Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Modern Soft-Hackle Archive ~ Win a Book

Upper Columbia Flyfisher ~ Steven Bird
Indigenous Soft-Hackle Flies   

   I don’t believe the old saw ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ to be precisely true. As regards fly design, it is true that those who came before us were no less canny & did a pretty thorough job of covering nearly everything. More than once I’ve come up with a pattern I thought I’d invented, only to learn later somebody already tied it 100 years ago & nearly everybody in Britain ties & fishes it.

The stream & its trout often point us in the same direction.

For that reason, I’ve gotten into the habit of seldom naming flies, unless I’m fairly certain I have an original design, & even then I might just stick with giving the two main ingredients as the name, just to be on the safe side. In no case would I name one after myself. Not for lack of hubris, more out of caution, call it a superstitious fear of jinxing the pattern, if you like.

Nor would I give a fly a kinky sex name. Not a prude, but ladies & kids do use these things. ‘Sex Dungeon’? ‘Butt Monkey’? What is Kelly Galloup thinking?

“Think I’ll tie up a dozen Butt Monkeys & a few Sex Dungeons.”


Anyway. Getting to the point: Though most (certainly not all) of the flies featured in SHJ are my own designs, or ones I think are mine, I’d like to create an archive of the modern soft-hackle designs tied by SHJ readers. This journal averages over 100 readers a day, so I suspect there’s a lot out there. We’re all familiar with the flies designed by famous guys, but what about the great flies tied & fished by canny anglers who don’t write about it? So my idea is to have a contest of sorts. No, not a judged contest. I’m not a trout, so not qualified to judge. That we might approximate trouty behavior, we'll pick the winning presentations by seemingly random chance.  

Here’s how we’ll do it:

Email me a photo of a soft-hackle wetfly (hackle tied in-the-round) of your own design. No beadheads or fanciful experimental patterns, please. (Imagine beadheads on em if you like.) Share a pattern that you consider tried & true. Can be your personal variant of an established pattern. Wings?… let’s draw the line at half-wing patterns & leave full winged wets out of it. Along with the photo, include your name, a few lines about the fly, & a material recipe for the fly – no need for detailed tying instructions, just the recipe. Yes, you may present as many patterns as you feel worthwhile.                  

I’ll create a page, post it in the right-hand column, & keep it running, adding new entries as they come in. Then, on June 1st 2016, I’ll write the name of each presenter onto slips of paper & drop them into a hat (got a topper for the purpose), then have my lovely assistant choose two. 

The winners will be awarded signed, hard cover, limited edition copies of my book, Upper Columbia Flyfisher (Amato Books). (Destined to be a cult classic.)

Put ‘SHJ Fly’ & your name on the title line of your entry. Email entries or questions to: columbiatrout@sbcglobal.net 

Looking forward to seeing the great patterns we’ve never heard of. After the drawing, we'll leave the Modern Soft-Hackle archive page as a permanent reference. If we get a lot of entries, this could be an amazing, unique reference. 

The Archive is located beneath this post, or can be accessed through the link located at the top of the right-hand column. Click on the photos for an enlarged view. 

1 comment:

  1. Great idea! I was looking at pattern books last night - need a starling - and was thinking I'd love to see what early season wets are favored by others. I have the soft hackle hare's ear but who knows what others are using. Maybe wet BWO? Would love this.

    Thanks Steve.