A Little Tan SpiderFollowing on from the previous post below, this simple thread-bodied soft hackle wet fly, utilises a hackle of golden-olive dyed speckled hen. I mentioned in my previous post that although flymphs work well for me in stillwater situations, that I am really excited to see how this style of soft hackle wet fly will perform. They have a historic look to them and I can imagine the fly anglers of the 19th and early 20th centuries using not too dissimilar spider patterns. Certainly the materials were readily available to them. Some tying thread, a pinch of grey rabbit fur and a soft hen hackle were all accessible in those days, just as they are today. Whether they would have had access to a dyed golden-olive hackle in those days I’m not sure, but I imagine they very well may have, especially during the early part of the 20th Century. Today, the short material list and the readily available materials for tying soft hackle wet flies, makes this style of pattern a fantastic option for those just starting out tying their own flies or to those beginning fly fishing looking to catch their first trout using a fly they themselves have tied.
The colouration of this soft hackle wet fly lends itself to a pattern to try when the trout seem preoccupied with olive coloured naturals. As always when tying soft hackle wet flies proportion and simplicity is the key to an effective pattern. The abdomen takes up roughly 2/3 of the body area, with the thorax the remaining 1/3. The soft hen hackle was a single turn of feather, however you may need two depending on the feather. The hackle fibres are roughly the same length as the body and thorax section. The thorax helps prevent the hackle fibres folding back over the body and holds them in a more upright position to the hook shank, allowing the hackle to be more easily influenced by the water current. You want a hackle fully wound round the hook shank, but it needs to be sparse. This sparseness in conjunction with the thorax and softness of the hackle will really make the hackle fibres move and pulsate with the action of the water current and any movement you impart into the fly when fishing it.
To tie this soft hackle wet fly you will need: some tan 8/0 thread, some grey rabbit fur and a golden-olive mottled hen hackle. I used a soft saddle hackle in the fly shown and the hook is a Kamasan B410 size 12. Start the thread just behind the eye and bring it down the shank to just behind the point. Rib the abdomen section using the thread and touch-dub a pinch of grey rabbit fur, increasing the amount to form the thorax area. Remember the 2/3 and 1/3 proportion mentioned above. At this stage you can brush out the thorax area with an old toothbrush or some velcro just to increase its ‘bugginess’ look. This also helps to trap air bubbles in the thorax area. Select your hackle. You are looking for a hackle which has a fibre length the same as the length of the thorax and body. You can measure the fibres closest to the tip of the feather, using the hook shank as a guide to make sure you select a feather with the correct length of fibre. Stroke back the fibres of the hackle and tie it in by the tip, just a you would a partridge feather. Add a turn (or two) of the hackle round the hook shank, tie it off and whip finish. A drop of varnish to the head of the fly completes this golden-olive soft hackle wet fly.