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Tutorial: Tie Your Own Soft Hackle Fly

  • 2/12/2015 9:53:00 AM
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There are few better feelings for an angler than hooking a fish with a homemade lure. The soft hackle fly is one of the oldest and most varied patterns; tie your own orange and pheasant breast fly in minutes with these simple steps.

Fly tying vise
Hackle Pliers
Half Hitch Tool
Head Cement

Size 12 dry fly hook
Orange thread
Pheasant breast feather

Step 1: Attach the thread to the hook right behind the eye. Build up a thread body by wrapping the thread to the bend of the hook and back to the front, ending just before the eye.

Step 2: Prep the selected feather by removing the lower fibers and pulling the back the remaining feather barbs (also known as "Christmas Treeing").

Step 3: Wrap thread around feather with the stripped end pointing towards the tail end of the hook, carefully snip off excess fibers at the hook eye.

Step 4: Grasp the end of the feather with a pair of hackle pliers and carefully wrap the feather around the front of the hook 2 to 3 times.

Step 5: Carefully wrap the thread around the front end of the feather to secure and snip off the stripped feather end.

Step 6: Wrap the thread around the head of the fly and finish with 2 to 3 half-hitch knots and 1 to 2 drops of head cement.

With nearly limitless thread and feather combinations, the simplicity of this fly has proven its success for generations. The soft hackle can be fished as a dry fly, riding on the surface of the water, or as a wet fly, swimming just below the surface. It imitates a number of water-born insects that comprise most fish diets.

 For more ideas, check out our Iowa Fishing or DIY Outdoors boards on Pinterest.

Learn how to tie your own soft hackle fishing fly from the Iowa DNR