With the proliferation of detailed get up off the table and walk fly patterns suggestive patterns appear to have fallen out of the limelight. However, when it comes to hooking fish there is little doubt that suggestive patterns coupled with proper presentation techniques remain a lethal combination. One of my personal favorites in the suggestive genre for stillwaters are simple soft hackle patterns. When trout are sipping chironomid, mayfly and caddis emergers and adults a sparse soft hackle crept through the surface film works wonders. Give this tactic a try the next time trout are sipping and gulping at the surface.
From a tying perspective soft hackle patterns are a simple endeavor with one twist. How does the fly tier construct proportioned soft hackles in smaller sizes from size 12 and down? Using common soft hackle feathers such as grouse, partridge and hen saddle fly tiers soon discover limitations due to pattern size as winding the feathers in the traditional manner results in patterns with an oversized spider-like appearance. Unless someone has access to rare dwarfed partridge grouse or other suitable bird for a supply of tiny soft hackle patterns fly tying technique and trickery has to take over. Enter the paint brush collar.
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