Gray Soft Hackle

A Mix of Classic and Modern

Give respect to the yard birds.  Most fly tyers know that good dry fly hackle is like art to behold, and there is so much time, effort, and history that goes into those hackles that it's kind of mind blowing to think about.  But what about the common hens that seem to be populating back yards across hipster-America? What about the yard birds? Well, Those feathers tie some of the most effective fly patterns out there - soft hackles.  The beauty of a soft hackle style fly is that you can tie them out of so many different types of feathers: chickens, partridge, grouse, starling, pheasant, etc etc...  I have personally been really fond of the 4B hen capes from Whiting Farms, and they have been dominating my soft hackle efforts.

This fly is really just a standard soft hackle that I added a bit of modern materials to.  The rib is made of Spanflex and the thorax is made of ice dub, but other than that, it's a pretty standard fly.  This one isn't as sparse as some people tie them (I tie those too), but I wanted to make a hackle with some depth, so watch the tie in and wrapping method used in this video (I learned it by watching Hans Weilenmann).

Technique:  You can throw this fly down and across like a traditional approach, or you can add it to a modern nymphing rig.  I really like to add it to an inline Euro rig and add some weight to the line if I need it to get down.  Another killer method is a greased leader so you can fish it in the surface film.

~ Cheech

Material List

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Hook: Daiichi 1530 - Heavy Wet Fly Hook - 12     
Thread: Danville Flat Waxed Nylon Thread - 70 Denier - Red     
Tail: Whiting Coq De Leon Rooster Cape - Light Pardo     
Body: Nature's Spirit Snowshoe Rabbit Foot Dubbing - Muskrat Gray     
Ribbing: Spanflex - Olive - Medium     
Thorax: Ice Dub - Olive Brown     
Hackle: Whiting 4B Hen Cape - Natural Medium Dun     

Other tools from the tutorial:
Loon Ergo All Purpose Scissors - 4"     
C&F Design Hackle Pliers