this part and get used to working with small feathers. You’ll get it in time. Once you tied all the hackle in. Tie the stem in and cut it off.

Step 9

Whip finish the fly and gloss coat the head.

Step 10

Whip finish the fly and gloss coat the head.

Step 11

Finish Product!!!