The Soft Daddy is an impressionistic, soft-hackled streamer that imitates the rusty crayfish. It’s currently featured in On The Water magazine‘s “Guide Flies” column, written by Tony Lolli. (Thanks, Tony, for letting me play!) The concept of a guide fly is twofold — it’s a pattern that is typically simple to tie, and is also a consistent producer. Like most of my flies, The Soft Daddy starts as an idea; is rendered on the vise; and goes through extensive field testing. Tweaks are made as needed, and the end result goes into the rotation. Like many of my patterns, you can see the wet fly influence in its construction. Smallmouth eat this fly like candy…or is that crawdads…or crawdaddies…?
When the hatch is black caddis, I know of no other more bewitching soft hackle brew than the Black Magic. What else would you expect from a North Country spider with a peacock herl thorax? The white fly hatch gets all the juice on the Hous in August, but there’s also a substantial black caddis hatch around the same time. If you’re targeting smallmouth, tie the Black Magic on a 2x stout hook, size 14, or try a size 12 1x short shank. Make it the top dropper on a two fly team (white fly on the bottom) — and hold on.
Body: Black silk
Thorax: Peacock herl
Hackle: Black hen
Tying notes: I attach the hackle, wind the silk, then attach and wrap the herl forward to the hackle tie-in point. Move the thread to the head of the fly, wind the hackle, and whip finish.