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Old 12-23-2008, 09:43 PM
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Default Nymphs v. Soft Hackles

What is the difference between nymphs v. soft hackles? Is it just the materials they are tied with or is it the way they are fished or a combination of both?
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:22 PM
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Default Re: Nymphs v. Soft Hackles

I think its the way they are fished and what cycle of the insect life it represents. I believe the difference is that a soft hackle when swung in the current like a streamer represents a nymph coming to the surface to hatch or transform into the adult fly and a nymph when dead drifted is the beginning stage of a insects life when its underwater and hasn't came to the surface and hatched yet. its just crawling around at the bottom and gets swept away downstream. also a soft hackle can represent a spider or something thats fallen into the water if need be..
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Nymphs v. Soft Hackles

Wet flies are supposed to resemble certain insects as they would look beneath the surface of the water. Fish will bite at wet fly fishing flies, thinking that they are drowned insects, aquatic insects, or larvae swimming to the surface to hatch. When using wet flies, you are not necessarily trying to imitate a particular insect or fish, etc. (whereas you are trying to do so when using dry flies or nymphs). Wet fly fishing flies are supposed to imitate insects in motion… they look like they are swimming to the surface or drowning, etc. You do not need perfect technique to fish with wet flies.

A nymph resembles an insect living under water. It can also resemble certain larvae. Some nymphs may have added weight to keep it underwater.
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Old 12-23-2008, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: Nymphs v. Soft Hackles

Quote:
Originally Posted by txbevo View Post
What is the difference between nymphs v. soft hackles? Is it just the materials they are tied with or is it the way they are fished or a combination of both?



You CAN fish a soft hackle as a nymph. OR a wet or even a dry. All depends on what water column. I have fished soft hackles on the bottom to represent a scud, the middle of the river or stillwater as an emerger, or right on top for a dry.
I tie LARGE softhackles and fished as bait fish or leeches.
The nice thing about SOFTHACKLES is then have allot of movement.

They are included with the wet flies like the Royal Wulff, the Hornberg. basically like Old Man stated, a fly trying to get to the surface.


I think there is more ways to fish a SOFTHACKLE where as a nymph, just bouncing around on the bottom. I love them cause they are definitely a multi tasking fly.
You can use a dry line, dry line with a little weight or a sinking line...they just work!
But, I do think it is all bout the movement.
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Old 12-24-2008, 12:01 AM
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Default Re: Nymphs v. Soft Hackles

TXBevo

Nymphs are designed to imitate the larval forms of mayflies, stoneflies and caddis. They don’t have wings, and spend most of their time on the bottom. Usually they are fished with weight, either split shot added to the leader or tied with a bead head, or a combination of both. They’re usually fished under an indicator of some sort that acts as a bobber, or flipped upstream on a short line using the length of the rod and leader and acouple feet of fly line to fish within 20’ while sweeping the rod downstream as it tumbles by to maintain contact while it ticks along the bottom through runs, pockets and riffles.

You can see a bunch of different nymphs here and on the menu on the left of this link:
http://www.orvis.com/store/product_d...bcat%5Fid=7165

and a cool underwater photo showing stonefly and mayfly nymphs and caddis larvae in stone cases.
Picture from Troutnut.com, a Resource for Fly Fishing and Tying Fishing Flies

Soft hackles are a type of wet fly that have a specific look. Usually a floss, silk or dubbed body and 1 or 2 turns of a “soft” hackle (in contrast to stiff dry fly hackle) made of partridge, grouse, or hen. They are impressionistic patterns that sorta imitate emerging mayflies, emerging caddis pupae, drowned adult mayflies and caddis, and/or diving caddis (some adult females dive to the bottom and lay eggs).

They’re usually fished higher in the water column than nymphs. A standard technique is casting at a forty five degree angle up and across stream and letting the fly swing downstream in an arc until it hangs in the current directly downstream.
Blue Ribbon Flies \\ Merchandise \\ Flies \\ Soft Hackles

Though soft hackles may not look like much in your hand, this pic of an emerging caddis pupae with a lot of wavy stuff going on helps explain why they’re so effective:
Picture from Troutnut.com, a Resource for Fly Fishing and Tying Fishing Flies

Try ‘em you’ll like ‘em.

peregrines
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Old 12-24-2008, 07:17 AM
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Default Re: Nymphs v. Soft Hackles

Quote:
Originally Posted by peregrines View Post
TXBevo

Nymphs are designed to imitate the larval forms of mayflies, stoneflies and caddis. They don’t have wings, and spend most of their time on the bottom. Usually they are fished with weight, either split shot added to the leader or tied with a bead head, or a combination of both. They’re usually fished under an indicator of some sort that acts as a bobber, or flipped upstream on a short line using the length of the rod and leader and acouple feet of fly line to fish within 20’ while sweeping the rod downstream as it tumbles by to maintain contact while it ticks along the bottom through runs, pockets and riffles.

