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vicrider

From a North Country Spider swap

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Here's a group of flies from a fly swap on another board that some may find interesting. If the picture comes through good it can give ideas of what many of the guys who really do a lot of trout fishing like to swing on the stream. Many will run a brace or trace with a couple of different looks to hunt with. Some of them do upstream and strip back to themselves but most like me use a cross stream swing with a lift and drop a couple of times on the end of the swing.

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If anyone would like individual close up shots of any of the flies I have pics of each in sharp image. Just locate the fly of interest and I'll post it.

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They all appear a little heavily dressed for what I would consider a Northern Spider here in UK. The humpy in the pic, are they using that like a larger version of dry and nymph set up?

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Piker 20, I tend to agree with you on the heavier dressing and amount of wraps. For whatever reason most American soft hackles are overdressed compared to NCS original. I have tied many with just a half shank of silk thread and no more than two wraps of hackle. The one I tied for this swap is the purple and grouse with a small silver tag. If you look it is one of the sparser hackled flies. One of the flies is actually palmered and that definitely leaves the area of NCS but at the same time all of these flies will produce for us. Maybe you're more heavily fish chalk stream trout just can't handle the heavier dressed bodies and hackle but what I have shown is flies each of us fish with on a regular basis.

 

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Thanks for posting. Piker, would you consider posting some from the UK for comparison? This is very cool. I love fishing and tying soft hackles. Those are well done!

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Piker 20, I tend to agree with you on the heavier dressing and amount of wraps. For whatever reason most American soft hackles are overdressed compared to NCS original. I have tied many with just a half shank of silk thread and no more than two wraps of hackle

 

Many tiers remove one side of the fibers from the hackle along with no more than 2 turns to give the fly a really sparse look. I believe Lee Wulff was the guy who promoted the concept that more heavily dressed flies work better in American waters than the original UK style flies. That being said I tie them both sparse and full. I can't really say my local trout prefer one over the other-

 

I often fish them "English Style" short upstream cast, dead drift with no indicator. There is a great Oliver Edwards clip on youtube demonstrating the technique.

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There is an excellent book called Wet Flies by Dave Hughes which addresses this issue briefly. It may relate to the type of water being fished, or to the opinion of the angler as to whether a soft-hackle is an imitation or an attractor, and if so, whether it mimics an insect or a baitfish. In faster or more roiled water, a heavier dressing may have some advantages regarding visibility, but I prefer a lighter dressing - with longer hackles - in slower water where the movement of the fibers imparts more life to the fly. That said, both work, and it makes sense to have some options if you often fish a variety of water conditions.

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Like everything else, it depends on your interpretation of what a soft hackle fly is. Sure, it could be any fly that uses soft hackle (partridge, hen, other). What I always considered a "Soft Hackle" is no tail, thin body of thread, biot, quill, sparse dubbing, a dubbed thorax, and 2-3 turns of a soft hackle (usually grouse or hen hackle). Everything I've ever known is that it represents a mayfly nymph.

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