Olive Hare's Ear
Thorax Soft Hackle
by Allen McGee

Previous Flies
Fly Tying Terms

Standard Soft-Hackle Technique

This is my favorite method for size 10-18 soft hackle collars. The advantages to this method are quick feather preparation and ease of hackling since the pliable stem tip is wound around the hook shank. Tying in the feather by the tip permits you to wind the more flexible part of the stem around the hook which is particularly helpful in tying smaller flies. By not stripping the feather barbs you have more fibers of the same length in the hackle wrap. You quite often only need to make one turn of the feather to get a properly hackled collar.


    Hook: Mustad 3906B, size 14 .

    Thread: Brown 6/0

    Ribbing: Gold wire.

    Abdomen: Olive hare's ear dubbing.

    Thorax: Gold bead 1/8"

    Hackle: Brown partridge from wing shoulder.

1. Place bead on hook. It may be necessary to de-barb the hook at this point or even bend the hook gape open to get the bead on. Bend the hook back into position with forceps after the bead is on the hook. Then place the hook in the vise.

2. Attach the thread at the location where the bead thorax will be. Wrap the thread back to the bend while securing the gold wire ribbing. Apply wax to the thread.

3. Direct dub or use the incorporated dubbing loop to form the body.

4. Wind the abdomen forward and tie off. Then counter-wrap the gold wire and tie off. Wrapping the wire builds a base to hold the bead in place and also to add extra weight to help the fly sink. Make a whip finish and cement the thread. Trim the thread close. Slide the bead over the thread base. The bead should fit snuggly over the thread wraps.

5. Prepare a partridge marginal covert feather for a tip tie-in. The feather for this pattern comes from the shoulder of the partridge wing.

6. Re-attach the thread to the hook in front of the bead. Tie in the prepared partridge feather with three wraps while holding the feather at a 90 degree angle to the hook shank. Wrap the feather around the hook once or twice to achieve the desired hackle density.

7. Tie the feather off. Clip the remaining stem and form a neat thread head. Whip finish and apply head cement.

8. Take a bodkin and pick out some of the fur fibers from the body to give the fly a more lifelike appearance.

~ Allen McGee

Credit: The Olive Hare's Ear is an excerpt from Tying and Fishing Soft-Hackled Nymphs by Allen McGee, published the Frank Amato Publishing, Portland Oregon.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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