Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

What is known as the Soft Hackle Streamer is a Jack Gartside creation of some 25 years ago.  A prominent fly tyer and innovator, Gartside created the traditional Gartside Soft Hackle Streamer as a simple concoction of marabou and mallard flank feathers.  The original uses a solid colored marabou with a few turns of barred mallard flank to add some mottling to the front of the fly.  A few strands of tinsel were added for some flash.  Of course it is the seductive nature of soft hackle type feathers that make this style of fly a productive streamer.  Even using the Gartside formula, it can be tied with just about any color combination you want.  What’s different today are some newer materials that adapt brilliantly to the Soft Hackle Streamer design.

Whenever it was introduced, Barred Marabou created opportunities to add more realistic contrasts to streamer type flies.  It is now a common addition to Woolly Bugger tails and a variety of saltwater patterns.  The introduction of finely barred marabou by Hareline and Montana Fly has provided a material perfectly suited for the Soft Hackle Streamer design.  Add on Fish Masks and eyes by Flymen Fishing and you have the perfect combination for a simple to tie but upgraded Soft Hackle Streamer.

My adaption of the pattern includes the use of hen hackle and Polarflash for a body and mini-barred marabou for the wing.  The hen hackle and flash add a sharp contrast to the body underneath the marabou wing while the barred marabou replaces the need to add a mottled flank feather.

Hook: #6 Firehole Stick 811 Barbless streamer hook
Weight: Optional, use 5-10 turns of lead free wire
Thread: UTC 140 red
Body: Polarflash
Rib: Hen hackle palmered over Polarflash
Wing: Mini-Barred Marabou
Head: #3 or #4 Fish Mask with eyes

        1. With the hook in the vise add weight if desired and create a thread base.
        2. With thread at the hook bend, tie in a large hen hackle by the tip.
        3. Tie in several strands of Polarflash and wind forward to create a flashy body. Stop the body at about 2/3rds of the hook shank.
        4. Wind the hen hackle forward with even spacing and tie off at the end of the body.
        5. Trim a marabou feather taking about 2/3rds of the main stem. You want the fluffiest and finer strands of marabou all the way to the tip of the feather.
        6. Tie in the marabou by the butt of the stem and wind forward in even wraps folding back the marabou fibers after each turn. Leave about a 3/16” gap between the marabou wing and the hook eye.
        7. Build up a thread head to at least a diameter of 3/32” (for a #3 Fish Mask, use 1/8” if using #4 Fish Mask). Secure the thread with a couple of double half hitches or whip finish and cut the thread.
        8. Coat the head sparingly with some thick UV cured resin, slide the fish mask over the thread wraps and cure. Ensure the hook eye is resin free before curing.
        9. Add the appropriate sized eyes and seal with thin UV cured resin. Apply a thin coat of head cement over the fish mask and eyes.

      The Soft Hackle Streamer is an effective pattern that is simple to tie and can be widely adapted to all manner of target species.

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