Re: Nymphs v. Soft Hackles
Dave Hughes book is excellent!
I had a nice progression in reading which probably explains my commitment to soft hackles and wet flies. The first book I read, a few years ago, was a copy of "The Art of Tying The Wet Fly & Fishing the Flymph" by James Leisenring and Vernon Hidy - not a bad start! - the next book I picked up was "The Soft-Hackled Fly and Tiny Soft Hackles" by Sylvester Nemes. It was written several decades after the Leisenring/Hidy book and added greatly to what I learned in the first. Finally, I purchased Dave Hughes "Wet Flies", written about 20 years after the Nemes book. It tied together the first two and expanded on both in patterns and tying as well as fishing techniques. I've also used Allen McGees "Tying and Fishing Soft Hackle Nymphs". McGees book is great for opening up the door to new soft hackle patterns.
I enjoyed them all, but IF you can only get one, I would recommend Hughes "Wet Flies". It's comprehensive, up to date and pretty much covers everything you'll see in the first two.
A DVD I really enjoyed was by Oliver Edwards on fishing the wet fly (shipped from England but readily attainable online). It was filmed on the English chalk streams and Edwards fishes primarily with W.C. Stewarts spider patterns, in the upstream style. He also demonstrates tying several traditional soft hackle patterns. And now, of course, Joni has me yearning for the Davy Wooten video.
So see......even though wet flies and soft hackles may not get the press that dry flies and standard nymphs get, there's a lot of really good information out there! And seriously, if you tweak your presentation a little, you could darn well fish them all the time.