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Old 12-15-2013, 09:14 AM
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Default Thinning out soft hackle?

I have just recently started tying a few soft hackle midges and nymphs. On a few, they are tied with a bit more hackle then I would like. Instead of just trashing the fly, can I simply go in with a scissors and thin it out a bit?
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:19 AM
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Default Re: Thinning out soft hackle?

I don't see why not, just be careful and go slowly. Soft hackles are pretty quick to tie so even if you mess one up it doesn't take much to replace it from scratch.

When tying soft hackles the tendency when you first start out is to over hackle the fly, if you just do one or two turns of hackle it is usually more than enough.

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Old 12-15-2013, 09:22 AM
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Default Re: Thinning out soft hackle?

You can also strip off one side of the hackle feather when you're tying to make the collar more sparse.
mcnerney, jaybo41 and craigthor like this.
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Thinning out soft hackle?

changler is right, strip one side of the feather and do 2 - 3 wraps, 4 at most if you like a fuller profile.
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Thinning out soft hackle?

I am using hungarian partridge, that is correct feather to use for soft hackle right? also, I remember someone saying something about a website or article that was written that helps with choosing the proper size hackle for the fly. can anybody help me out with where I can find that info.
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:54 AM
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Default Re: Thinning out soft hackle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by two_nymph_rig View Post
can I simply go in with a scissors and thin it out a bit?
Short answer is yes

In the future take less wraps or strip off one side
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Old 12-15-2013, 11:06 AM
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Default Re: Thinning out soft hackle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by two_nymph_rig View Post
I am using hungarian partridge, that is correct feather to use for soft lhackle right? also, I remember someone saying something about a website or article that was written that helps with choosing the proper size hackle for the fly. can anybody help me out with where I can find that info.
I too am just starting with these things and finding that they can be deceptively difficult for such a simple fly. But they work. As far as proper material, whatever that means, partridge and starling are traditional. I have both and like them. Hen hackle should work as well.

Let me reccomend two excellent ebooks. I think they about $.99 each on Kindle.
One is Storey's The Year of The Spider. Its about fishing old English soft hackles. He gives patterns with nice photos of these beauties.
The other is T.E. Pritt's Yorkshire trout Flies. This is circa 1885 and it is wonderfully weird in terms of the ingredients. Underwing of a moorhen, water rat dubbing etc.. You keep waiting for eye of newt. But there are many patterns listed with drawings. I highly reccomend both, not as reads, but as pattern books. And at a buck a pop you can't go wrong. Plus several bluegills and two small bass endorse their work.

Last edited by fq13; 12-15-2013 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 12-15-2013, 11:33 AM
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Default Re: Thinning out soft hackle?

In this book, Allen McGee describes how to hackle very small hooks using the distributed collar hackle (method) and the compensated soft-hackle technique:

Tying & Fishing Soft-Hackled Nymphs: Allen Mcgee: 9781571884039: Amazon.com: Books Tying & Fishing Soft-Hackled Nymphs: Allen Mcgee: 9781571884039: Amazon.com: Books

If one is going to tie a lot of soft hackle patterns, this is a good read and will enlighten the reader on the history of SH's , how to fish them, insects the different patterns imitate and how to use materials in their construction...

Allen's site is HERE:

Allen McGee's Riverfly Angler

...take a look...


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Old 12-15-2013, 12:22 PM
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Default Re: Thinning out soft hackle?

The "year of the spider" is not a book I would recommend for a new tyer who wants to learn about tying soft hackles. Not much info regarding soft hackle patterns

If you don't understand the terminology used back in 1885 regarding feathers, I also wouldn't recommend that book

I would recommend any book by Sylvester Nemes. Sylvester was the guru of soft hackles in the USA.
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Poor quality materials are destined to discourage beginner tiers and cause greater expense when the time comes to replace them.

YOUR way is not the ONLY way when tying flies!

Fly tyers can be masters of making things complicated!

You're only limited by lack of imagination. Be creative, experiment.

http://flytyingnewandold.blogspot.com/
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Old 12-15-2013, 12:28 PM
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Default Re: Thinning out soft hackle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flytire View Post
The year of the spider is not a book I would recommend for a new tyer who wants to learn about tying soft hackles. Not much info regarding soft hackle patterns
Its just ideas. Colors, size and materials. Flip side is the patterns are simple, only two to four ingredients usually. Of course as I am discovering simple and easy are two different animals.
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