Beginner’s Fly Tying: Soft Hackle Wet Fly

Our PVFF Beginner Fly Tying program for February 2023 will reintroduce basic steps for ‘tying soft hackle wet flies’. For those unfamiliar with the term ‘wet flies’, these are artificial flies tied to represent the immature form of several of the major classes of fresh water ‘invertebrate’ insects; e.g. mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies. Traditionally, the wing materials of a ‘wet fly’ came from wing feathers of a chicken, turkey, goose, etc. And while these feathers closely imitated the immature wings (or wing casing) of an aquatic insect, the resultant fly pattern was often described as stoic (i.e., lacking life-like qualities).

The advent of using much softer materials to represent the wings of an emerging insect began nearly 500 years ago in a treatise written by Dame Juliana Berner. However, it was Sylvester Nemes, and several of his contemporaries who are generally credited with introduction of the ‘soft hackle wet fly’ in America.

Our next Beginner Fly Tying session will be held at 7:00 PM, on February 21st, at Trinity United Methodist Church. Don’t let the complacency and chill of the winter detract you from the warmth and camaraderie of our upcoming February fly tying gathering. That evening we will tie two of my favorite soft hackle patterns; the partridge and yellow and partridge and herl. See you then.

By Don Fine