A Trick for Soft Hackles

If you tie your own soft hackles, you’ll eventually start running out of small feathers. That’s a pain because skins aren’t cheap. But, all is not lost, for here is a very helpful Tim Flagler video on using larger feathers. It’s a very cool fly-tying trick, but would you expect anything less from Tim?


Soft hackles took more than their fair share of fish last Saturday. I fished the Farmington amidst the high water and found a decent number of browns and ‘bows. No show stoppers, and a 14″ clean-looking and hard-fighting brown was the best of the bunch.

Although the permanent TMA had been stocked a few days prior, junk flies didn’t work for me. The fish wanted the natural stuff. And, for that, I was grateful, leading to some celebratory New England IPA.

Looks like flows are staying high for a while. Anyone hitting the rivers this weekend?


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12 thoughts on “A Trick for Soft Hackles

  1. Excellent video tip! I tie Partridge & Orange down to #20 for the Swift R. and this will help. Thanks. By the way, I caught a 20″ laker in the Y-Pool last week on a #14 Partridge & Pheasant Tail soft hackle on the swing.

      1. While not the best roll caster on the river, I’ve gotten a lot of practice this winter/spring anh have improved a lot. I can now roll close to 40”. Where there is a will….

  2. Interesting tip. I too had success fishing wets at the Farmington even though no hatches were going on. Soft hackle Hendrickson top dropper and Wet/Emerger Hendrickson on the point. Guess the fish remembered Hendricksons!

  3. I think you are too humble, any wild brown is a show stopper. Way to go! Also, thanks for sharing that tip. Tim Flagler never ceases to amaze

  4. Great technique I really struggle with the tiny feathers for size 20 and 22.
    Also I really like Tim’s calm and reasonable voice as he goes through the instructions. Much different than my angry, obscenity laden tirade as I break another tiny bit of Hungarian Partridge fluff.

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