Soft Hackles

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DUBBN
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Soft Hackles

Post by DUBBN » Thu Sep 15, 2022 8:19 pm

Starting in early Spring and continuing through this late Summer, I have been delving into the dark world of Euro Nymphing. I have always nymphed in a Euro type fashion, but I wanted to explore the actual "Euro" type of nymphing. Changing flies from hole to hole and run to run is a pain in the a$$, but it can be productive. Getting the correct weight, to match the stream flow and depth can be confusing at first, but it gets easier with experience.

One of the hardest things to master, for me, was casting a couple weighted pellet type flies with a 15 to 20 foot 4X leader.For the longest time I could only cast two flies at a time. If I tried to add a third, I would end up in a terrible Mono/Fluoro mess. A little experience and 20 YouTube videos and I have that corrected.

I learned the dropper fly did not need to be a weighted Euro nymph. My standard nymphs do a great job as well. So, standard PT's, Hares Ears, Baetis nymphs, Caddis larva, along with unweighted Perdigons ended up being my dropper patterns.

In time, with deep enough water, I learned I can add a third pattern. It takes disciplined casting, but I am able to do it. No big deal. Thousands of other people can do it too.

I have been nymph fishing for probably 50 years. It is my prefered method to take trout. With or without a strike indicator (bobber). In all that time I have always used soft hackles/spiders/flymphs somewhere in my nymphing setups. They are such versatile patterns.

I chose a little size 16 Hares Ear, March Brown type soft hackle as the pattern that would round out the three fly rig. It got its fair share of trout right off the bat. The Brown Hackle Peacock (Red Tag) is another good one, along with the Partridge and Yellow.

When swinging soft hackles or nymphing them, I always found the Partridge and Orange a dissapointment. It works, just not nearly as well as the hype says it does. That opinion has gone out the window. I have really done well with it. In a size 16 it is fast becoming a confidence pattern.

In almost every facet of my fly fishing, soft hackles seem to help me out. Euro Nymphing is no different.
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letumgo
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Re: Soft Hackles

Post by letumgo » Thu Sep 15, 2022 9:05 pm

Wayne,

I really enjoyed reading you post, and hearing about your fishing experience. Are you still doing this on float trips, or from streamside? Did you need to change rods with the Euro setup, or are you still using the same rod as before?
Ray (letumgo)----<°))))))><
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DUBBN
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Re: Soft Hackles

Post by DUBBN » Thu Sep 15, 2022 9:35 pm

letumgo wrote: Thu Sep 15, 2022 9:05 pm Wayne,

I really enjoyed reading you post, and hearing about your fishing experience. Are you still doing this on float trips, or from streamside? Did you need to change rods with the Euro setup, or are you still using the same rod as before?

I bought a couple low end Nymphing rods over the years. Both are Syndacite 3wts. One is an 11 footer, the other is a 10 footer. I only take one at a time when wade fishing. I do however have 2, 3weight reels, I carry. One is set up for Euro, the other is setup with a 4 weight , weight forward line. I nymph upstream, and swing softhackles on the way back.

My Watermaster raft is in the hospital for a month longer, so unless I am floating in a buddies raft, its all wade fishing.
DUBBN
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Re: Soft Hackles

Post by DUBBN » Fri Sep 16, 2022 7:40 am

Do any other members of this forum find Soft Hackles so versatile?
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Ron Eagle Elk
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Re: Soft Hackles

Post by Ron Eagle Elk » Fri Sep 16, 2022 9:38 am

DUBBN wrote: Fri Sep 16, 2022 7:40 am Do any other members of this forum find Soft Hackles so versatile?
Indeed, I do. When all else fails, a soft hackle usually saves the day and keeps the skunk away.
"A man may smile and bid you hale yet curse you to the devil, but when a good dog wags his tail he is always on the level"
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ronr
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Re: Soft Hackles

Post by ronr » Fri Sep 16, 2022 10:14 am

One of the reasons I like soft hackles so much is their versatility. A lot has been written about what they imitate, cripples, emergers, and when treated as dry flies. I too have found myself tight line nymphing when the water calls for it. I don't really enjoy the 4x mono rig so much and found that 10#mono seems to do just fine. But, the stream bottom on the Crooked can at times be slime covered and very uneven which making bottom bumping with a heavy bead head tough to manage. Sorry, not a discussion of mono rigs.
I almost always include a soft hackle as part of a two or three fly rig. Especially, when I use the drop shot method for the anchor. Then an unweighted pheasant tail and a soft hackle make a great combo for me.

Swinging soft hackles has also encouraged me to nymph with no indicator and will put both a soft hackle and a lightly weighted nymph together and fish them up and across or down and across....
DUBBN
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Re: Soft Hackles

Post by DUBBN » Fri Sep 16, 2022 10:28 am

ronr wrote: Fri Sep 16, 2022 10:14 am Especially, when I use the drop shot method for the anchor. Then an unweighted pheasant tail and a soft hackle make a great combo for me.

The moss is finally starting to subside on the Gunnison, and Colorado Rivers. The Drop Shot method saved my bacon a couple times.

Thank you for the input. This was the type of information I was 'fishing' for. 🙂🙂
DUBBN
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Re: Soft Hackles

Post by DUBBN » Sat Sep 17, 2022 3:45 pm

Yesterday afternoon I Euro nymphed a 100 yard section of the Gunnison River for two hours. I caught one Brown trout. Ugh! :oops:

The last 2 hours before sunset I fished that section, and an adjoining section. With Soft hackles! On the swing. Conservative guess would be 35 fish. Ugh

Lesson learned? The more I Euro the harder it is to catch fish :evil: . Plus, swinging Soft Hackles is so darn fun!
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Re: Soft Hackles

Post by Johnno » Sun Sep 18, 2022 4:55 am

I’ve started Euro fishing this past southern winter…. Did alright
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jcwillow777
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Re: Soft Hackles

Post by jcwillow777 » Sun Sep 18, 2022 6:29 am

Swinging soft hackles is too much fun! I really haven't tried Euro nymphing very much, simply because I have really good success with soft hackles. My go to is an Orange Partridge.

I started fishing a 3 fly team this year. Orange Partridge, Tups Indispensible Flymph and a Greenwell Spider, in that order. The first part of the season I swapped out the Tups with a Leisenring Spider.

The first 5 years I fished soft hackles I fished 2 flies. I tried 3, but I used to get to many tangles with 3. I spent more time untangling than fishing! 😡 So, I went back to 2 flies. I did great this year with a 3 fly rig, with very few tangled messes. I had a few, usually on windy days.

I'm fairly new to soft hackles, 6th year, but I am loving fishing them. Since I started swinging soft hackles, the only dry fly I have used is a Trico, and I changed that pattern this year to a Trico Emerger. (Kelly Galloup pattern, but i use a 20 scud hook.) It worked really well for me. Soft and wet for me all the way. It's just too much fun!
Greg
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