Weighted soft hackles

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taylor16
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Weighted soft hackles

Post by taylor16 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:20 pm

Went fishing today and didn't have any success with spiders. Landed a good number of trout with heavily weighted nymphs and streamers along the sides and undercuts of lunker structures. It was a cold day, around low to mid 30s F with zero surface activity. Question is, how can spiders/soft hackles still part their "magic" if tied with underwire or with a bead or tungsten head in quick and deeper waters?
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letumgo
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Re: Weighted soft hackles

Post by letumgo » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:03 pm

I have often had the same challenge in spring conditions. I have had success with a few different approaches:

Oversizing soft hackle flies (tying on heavier hooks - up to size 4 - and making sure the dressings are very slender, to allow the flies to sink quickly).

Changing my casting/presentation to make sure the fly is cast well upstream of the fishes holding water. I then mend the line several times, letting the fly sink as deeply as possible. I generally fish with fluorocarbon leader and tippit, which slices thru the water column more quickly than mono.

When necessary, I switch to weighted versions of the patterns. I have had great luck with bead head versions of gold-ribbed hares ears, soft hackle pheasant tail nymphs, and a pattern called a Raccoon (Skip Morris pattern).

I look forward to learning what others add.

Welcome to the forum, Taylor.
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DUBBN

Re: Weighted soft hackles

Post by DUBBN » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:13 pm

Taylor, do not be afraid to take your Spiders, and Soft Hackles and treating them like a nymph. I regularly fish my Soft Hackles with weight (split shot), and sometimes under an indicator. It may surprise you how well your patterns will do when you fish them as a nymph.

Caddis season is just around the corner for me on my rivers. I feel this is where my Flymphs come into their own. I will fish them from top to bottom. Sometimes with weight sometimes with out. After the rivers have subsided from runoff is when I will start throwing the patterns down and across, and trying to take fish on the swing. Until then, most all presentations are dead drifted.

These are the tactics I use. I hope they work for you, if you decide to try them.


Wayne
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taylor16
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Re: Weighted soft hackles

Post by taylor16 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:41 pm

With respect to adding weight, is it more effective to tie wire into the body or add a beadhead to the front?
Mike Connor

Re: Weighted soft hackles

Post by Mike Connor » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:50 pm

taylor16 wrote:With respect to adding weight, is it more effective to tie wire into the body or add a beadhead to the front?
Both will work, adding bead heads to various flies can make them very effective fish catchers, However, you should be aware that none of these flies were ever designed for that usage.

The vast majority of spiders were designed for surface or slight subsurface fishing under very specific conditions. If you add weight they will no longer work for that.

Stewart style spiders for instance were designed for upstream fishing in low clear water, they wont work as well, or often not at all, when used in any other manner.

You can add bead heads if you want to and they will work, bead head flies can be very successful indeed in terms of catching fish but then you no longer have a spider you have a bead head nymph basically.

In terms of effectiveness the bead head seems to be generally more effective than adding lead etc to the body.
Last edited by Mike Connor on Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Weighted soft hackles

Post by hankaye » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:51 pm

taylor16, Howdy;

I noticed that you are from NE Iowa... What is your target species of fish?
I will have some bearing upon what and how you wish to attack the critters.
It will also (?), have something to do with how you rig up for your fish-de-jour.
Welcome to the forum and please, ... don't stop asking questions.

hank
Striving for a less complicated life since 1949...
"Every day I beat my own previous record for number
of consecutive days I've stayed alive." George Carlin
DUBBN

Re: Weighted soft hackles

Post by DUBBN » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:54 pm

taylor16 wrote:With respect to adding weight, is it more effective to tie wire into the body or add a beadhead to the front?

I don't do either (normally), so others will have to answer that. I am sure that they will. :)
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taylor16
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Re: Weighted soft hackles

Post by taylor16 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:06 pm

hankaye wrote:taylor16, Howdy;

I noticed that you are from NE Iowa... What is your target species of fish?
I will have some bearing upon what and how you wish to attack the critters.
It will also (?), have something to do with how you rig up for your fish-de-jour.
Welcome to the forum and please, ... don't stop asking questions.

hank
I fish for trout. I was hoping to really get some trout on a spider today but my friend was catching native browns like they were going out of style with a indicator-less nymph (pink squirrel) so I "had" to get in the mix. Just wanted to know what one could do to get the spiders deeper than their typical shallow or mid-level depth. I guess with the cold temperatures today, success was to be had deep.
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Re: Weighted soft hackles

Post by letumgo » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:13 pm

I like to use a tungsten bead head to the front of the fly, since it makes the fly front heavy, causing the fly to dive quickly vertically to the bottom. If I want the fly to descend horizontally, I will then weight the shank with wire wraps. Both work, and both change the behavior of the fly. The added mass makes the fly less responsive to the current. If you are imitating a small insect, the weighted fly will not behave the same as a lightly dressed fly.

I understand this, and yet still like the way a front-weighted fly fishes. The fly tends to wobble along the bottom, bead head down, with the tail wiggling back and forth above the bottom. Very seductive to the fish in my local waters.
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Mike Connor

Re: Weighted soft hackles

Post by Mike Connor » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:28 pm

taylor16 wrote:
hankaye wrote:taylor16, Howdy;

I noticed that you are from NE Iowa... What is your target species of fish?
I will have some bearing upon what and how you wish to attack the critters.
It will also (?), have something to do with how you rig up for your fish-de-jour.
Welcome to the forum and please, ... don't stop asking questions.

hank
I fish for trout. I was hoping to really get some trout on a spider today but my friend was catching native browns like they were going out of style with a indicator-less nymph (pink squirrel) so I "had" to get in the mix. Just wanted to know what one could do to get the spiders deeper than their typical shallow or mid-level depth. I guess with the cold temperatures today, success was to be had deep.
Fishing small imitative flies like spiders is one of the most difficult ways to fish, and there are many circumstances where it will not work well, or at all. Fishing bead heads and similar, or indicator nymphing, is a fairly easy way to fish, works more or less any time and is invariably successful.

What you fish with depends on quite a few factors. Many people like the challenge of fishing small imitative flies but it takes quite a while to learn enough to be successful, and even then it wont always work.

If you just want to catch fish then bead heads and indicator nymphing is the easiest and quickest way to do it consistently. If you want to catch fish on spiders and similar, then you need to know a lot more about them, and you also need the right circumstances for them to be successful.

If you add weight to various things they will often catch fish, especially bead-heads. But that is not the philosophy behind spider fishing. It doesn't matter what you do as long as you enjoy it but in order to do some things it takes a lot of time and application.
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