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Soft Hackle | Wet Flies

Soft Hackle Flies & Wet Flies

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Wetfly

Soft Hackles flies and wetfly patterns are a fly pattern whose primary purpose is to represent the transitional stage of a mayfly nymph becoming a winged dun adult. A perfect example would be our Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail, Glass Bead fly. The soft hackle or wetfly pattern to replicate this is fished in the middle of the water column unlike nymph flies fished with on the bottom or a dun fished on the surface. There are various wet fly patterns to match the various mayflies on all your local waters, take our soft hackle flies that represent an emerging Baetis ( Soft Hackle, Baetis fly) for instance. Often soft hackle flies and wetfly patterns are fished in a traditional down and across swing. The soft hackle flies are cast down and across and aloud to swing through the water column until the discount flies are fished through the prime water and located directly downstream of the angler. This is a very similar fashion to swinging salmon and steelhead fly patterns, so if you are familiar with this style of fishing, swinging a wetfly should come easy to you. In addition, soft hackle flies can be fished dead drift style as you would with a nymph. If a fish is not picked up during the dead drift, you can allow the fly pattern to catch drag and swing up in the water column at the end of the drift. Fishing is this fashion will allow you to cover fish that are feeding both the on the bottom as well as on soft hackle flies that are starting to emerge.

Another time soft hackles are very effective is during caddis hatches, particularly when swung. In this case, both olive and tan nymph caddis fly patterns are a good choice as they mimic the common colors of caddis, although you should pick whatever color best matches the caddis on your local waters. Wet flies are also fished in a similar fashion but normally focused on an emerging mayfly. One of the most interesting parts of fishing theses styles of flies are the takes. As the dry fly is normally in motion the fish will often chase them down and the takes can be spectacular. At times, fish will often jump entirely out of the water when chasing on the swing. This can be some of the most enthusiastic takes you can witness. Another good pointer to keep in mind is often many fish are still taking the emerging patterns still under the water’s surface, even during a prolific dry fly hatch. A way to note what the fish are taking is to see if the fish are jumping out of the water with big splashy takes or sampling sipping from the surface. If you see splashy takes, try fishing a wetfly. If you see gentle sipping, try fishing a dry.