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Technique question- soft hackles and weighted line


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28 replies to this topic

#1 DFoster

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 10:50 AM

When fishing moving water (rivers) does anyone add split shot when fishing soft hackles?  I fish them in the traditional way, swung or dead drift on unweighted line in shallow moving water.  They usually sit in or just below the surface film. I am wondering if they can be effective in the deeper pools with the addition of weight on the line? 

 

Thanks!


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#2 Flicted

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 12:25 PM

I never weight my soft hackles themselves (bead or lead).  But I do like to fish a weighted nymph along with a soft hackle. 



#3 tjm

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 02:11 PM

I've probably fished them every way that a fly can be fished except with a bobber. I'd rather put the lead under the mid  body, because of balance, don't like beadheads and if using shot prefer it on a dropper.

I like to give them some retrieve action under water, pulse, or lift, or lift and drop.  I tend to fish most flies as though they were worms.



#4 flyty1

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 05:10 PM

I would either weight the soft hackle (under the body) or add a bead as a thorax instead of dubbing a thorax. My most productive times fishing soft hackles are imitating emergers - so, they can be productive anywhere from the bottom to just under the surface film.

#5 utyer

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 09:19 PM

NEVER.  I have always considered soft hackles as an emerging pattern.  As such I find they work much too well just under the surface.  If I want to go deep, I will use something else.  


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#6 redietz

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Posted 24 April 2019 - 10:20 PM

NEVER.  I have always considered soft hackles as an emerging pattern.  As such I find they work much too well just under the surface.  If I want to go deep, I will use something else.  

What he said!

 

If need think I might need weight, it's time to switch to a streamer.


Bob


#7 DFoster

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 07:25 AM

Thanks for the replies all!


And you thought golf was frustrating-


#8 WJG

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 02:01 PM

DF, try fishing them un-weighted, upstream in flowing water also.  More work maintaining contact, but very effective.



#9 tjm

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 02:36 PM

Almost always I fish streamers near the surface, do minnows crawl the bottom? Maybe, idk, but I always see some at the surface.

 

I consider soft hackles as fuzzy nymphs suggestive of many different insects at many different stages, they are suggestive rather than imitative and a blurry suggestion that might be anything or not. Fished near the surface with strip retrieve, I think they may be suggestive of small fry, are  they streamers?   Are the soft hackles slim hard bodies, or dubbed soft body, long hackle or relatively short, heavily or sparsely dressed, there endless ways to vary both the tie and the presentation. Always and never are too restrictive.



#10 xvigauge

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 08:38 PM

Yes, I do. If you don't add weight to any wet fly or nymph when fishing here in the Tennessee Smokies, you will not catch many fish. Your fly has to be bumping on the bottom for consistent success. Most fly fishers here use small split shot, as many as may be needed, to get the fly down. Fishing here is different than just about any place else in the country. I know there are some here who won't believe me, but it is true. I know from first hand experience.

Joe



#11 Charlie P. (NY)

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 09:08 PM

I normally add lead to my flies if I want a deeper pattern.  Use red thread for the weighted and other colors for the non if you want options.

 

I also use sinking lines or heads to get deeper rather than weights on the line.  I find split-shot makes the line "hinge" when casting and messes up the presentation.  Not to mention erratic fly flight that may gain you a fuzzy ear-ring at inopportune times.


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#12 xvigauge

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Posted 25 April 2019 - 10:17 PM

I never experienced problems like you describe, Charlie. But the reason might be that here in the Smokies, we don't "cast" our lines, we "toss" them. In most spots where I fish, you could not traditionally cast if you wanted to. We are usually talking in feet here and not yards, for example. We just toss the line up stream and keep a fairly taught line while it all drifts downstream. Just before the business end starts to drag, we toss it again. It works for me and most other locals here, but not necessarily for anyone else.

Joe



#13 spiralspey

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 01:51 AM

I have always tied most of my soft hackles with bead heads. I do this because a lot of the good swinging water in the rivers I fish is pretty swift. If you swing an unweighted fly in these places it'll wake in the surface film, something I don't like. A bead makes the fly heavy enough to ride just below the surface on the swing, right where I want it.

#14 heavynets

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Posted 26 April 2019 - 12:07 PM

I usually fish a soft hackle behind a streamer.  I caught my biggest trout on a soft hackle fished 24" behind a white woolly bugger being stripped.  I also fit them under an indicator with both the drop-shot method and conventionally.



#15 j8000

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Posted 27 April 2019 - 10:26 PM

I believe fishing wet flies traditionally, a non floating line was generally used. Personally if I'm fishing a stream, use a light floating line with an 8 ft. Leader. If I want it to go deeper (and sometimes I do) I will have a weighted dropper fly, such as a copper John to help take down the wet fly.

Jeff