You can see a bunch of different nymphs here and on the menu on the left of this link:
http://www.orvis.com/store/product_d...bcat%5Fid=7165

and a cool underwater photo showing stonefly and mayfly nymphs and caddis larvae in stone cases.
Picture from Troutnut.com, a Resource for Fly Fishing and Tying Fishing Flies

Soft hackles are a type of wet fly that have a specific look. Usually a floss, silk or dubbed body and 1 or 2 turns of a “soft” hackle (in contrast to stiff dry fly hackle) made of partridge, grouse, or hen. They are impressionistic patterns that sorta imitate emerging mayflies, emerging caddis pupae, drowned adult mayflies and caddis, and/or diving caddis (some adult females dive to the bottom and lay eggs).

They’re usually fished higher in the water column than nymphs. A standard technique is casting at a forty five degree angle up and across stream and letting the fly swing downstream in an arc until it hangs in the current directly downstream.
Blue Ribbon Flies \\ Merchandise \\ Flies \\ Soft Hackles

Though soft hackles may not look like much in your hand, this pic of an emerging caddis pupae with a lot of wavy stuff going on helps explain why they’re so effective:
Picture from Troutnut.com, a Resource for Fly Fishing and Tying Fishing Flies

Try ‘em you’ll like ‘em.

peregrines
You don't consider the pupa stage as a nymph? A Pheasant Tail isn't a nymph?
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:05 AM
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Default Re: Nymphs v. Soft Hackles

I fish with both.

John
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:37 AM
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Default Re: Nymphs v. Soft Hackles

A little tip I picked up from someone on this board I belive. if you are ever fishing nymphs with a oarnge indecater and you have a couple fish hit your indecater, tie on a orange and partridge and swing it through that hole.
keep them fish thinking
Bear
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:41 AM
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Default Re: Nymphs v. Soft Hackles

Quote:
Originally Posted by arfishinbear View Post
A little tip I picked up from someone on this board I belive. if you are ever fishing nymphs with a oarnge indecater and you have a couple fish hit your indecater, tie on a orange and partridge and swing it through that hole.
keep them fish thinking
Bear
Thanks for th tip that you passed on. I'll have to try that. I have had many times fishing that if I would have been using a dry as an indicator I would of caught more fish. I now use a dry fly instead of a strike indicator in times where the fish are not quite rising to full surface, but are slurpping up the emergers just under the surface. I figure that as the hatch of dries start I will be already ready with the dry set up. It doubles my chances.

John
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Old 12-24-2008, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: Nymphs v. Soft Hackles

I think all angles have been covered but I'll add my two cents anyway. I fish a LOT of soft hackles; through every part of the water column. In (moving) water that's two to four feet deep, I like to use a sink tip line......up and across, let it dead drift and then let it rise at the end of the drift. If I want to fish the bottom section of the water column, I may add a split shot or go to a tungsten bead soft hackle. Of course, if they really are nymphing on the bottom and, I have an idea as to what they're eating, I'm certainly not adverse to switching to an actual nymph.

In shallower water, or if the fish are feeding in the upper column, I'll use a floating line; I'll still dead drift but might give the soft hackle a little quiver towards the end of the drift. And, as Joni alluded to, it's no crime to squeeze the water out of the soft hackle, brush on a little Frogs Fannie, and let it drift right in the surface film like a 'dead' something or other! This is also a good time to try something small and dark (ie. black spider) and fish upstream to likely looking lies. Just think 'little terrestrials and bugs falling out of the trees'.

Since they're so 'impressionistic' you can just be close to what the fish are looking for and still get takers. I tie them in sizes from 10 (which I think are more or less streamers-not counting green drake emergers of course) down to 20's; tans, olives, orange, greys and black are good for starters although Auntie Em recommended some blues or purples and they're next on my tie list!

What ever you do, they're a versatile fly and a lot of fun to fish.
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