My fly box is filled with soft-hackled flies, and my favorite way to fish them is in the surface film during a hatch.
I like to dress the fly with a very, very light application of Hydrophobe – just enough so that the fly’s top fibers and thorax lay in the surface film, while the rest of the fly rides below the film. It just seems like this is how real insects hang out on the water.
With Tenkara, soft-hackled flies can be cast with delicate precision on very long tippets. Tenkara and soft hackles – this is now my favorite means of fishing tough hatches.
Photo: Partridge PMD #16, tied by author. Olympus E-P1 with Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 at f/5.6 1/80s 42mm.