Fly Patterns - Partridge and Orange Soft Hackle

                 Partridge and Orange Soft Hackle



TMC 3761BL or similar hook, #10, 12


Orange flat waxed, smallest size available


Orange flat waxed, smallest size available


Extra-fine copper or gold Wire


Peacock Herl


Brown partridge





“Old” flies—ones that have survived the test of time—tend to be simple, starkly sparse, and spot on when it comes to hooking up. The Partridge and Orange Soft Hackle (“POSH”) is a perfect example of that paradigm. Handed down to us by our brethren across the pond, it has been attached to leaders here for many years.  It is a consistent producer, ultra-simple to tie, and sleekly sparse in appearance.  The history of this fly, and some tying information, can be found at the following link:  

I always have soft hackle flies in my working fly boxes, and the POSH occupies a prominent place among them. There are similar patterns out there, but the true original was constructed of just two materials (other than the hook): thread, and partridge hackle. Variants include a ribbed model, and one with a dubbed or wound thorax. The purpose of ribbing is, in my view, to give a segmented look to the body; the purpose of a thorax is to keep the hackle from flattening itself against the body while the fly is in the drift. There are other modifications out there, but for our purposes we’ll just add the ribbing and the thorax, to keep things simple and sparse. Oh, and one more thing—we’ll add some floss or silk for the body, instead of just using thread. 

Tying Instructions

1.    Smash the hook barb (unless you’re using the barbless version of the 3761).



2.     Cover the shank with thread, leaving it at the rear of the hook, just above the hook point (note that this is different than where we’d normally stop; i.e., the normal stop point is the back of the barb).

3.     Tie in a piece of fine gold or copper wire.

4.    Tie in a 4” piece of orange floss or silk at the same point, and move the thread forward to the eye of the hook.



5.    Carefully wrap the floss or silk forward to the front third point on the hook shank.  Tie it off there and trim the excess. Rib the fly, using 4 or 5 wraps; tie off the wire at the same point and trim the excess. This completes the body. Leave the thread at the front third point.



6.     a. For the thorax, tie in another piece of wire at the same point, along with two pieces of fine peacock herl (here it is important to use the extra-fine wire; otherwise, the herl will be overpowered). Twist the wire and herl together in a counter-clockwise direction, until you have a nice, tight herl chenille.



6.   b. Wrap the herl chenille around the shank, building up a nice thorax; leave plenty of room between the thorax and the hook eye for the hackle. Tie off the herl chenille and trim the excess.



7.   At the front of the thorax, tie in a properly sized brownish partridge feather by its tip (see below under “tips” for feather preparation hints). Using your hackle pliers to grip the stem of the feather, take two turns of the hackle, tie it off, and trim the excess.



8.      Form a nice, small head and whip finish. Carefully add a tiny drop of cement to the head, being careful not to get the glue on the hackle. If you use too much glue, it will leach up into the hackle, rendering it useless.


   1. To prepare the hackle, remove the fuzz at the base of the stem (don’t cut the stem off). Then, using your tweezers, grab the tip of the feather and smooth back the barbules. It helps to moisten the feather a bit during this process. That exposes the tip for ease of tying it onto the hook.

   2. When tying in the ribbing and the floss, tie them in at the front one third point on the hook and then wrap them down to the hook point. This will help in maintaining a nice flat, smooth body. Use as little thread as possible, and try not to overlap thread wraps.

Crank out  a bunch if these puppies and fish them  through riffles, run, and pocket water, and….


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