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Tiny Soft-Hackle Flies
By AK Best

We've known for quite some time that soft-hackle wet flies are very effective almost anytime we go fishing. Most of the soft-hackle wet flies I've seen in fly shops and in some of my friends' fly boxes are no smaller than #14 because in nearly every case the fly recipe calls for one or two turns of partridge hackle. Size 16 and smaller partridge hackle is very difficult to come by, so tyers limit themselves to the size of fly they can tie by the size of the hackle that is available.

No law states that you must use partridge hackle to tie soft-hackle flies. Look around in your local fly shop or browse the Web, and you'll be able to find some barred hen necks and backs with feathers down to #16 and 18 that are nicely webbed right out to the hackle tips. These feathers make wonderful soft-hackle collars and are available in the right colors. Another alternative would be to purchase a light grizzly hen neck and dye it to a light shade of brown or tan... ~ A. K. Best

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