Fly Patterns - Peatridge Hotwire Soft Hackle

             Peatridge Hotwire Soft Hackle


No, the fly’s name, the Peatridge Hotwire Soft Hackle, is not a typo. I named it “Peatridge” because two of the main ingredients are partridge and peacock. The “hotwire” part comes from the type of wire used for the abdomen. I am partial to the soft hackle configuration because it can also serve as a nymph—in effect, a two-for-one fly. The soft, wavy hackle appears to be enticing to fish, especially on the swing when the fly rises up in the water column, making it resemble a swimming nymph on the way to emergence.


Of course, all of this is guesswork (albeit somewhat educated), since I’ve never had the pleasure of interviewing a trout. Let’s face it—a good deal of the art of fly tying is more for the pleasure of the angler than anything else. That said, once in awhile we do land on a pattern that really does work. It’s at that point that we tyers begin to invent reasons why the fly is effective—there’s plenty of pontification out there, for sure. But we really don’t know what it is that triggers a trout’s instinct—and we’ll likely never know.


In any event, this month’s pattern is one that does indeed entice trout. Why? Quien sabe, but my guess is that it just looks buggy, and has some motion to it. Not very cerebral, but it’s the best I can do. The fly can be tied on any standard nymph hook, but I prefer the “scud” type of hook which allows for a more natural shape to the bug.


Tying Instructions

1.       Crimp the hook barb and place the bead on the hook. Cover the hook shank with a single, flat layer of thread; extend the thread halfway down the bend of the hook. Move the thread back to behind the eye.



2.       Cut a small section of partridge feather barbules; use the feathers that are well-marked. Measure the tail fibers so that they protrude from the rear of the hook approximately 1/8”. Tie the bunch in just behind the bead. Hold the bunch up above the hook as you work rearward, ending mid-bend. This technique will keep the bunch right on top of the hook. Leave the thread at the rear, and clip the excess feather behind the bead.

3.       At the same point, tie in a 4” section of wire and wrap the thread forward to the back of the bead. Make sure that each layer of thread lies flat in order to avoid build-up of thread which results in a bulky body. Wrap the wire forward in tight turns and tie it off about two hook eye’s width behind the bead, thus leaving room for the hackle and the head.


4.       Cut another bunch of partridge—larger than the tail bunch. Measure it with tips pointing rearward, so that the tips extend to the point of the hook. Place it on the hook just ahead of where the wire was tied off, and tie it in using two loose wraps. Pull the thread tight; that should distribute the hackle evenly around the hook. If it looks too sparse, add another bunch, but don’t over-do it. Sparse is good.

5.       Cut two pieces of peacock herl from the eye area of the feather; this part of the feather contains colorful, very small barbules. Tie these two pieces in by their tips and take 3 or 4 wraps. Tie it off and whip finish. Place a tiny drop of superglue on the end of your bodkin, and cement the thread.

Tying Tips

1.       Keep the fly sparse, and avoid a thick body. Mayfly nymphs are very slender.

2.       I like to flatten the part of the wire that will be tied in so as to eliminate excessive bulk when building the body. Use flat-nosed pliers for this purpose.

3.       Use your bodkin to apply superglue rather than squeezing a drop from the bottle directly onto the fly. Your placement will be much better.

4.       I keep a cloth next to my vise for wiping the bodkin clean after each application of superglue to prevent glue buildup on the needle. If you do get buildup, use a lighter to burn the buildup off.

Now, go crank one of these bugs, go fish it, and…as Ryan Miller says, when in doubt….go fish!  I live by that simple philosophy.




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