Tying the Peacock Red Butt Soft Hackle
by Jim Burchette
Hook: Green Caddis Outfitters model 251B barbless, sizes 12-16
Thread: red 70 or 140 denier for the red butt tag
Thread: black 70 denier for the remainder of the fly
Weight: small lead free wire
Rib: fine silver wire
Body: peacock herl
Soft hackle collar: Hungarian partridge
1. Secure the hook firmly in the tying vise jaws.
2. Start the red thread rearward of the hook eye and wrap down the hook shank as a base for the lead free wire and on down the bend of the hook to create a red butt tag. Several layers of thread should be made for the tag.
3. Wrap the midsection of the hook shank with 6 turns of lead free wire and cover with thread.
4. Make a half hitch or a 3 turn whip finish around the hook shank with the red thread and snip off. Start the 70D black thread on the hook shank and make wraps rearward, stopping at the beginning of the red tag.
5. Tie in a three inch length of fine silver wire with 2 turns of thread.
6. Select 2-3 pieces of peacock herl. Cut the fine tips of the peacock herl back an inch or so and tie in the bundled pieces of peacock. Secure the wire and peacock herl with additional thread wraps as needed. Return the thread to the start of the red tag at the hook bend.
7. Grasp the peacock herl butts and make a wrap around the hook behind the hanging thread. Continue wrapping the peacock herl, moving the thread forward as you wrap up the hook shank. Stop about a hook eye distance from the hook eye. Secure the wraps of peacock with 2-3 turns of thread.
8. Grasp the silver wire and make 5-6 counter-clockwise wraps over the peacock. Tie off the wire with 2-3 turns of thread where the peacock body stopped.
9. Select a single Hungarian partridge feather and strip the fuzzy fibers from the feather. Holding the feather by the tip, gently preen the fibers outward from the stem. Keep a cluster of tip fibers to use for attaching the feather to the hook. With the underside of the feather facing away, secure the tip of the feather with 2-3 wraps of thread and trim the excess feather tip. At this point, I like to apply a small drop of head cement and give it a moment to dry to prevent the feather from pulling out during the next step.
10. Attach your hackle pliers to the partridge feather stem and make two turns around the hook shank. Secure the feather with 2-3 wraps of thread.
11. Snip the feather stem and any errant feather fibers.
12. Make additional wraps of thread as needed to build a small head and finish the fly with a 3-4 turn whip finish and apply head cement.
Red thread can be used throughout the fly to keep from having to switch colors. An ample coating of fly cement, such as Flexament, can be applied at the conclusion of step six. I feel this helps with adherence of the peacock body. Moving the thread forward with the peacock wraps keeps the peacock herl under control and prevents it from spreading. This is a technique was learned from viewing a video of master fly tier, Tim Flagler. Reverse wraps of fine silver wire reinforce the delicate peacock body from unwrapping due to fish bites. Subsequently, a length of thread or crystal flash can be used instead. The red butt soft hackle fly can be tied without weight or minimal added weight to fish in the surface film as an emerger. A bead head version can be tied in order to get the fly down in the water column using Green Caddis Outfitters model GC221B or GC231B hooks. This is one of my confidence flies that is a proven producer. I believe you will like fishing this pattern.