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Soft Hackle Streamer Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Soft Hackle Streamer
2X-long streamer hook (here a Lightning Strike SN1), size 8
Olive, 6/0 or 140 denier
Two strands of Pearl Krystal Flash
Speckled Salmon Coq de Leon Chickabou
Speckled Burnt Orange Coq de Leon soft-hackle feather
Tying thread
Burnt Orange Soft Hackle feather
You can experiment with different colors of soft hackle and Chickabou
Show / Hide Soft Hackle Streamer Transcript

Video Transcript:

This is a variation on Jack Gartside's Soft Hackle Streamer. I tie it using different techniques than Jack did but the end result is very similar. As good looking as the fly is in the vise, it's underwater where the magic really happens, nearly every fiber produces movement. With the exception of some pearl krystal flash, the entire fly is built with feathers from a Whiting Farms Soft Hackle with Chickabou Pelt. These pelts are available in a wide range of colors and include both soft hackle feathers as well as chickabou, which resembles marabou.

Here I'm going to use larger Coq de Leon pelts like the one on the left. It's a good bit bigger than the Brahma hen pelt on the right. The fibers on both types of feathers on the CDL pelt are longer and have courser markings.

For a hook a Lightning Strike SN1 in size 8 is a good choice. Start by mashing the barb and getting the hook firmly secured in your tying vise. My vise jaws have special grooves which allow them to hold larger hooks very firmly.

For thread, I've loaded a bobbin with a spool of 6/0 olive Danville. Start your thread on the hook shank behind the eye and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag. Snip two strands free from a hank of pearl krystal flash. Fold the strands around your tying thread at their halfway point and then relocate the strands to the top of the hook shank. While holding the krystal flash up at a slight angle, take thread wraps rearward to secure it to the top of the shank. Continue taking wraps all the way back to about the barb. Then advance your thread to above the hook point.

On this fly, I'm going to use feathers from two different Coq de Leon pelts. The brownish looking one is actually a color called speckled salmon while the other is speckled burnt orange.

Starting with the salmon pelt, flip it over skin side up and remove a single, well-formed chickabou plume. To prepare the plume for tie-in, locate where the stem drops in size and strip off all the lower fibers. Then reorient the plume so you're holding it just by the tip and pull the lower fibers down with your left hand and give them a good pinch.

Next reach in with your tying scissors and snip the delicate tip off. You should be left with something that looks like this. While maintaining your grip, place the feather on the near side of the hook and take thread wraps to secure it. By securing the stem and a few fibers, the plume is less likely to break at the tie-in point. Advance your thread about 1/4" up the hook shank.

With your hackle pliers, get hold of the bare stem and sweep the fibers rearward with your left hand. Wrap the plume around the shank pulling the fibers rearward as you go. Try to keep them from becoming trapped in the hook bend. The wraps don't need to be touching, more of an open spiral is all that's needed. Keep making wraps until you reach the bare stem and secure it with a few tight wraps of tying thread. You can then snip the butt end of the stem off close. Take a few more thread wraps to absolutely lock everything in place.

Now we're going to repeat the feather prep, tie-in and wrapping procedure several more times to fill all but the last little bit of the hook shank. At some time during the process, you can also pull the krystal flash tail straight back and snip it off leaving about 1/4" extending beyond the tips of the chickabou fibers.

Select a single soft hackle feather. Here, I'm going to use the burnt orange for contrast. Strip the lower fuzzy fibers away from either side of the stem and then get hold of the feather's tip with the thumb and index finger of your right hand and pull down about 1/2" of the fibers toward the base of the stem. We're going to snip the tip off a little differently to leave a small triangle as a tie-in anchor. Lay the anchor against the near side of the hook and take wraps first around the bare stem and then down over top of the anchor. Get hold of the soft hackle stem with hackle pliers and fold the fibers together rearward. You can then begin wrapping the soft hackle to form a collar. Keep preening the fibers rearward as you do this. When you reach bare stem, tie it off well with tight wraps of tying thread. Next, reach in with the tips of your tying scissors and snip the excess stem off close. Take a few more thread wraps rearward to keep the soft hackle slanted back. Then, secure the thread with a 5 or 6 turn whip finish. When you're done, seat the knot well and snip or cut your tying thread free.

A drop or two of head cement adds to the look of the fly and helps to increase durability. You can mix and match colors of Coq de Leon to vary the look of the pattern. This soft hackle streamer is just one more example of Mr. Gartside's brilliance at the tying bench