The Magic Dun Soft Hackle
Curtis Fry- May, 2019
The Baetis, or Blue Wing Olive, hatch out here in the west is a pretty big deal so we tend to stock up on as many good patterns as we can. One of the patterns that, in my opinion, you never want to be without is a good soft hackle pattern. I've had great success with them before, during and after the main hatch, so never discount the value of a good soft hackle pattern. I've even gone as far as drowning my normal dry flies in order to get a good soft hackle pattern when I'm lacking anything else. The Magic Dun Soft Hackle makes use of a couple of newer materials we've gotten our grubby mitts on and is a variation of a dun soft hackle pattern my buddies and I have used on the Green River in Utah for years. The first material here is a limited run of these small Bantam hen capes & saddles from Whiting. The feathers are uber-soft and long enough, even in small sizes, to tie up some killer soft hackles. The saddles make for bigger soft hackles and even bugger patterns. And like their dry fly equivalents, saddles are more consistent in size across the board. Whiting Bantam Hen Cape Bantam Hen Saddle The other material is what I consider one of my favorite new materials in the past year or so: Magic Quills. They're distributed by Hareline and come from Gaga Flies (Dragoslav Mihajlović) out of Serbia. Similar to some of the other synthetic quills, these are sticky-backed and printed on a vinyl sort of material. The cool thing about these is that they are progressively transparent so that the quill "band" shows nicely while maintaining the color underneath. So if you want a red highlight, you can use red thread or tinsel underneath. In this pattern, we use gray to match our local Baetis hatch. But feel free to mix and match to hit any sort of drake, PMD, Sulphur or other mayfly color you feel like. These Bantam feathers can tie all sizes and the natural dun color gives a great all-around mayfly wing color imitation.