There's something magical about swinging a fly. It's relaxing for one. In not having to fixate on your bug and watch for a visual eat or a strike indicator taking a plunge, your eyes are free to wander into the hillsides and surrounding forest. You never know, this might be the moment you finally spot a sasquatch foraging for berries. When the soft hackle gets hit by a fish, you'll know it and have the opportunity to shift your focus back to the task at hand. It's also a great strategy at last light when you can't see jack to track a dry fly and the fish are rising fastidiously around you and you're not quite ready to quit the scene.
People often ask us how to fish soft hackles effectively and there are lots of possibilities. My favorite is with a floating line and allowing the fly to swing in the current just subsurface. The non-descript buggy nature of the fly lends itself well to imitating an emerging insect and when it's in the surface film that bug is at its most vulnerable state. The wire body and heavy wet fly hook add just enough weight to get through the meniscus and on into the trout zone. You could just as easily fish these on a trout spey and sink tip or poly leader to get down a little deeper or incorporate a brass or tungsten bead into the body of the fly for a depth charge version to ply deeper in the water column.
Green Wired Soft Hackle Recipe:
Hook: Tiemco 3769 or Daiichi 1530 #12
Thread: 70 Denier Ultra Thread Fl Chartreuse
Abdomen: Brassie Chartreuse Ultra Wire
Thorax: Peacock Ice Dub
Hackle: Partridge Soft Hackle