I tied a few soft hackle wet fly patterns for the coming season that utilise a dubbed thorax just behind the hackle. I have not tried this style of soft hackle on stillwater, but I am hopeful at least, that they will do well.
As part of my new ties for the coming season, I really wanted to experiment with a style of soft hackle that harks back to the patterns of old. I know soft hackle wet flies that we call flymphs work, and work well on the lochs that I fish. But what about this style of soft hackled wet fly? The dubbed thorax soft hackle is a style of fly that I think may work well on the lochs, particularly when a hatch is on or during windy conditions.
The fine thorax dubbing really has two purposes that come to mind immediately. The first is that it supports the soft and fine hackle, making it even more vulnerable to the effects of the water currents and wave movement. This can only be a good thing when seeking to add life and movement to a fly pattern. The second advantage of this fine dubbing used as a thorax, is that it will trap air bubbles within its fibres. This is also a good thing since it too, will give the impression of life in your patterns. As an insect pupa begins its ascent to the surface, they often contain gases under their shuck that help make the pupa float. Some diving insects too will bring a bubble of air down with them. When tied in the dubbing was teased out with some velcro to help it trap to air bubbles and generally to look more ‘buggy’.
It is the hackle however, as with most other soft hackle wet fly patterns, that perhaps does the most to give an impression of life. With the small selection of trial patterns that I tied, I used soft hen hackle tied sparsely. In some I stripped the fibres off one side of the feather before winding the hackle, but on each pattern the number of turns was the same: just one full turn. This will stop the fibres clumping together and creating a heavy ‘closed’ hackle. With sparseness of hackle comes increased movement. With increased movement in the hackle fibres, comes an overall increased impression of life.
To create the abdomen of these soft hackles I used the tying thread. I caught in the 8/0 thread at the eye of the hook and worked back towards the bend. I then returned the thread in touching wraps to the starting point, just behind the head. From there one more layer of thread back to the hook bend, and then a rib was formed using the same thread, stopping at the point where the thorax was dubbed using some dubbing wax on the thread and the touch dubbing technique to apply the dubbing.
Here are the soft hackle wet flies and their dressings.
I hope you enjoyed these soft hackle wet flies and thanks for reading.