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Starling & Herl Soft Hackle, et al., & Co. (1)

Posted 10-25-2013 at 08:57 AM by random user
Updated 10-25-2013 at 12:03 PM by random user

[This was very distracting... was too distracted by taking images to tie really nice flies and was too distracted by tying flies to take really good pics... fo gigure.]

There will be several distinct patterns in this series, but they are all sort of a blur to me, all pretty much tied out of the same materials. I have never found that any one version out performs the others; each does its own thing and has its own time and place. We are working with two iridescent materials which are both sort of trout magnets, so it is difficult to tie them wrong enough to be ineffective all the time.

These flies are tied mostly in a wet or soft hackle style, but there are a few which are semi-dries. The wet style range from W.C. Stewart 'spiders' to having the soft hackle collared back 7/8's to practically veil the body. They are tied mostly for trout in New England free stoners, but in larger sizes will take gill, crappie and juvie small mouth in still water.

Range of configurations:
Sizes: #12 to as tiny as I can tolerate (get out the cheater’s).
Hooks: 1X long, 2X heavy wet/nymph hooks to 1X short dry fly hooks.
Underbody: optional, fine lead wire.
Tails: optional, black, marabou form the base or saddles or dry fly hackle fibers, split.
Thorax: optional, squirrel dubbing tied black, ostrich herl or CDC dyed dun.
Wing Stubs: optional, CDC dyed dun.

Version 1: Large soft hackle / wet fly. (minimalist version)
Hook: #12 - #16, 1X long, 2X heavy wet/nymph.
Thread: 6/0 Black.
Tail: Sparse tuft of marabou pull from the base of a black saddle, tied in above the barb and at about 3/4's the hook gape in length.
Body: Half cigar shaped, thread or fine copper wire and peacock herl brush.
Hackle: 1 or 2 turns of a starling body feather. Doesn't really matter much if you use the purple or green iridescent feathers. (It is six of one and half a dozen of the other.) I tie them in tip first and a bit back from the tip because I find it easier to handle the stem than the more slippery tip.

With the hackles, the larger the fly, the more the hackle should be collared back. A #12 usually gets the hackle tied back 3/4 -ish. At the #16 or even #18 the hackle is tied back just slightly. #14's sort of fall in the middle somewhere.

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Tail.

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Components of the herl brush body (a few few pieces of peacock herl and a 6" piece of Danville's flat waxed nylon or thread.). Grab the tag ends with hackle pliers or the like and twist away while stoking the herl fibers up. Note: herl was tied in tip first.

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The completed herl brush body. Extra fiber form the flat waxed nylon included.

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Starling body feather hackle tied in tip first.

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Whipped head, cemented and ready to catch fish.

Version 2: Large soft hackle / wet fly. (all decked out) [Redundant steps not included.]

Hook: #12 - #16, 1X long, 2X heavy wet/nymph.
Thread: 6/0 Black.
Underbody: Optional, fine lead wire.
#12 = 3-5 turns
#14 = 2-4 turns
#16 = 1-2 turns.
Tail: Sparse tuft of marabou pull from the base of a black saddle, tied in above the barb and at about 3/4's the hook gape in length.
Body: Half cigar shaped, thread or fine copper wire and peacock herl brush.
Thorax: Optional, 1 or 2 turns of squirrel dubbing dyed black and teased out (sharpie works) or ostrich herl dyed black.
Hackle: 1 or 2 turns of a starling body feather.

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Optional underbody.

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Beginning of dubbing loop thorax.

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Dubbing loop Half complete - Just spin the loop twister and stroke the fibers up.

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The dubbing loop thorax completed.

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The finished fly.

-- END PAGE 1 --

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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    ia_trouter's Avatar
    Thanks for posting this Random. Just finished my first attempt in a #12. It's a good looking fly, though it definitely has some differences from yours as I don't know my feather type terminology yet. My hackle is shorter than yours, my tail a little too long. Mine looks like it might catch a panfish. Back to the vise for another attempt!
    permalink
    Posted 10-26-2013 at 01:52 PM by ia_trouter ia_trouter is offline
  2. Old Comment
    gzarboni's Avatar

    Thanks for posting

    I am new to fly tying, so thank you for the instructions. I will be attempting to tie these patterns tonight.
    permalink
    Posted 10-26-2013 at 05:16 PM by gzarboni gzarboni is offline
  3. Old Comment
    random user's Avatar
    ia trouter,
    The tails need to be short on these for some reason. Definitely keep them less than a hook gape. Oh, You can find some short, fine marabou stuff near the quill on most saddles, etc. The hackle length isn't so important, if you end up with it really long, collar back kind of tight and sort of veil the body, but give it room to move around a little.

    qzarboni,
    not a problem. If you have questions, ask. They're pretty simple and pretty hard to tie badly enough that they won't draw some attention. Start with #12's and work your way down. #14's and #16's out produce the 12's, but I generally tie a couple #12 at the beginning just to get my fingers working. Best thing about them is they are cheap, quick and easy to tie, so I don't care if I hang them up, so I fish more tightly to sweepers and the like.
    permalink
    Posted 10-26-2013 at 05:47 PM by random user random user is offline
  4. Old Comment
    ia_trouter's Avatar
    I agree these flies look amazing for the price. On Allen hooks I think these cost about 20 cents to tie. Tying the hackle feather in at the tip is MUCH easier on these smallish feathers.

    I have successfully tied the base model on a #16. So far only a #14 if I use dubbing. One more size down and I will be satisfied. The larger ones look like they have panfish potential. I can't help but wonder about a beadhead. BHs are very hot here now and I can't help but wonder.
    permalink
    Posted 10-26-2013 at 07:16 PM by ia_trouter ia_trouter is offline
 












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