“Soft Hackles for Striped Bass” from the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of American Angler

With striper season in full swing — if you’ll pardon the expression — this seemed like the perfect time to share “Soft Hackles for Striped Bass.” Many of you know me as a devotee of soft hackles and wets for trout, but interestingly enough, I was using soft hackles and wet fly tactics for stripers years before I tried them on trout. This article first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of American Angler. It features six patterns, three from Ken Abrames and three of my own doing. All of them are proven bass catchers. So get out your vise and your floating line and deliver these impressionistic wonders to a waiting, hungry mouth.

Soft Hackles for Striped Bass

The world-famous Jimi Hendrix-trippy-acid-flash-light-show striped bass photo. Nearly 40″ long, Miss Piggy (look at that full tummy!) fell for the seductive nuances of the Big Eelie, a soft-hackled sand eel.


9 comments on ““Soft Hackles for Striped Bass” from the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of American Angler

  1. Don Handal says:

    Steve: Where may I find instructions on presentation of striper soft hackles with a floating line. The American Angler article deals mainly with fly recipes. I have made soft hackles per your instructions, but am not confident about the presentation. I generally fish from a boat with a sinking line.

  2. Alton Blodgett says:

    Thanks Steve. That’s a great article!

  3. Sam Somera says:

    Hi Steve,

    I see you are one of the clever ones who has opted to make his own stripping basket. I am about to do the same and was curious as to what you used to for the spikes that keep the line from tangling. In the photo it looks like zip-ties, but I’m not sure.


    • Steve Culton says:

      Good eye, Sam. Very large zip ties they are, the ends slightly melted to reduce the sharp factor. Like Joe Brooks, I call it a shooting basket, a name that denotes its primary function without the implication that all I’m doing is casting and stripping. 🙂

      • Sam Somera says:

        Shooting basket, I love it! A greased-line swinging, sparse fly using fisherman through and through

  4. […] rules the day. If you’re interested in learning more about soft hackles for stripers, read “Soft Hackles for Striped Bass” from the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of American […]

  5. […] Another year, another appearance in On The Water magazine‘s “Guide Flies” column, written by Tony Lolli. You’re familiar with he concept of a guide fly — a pattern that is typically simple to tie and is a consistent producer. I’d like to introduce the Grass Shrimp Solution as Exhibit A: some bucktail, some braid, a wet fly hackle, and then you’re fishing. You can see the wet fly influence in its construction. I like this pattern at night when the grass shrimp are forming mating swarms, and are being carried out of an estuary on current. Make it part of your three fly team, and hang on! This pattern was originally published in the old American Angler magazine, Nov/Dec 2015, “Soft Hackles For Striped Bass.” […]

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