Prior to the last two seasons, most of my successful soft hackle
fly use came in the mountain ponds of northern New England. All of
these ponds hosted a substantial population of caddisflies, and the
soft hackle patterns did a very good job of imitating the emerging
caddis. In the last two seasons I started to catch the trout in our
local kettle ponds of southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod during
the fall midge hatch.
This year, we didn't have the same level of midge induced feeding
activity, and our reliable adult midge patterns were not producing
as they had in past seasons. Eventually, out of frustration, we
tried some of our soft hackle patterns, and did much better than we
might have expected.
Soon all of our usual fishing crew started having the same
Yet, while the patterns we were using were certainly
producing good results, they did not seem to be imitative of the
midge pupa or emergers that we have observed during the many years
that we have been fishing the Chironomid hatch (midges).
innovation was the substitution for the traditional floss or dubbed
bodies with soft anodized copper wire of various colors. We noticed
that the most productive of these reminded us of a “Brassie” that
had a soft hackle. In any event, they did work, and it's hard to
argue with success. The slight increase in density helped the fly
get down in the water column where the trout did most of their
feeding a few inches below the surface.
is much the same as fishing any other
sunken pattern. In
lakes and ponds
I've been fishing this fall,
I generally fish with a nine foot
rod that throws either a four-weight of five-weight floating
weight-forward line. I normally use a ten to twelve foot hand tied
fluorocarbon leader with a 5-X or 6-X tippet. If I see a pod of
feeding trout, I will try to locate a trout that is cruising in a
specific direction and cast to a spot where I think he might rise
next. If you guess correctly, you can catch your share of trout.
that method isn't working, then I will cast to the center of the
feeding trout pod, and begin a slow, steady, twitching retrieve. In
this situation I am hoping that the trout's competitive instincts
will cause it to strike quickly. On those occasions when I can't
determine where the fish are feeding, I will position myself at a
point with a drop-off or calm cove that borders deeper water and
“fan-cast” in a methodical manner until I make contact with a fish.
If no fish strike, I will then move to a different area and begin my
systematic blind casting.
the soft hackle flies that I use go from size #12 to size #16 with
size #14 being the most often used size. These same sizes are
effective with the Soft Hackle Brassie.
If you have the opportunity
to experiment with this pattern,
give them a try. There are so many variations of wire and
I would be very interested to hear
your thoughts and learn about your results. Feel free to contact me
by email by clicking here: