Not Just for February
Like so many other soft hackle wet flies, there are a few variations of the February Red out there. It is just under four weeks to the start of the brown trout season which starts here on March 15. Being the middle of February, its seemed appropriate to preview the February Red soft hackle.
The February Red was originally tied as a stonefly pattern but I think it should do quite well during a hatch of midges too. The red thread body and head may help suggest the natural insect’s haemoglobin which flushes through the body of some chironomid species prior to hatching. By creating a fine, loosely dubbed thorax, the thread will show through the dubbing when the fly is wet adding to its attraction in the water. The February Red may also prove to be a useful general searching pattern too. I think this soft hackle wet fly is calling out to be drifted just subsurface.
In my version of the February Red I have chosen to include a thorax and I used Hareline mahogany microfine dryfly dubbing. I didn’t have any suitable grouse hackle, so I substituted a brown mottled hen hackle instead. The thread was red 8/0 uni rather than the scarlet pearsalls silk that is often called for. The hook was a #12 Kamasan B410. Tying the fly was simple: catch in the thread at the eye and bring it towards the bend of the hook, then bring it back up to the thorax area in open turns to rib the fly. Touch-dub a small amount of dark brown dubbing to create the thorax. Tie in your hackle and give it just enough turns to create an even but sparse hackle. Whip finish and add a spot of varnish.