It is my go to fly and one I am constantly tying at fly tying expos. This pattern is unbeatable.
I mix two colors at all times and add Mallard flank on most. I use to use a cone head but not anymore. The Platt River Spider is a great example of the marabou soft hackle. I was very sad to hear of Jacks illness and death.
As for colors: Olive and brown, black and red, black and burnt orange, Red and white, Yellow and brown, Yellow and red, Black and Purple and white and pink.
I have added chenille to the middle of the hook to give a little mass for a bait fish imitation, but generally, very spars on the marabou and perfect Leech pattern. I fish these on a Type II or Depth Charge line as well as Intermediate.
I also tie them on Steelhead hooks and also streamer hooks for short strikes
Here is one with some Chenille:
And when wet, top without chenille, bottom with
Here is dry and wet to see how much it will look like a leech
I also generally fish this with a #12 Gartside Gurgler in Olive as a dropper off the Type II. Killer combo
Thinking about tying up a few and adding some smaller dumbbells up front. I fish almost entirely sub-surface and have weighted everything for years. (love those itsy bitsy dumbbells - 1/80, 1/50, ...).
Hardyreels, I agree about it looking effective. Probably why it has been lurking in my brain for so long.
I just found out last night it was called a Gartside soft hackle streamer. Ran into it years ago in Merwin's New American Trout Fishing. Merwin had it listed in the 'modern streamer' section as 'Soft Hackle Streamer' as white marabou with a single turn of mallard up front. That image has always been lurking in the back of my head.
Recently, life changed again and I can actually spend some time on a river again. Looking at what is in my fly boxes and the MOUND of tying materials I have and looking to do some culling. At the end of when I was fishing before, I was fishing soft hackles almost exclusively. Looking to take a broader approach now: 1 'medium" box of streamers and wets and another of nymphs and dries. I think this is going to be added to the new boxes.
I posted a question about this pattern several weeks back, almost identical to how you posted it actually....
I have a steaday supply of pheasant soft hackles, including some larger ones that tie and behave similar to how Jack's duck feathers do in this pattern.
I've tied dozens of them in various "bi-color" schemes and I usually have a few in my fly box. I generally tie them on larger hooks (2-4) and use a lot of palmered marabou and lead wire. As a result, they're prone to soaking up a lot of water and being somewhat hard to cast, but the action on them looks really good.
I've been fishing local stocked trout the last 2 weeks quite a lot, but honestly I've been hammering them on my rubber leg woolly bugger pattern. Maybe I should try the soft hackle streamers a bit .....
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BTW - I fish standard soft hackles more than anyone I know, and I love the gurgler pattern. Jack has to be one of the more creative guys to come along in this hobby for YEARS. The gurgler is used for redfish in saltwater -- it's hard for me to imagine making up something that works so well and becomes so well-known.
I definitely would have liked to meet the guy . I did just meet Lefy, Ed Jaworowski, and Walt Cary...so I can't complain about opportunities missed .[COLOR="Silver"]
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Joni's pictures don't really do the the Gartside softhackle justice.
In the water, not only do they slim down to a realistic baitfish shape, but the way that they "swim" is extremely realistic.
Jack was very particular about how his softhackle was tied and put out a self published 23 page booklet on just this one subject.
Here's the abridged version Tying the Soft Hackle Streamer
It was in a magazine. Plus, how Jack tied them. The incredible thing is that the back half of the hook is naked, just the front of the hook, so the marabou Ungulates.
I have added small dumbbells when I use floating line and specially in moving water.
I quit using the cone as I found I didn't need them. I use Intermediate, TypeII, III, IV, V and Depth Charge line to put the fly where I want it and I feel I have more control this way. I also like to add Guinea or colored Mallard to the front of the hook, but like in any softhackle, less is more. So, one or two turns is all.
Think it’s time to tie up a couple of these after I get the guide wrapper finished and the guides and seat put on my first attempt at rod building.
Maybe I should have searched BEFORE I posted up the question. Woke up this morning with it on my mind and had seen it on youtube yesterday, so I posted without searching. I fish a lot of soft hackles, most of them with a little fine lead wire in them. Funny thing is I have only heard of the Gurgler today, but have tied something very similar for smallies – only significance difference is the front foam lip is pierced by the hook eye, giving it more of a slider attitude.
RipTide, thanks for the link!
Thanks for the info. I fish WFF’s mostly, so I weight just about everything. Good to hear that nose-weighting this isn’t going to be a detrimental issue.
I love them. Use them as you would use a Wooly Bugger. I once caught a nice fat brown on the Yellow Breeches with a yellow Soft Hackle Streamer when all the hatch matchers were getting skunked. I think it was because the trout had wised up after seeing all the same emerger and cripple patterns for a week and instead I was throwing them a big old baloney sandwich. I was not a popular guy on the stream that afternoon. Another time on the Missouri, same story with my fishing buddy. We were standing in a riffle and he tied into a 25" brown and brought it to hand just as a guide with two very well-outfitted but obviously frustrated clients rowed by. "What are you catching them on?" he shouted, but he was not pleased to learn the answer, and neither were his sports.
I took a tying class with Jack years ago, and he said he liked three color combos best: white with a mallard collar for rainbows, yellow with a wood duck collar for browns, and olive/black or black with a wood duck collar for brookies. His theory was to match the color of the streamer to the color of the fish. (But he admitted that there was no reason to the theory except his own aesthetic sense.)
I was on my pontoon fishing a local lake. Two Gentlemen where out there where I was on their pontoons. Both were landing fish on a regular basis. I asked one what he was using, and he said a Brown Bugger, his friend said Olive bugger. So I tied on a Gartside Softhackle I made in Brown and Olive with Lemon Mallard. Game on! They then asked what I was using and I said, a little of the same thing both you are using...LOL