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Wrapping Soft Hackle

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Video Transcript:

The procedure for wrapping a soft hackle feather is pretty much the same whether you’re using hen hackle or another feather, like Hungarian partridge.

Complete the rear portion of the fly, leaving your thread an eye length’s space behind the eye. Select a single, well-marked feather and pull it from the skin. With the lower fuzzy fibers pulled down, the remaining fibers should be about a full hook in length.

Prep the feather by stripping away all the lower fuzzy stuff and a fair portion of the other fibers as well. Get hold of the feather’s tip with your right hand and gently stroke the remaining fibers down. Snip the excess tip off leaving a small triangular-shaped tie-in anchor. Secure the anchor to the near side of the hook. Get hold of the bare stem with hackle pliers and fold the fibers rearward by bending the stem through the fingertips of your left hand. With the fibers swept back, start taking touching wraps forward with the feather – 1 1/2-2 turns are all you really need. Secure the stem and finish the head of the fly as normal.

The key to soft hackles is to keep them sparse. In most cases, no more than two dozen fibers should encircle the hook shank.