The Orange Fish Hawk is a wonderful soft hackle for both cold and warm water species especially when the water is clear and slow. This fly has been around for many years and was included in Ray Bergman’s book Just Fishing published in 1932. I first tied this for chasing panfish and bass in some local ponds here in central Indiana. The hackles come alive and every small micro current in the water moves them. The colors is not too bright while the bright gold tinsel adds just enough flash to attract the fish. I wanted to do a video on this fly while tying all of these soft hackles in preparation for the May Tie-A-Thon not only because it is a wonderful fly but it is interesting from the perspective of tying the fly. The tag, body and rib are more like a wet fly than a soft hackle. There are plenty of soft hackle flies that have tags, ribs and floss bodies but the majority of soft hackles don’t have all three. Not trying to say that there are certain “rules” to tying soft hackles or wet flies, on the contrary there is a gray area when looking at these two types of flies. There is where the fun is. Taking components of one type of fly and applying them to another type often is how “new” flies are developed.
I bring this up for a couple of reasons, one of which I have touched on before. The first is that many flies that we fish are built upon other flies that others created. The second has to do with sticking with rigid rules in regards to what constitutes a particular type of fly. Like many activities in life different people are attracted to a particular activity for different reasons. Often there is a group of people in any activity who think things have to be done a certain way in order to stay “true” to the activity. In terms of fly tying, especially classic flies, many people think if they do not tie a fly with the “original” materials or in the “original” manner then you are not “doing it right’. I often get questions from other fly tiers about it being “ok” to substitute a certain material because they do not have or can not get the material. They often are concerned will the fly still work as it should and/or will they be staying true to the original pattern. It is important to remember that new fly patterns are created by doing something different. I have no problem with fly tiers or fly fishers enjoying their activity by doing things a certain way but I think there is nothing wrong with changing things up a bit to see what happens. If you do not have Ginger Badger Hen Hackle then use whatever hackle you have. If it catches fish, if you are enjoying your time at the vise and it helps you enjoy your time on the water more then that is good enough. That said, maybe you can not call the fly by its original name but rather a new name or labeled as a variant in order to communicate correct meaning to another fly tier. It can be a slippery slope in regards to calling a Black Woolly Bugger now with some Krystal Flash added a Black Woolly Bugger or a Black Flash Bugger or a Black Woolly Bugger with Flash or a…. you get the idea. Remember, we tie flies to have fun at the vise and to enhance our time on the water. We are on the water to enhance our lives and connect with life. Keeping it simple helps both. – Enjoy.
|Mustad 3906, 3906b or 3399, #10 – #16
|Uni-Thread 8/0, White and Black
|Danville Gold Mylar Tinsel, #16/18
|Danville 4-Strand Rayon Floss, Orange
|Ginger Badger Hen Neck
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If you would like to purchase some Orange Fish Hawk flies there are a number for sale (while supplies last).
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As always, if you have any questions about this fly (or any other) you can leave a comment on Dressed Irons or any of the videos I have produced and I will help in anyway I can. Enjoy!
Remember….. It’s Fly tying….. If you’re not having fun, You’re Doin’ It Wrong.