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Hard-Hackle Spider
By Richard Komar

Everyone is familiar with the foam rubber spider and the soft-hackle spider, but it is time for a new arachnid: The Hard-Hackle Spider!

The Hard-Hackle Spider is all-hackle and can be tied in six easy steps. For predatory bass, it can be tied as large as a size 2 to resemble a large, hairy tarantula or as small as a size 14 to make a tantalizing little floating morsel for wary bream and discriminating trout. The use of good quality rooster cape hackle for the body and legs gives the Hard-Hackle Spider that natural "hairy" look and feel of a real arachnid. Even though any high-quality hackle can be used, I prefer Conranch rooster dry-fly hackle for its extra-stiff barbs that allow my Hard-Hackle Spider to float high in the water with its legs just above the surface.

Materials List:

    Hook:   Mustad 94840, size 4 to size 14; Mustad 3366 size 2.

    Thread:   Gudebrod 6/0, black.

    Hackle:   Rooster Cape, silver badger (or your choice color).

    Legs:   Rooster Cape, silver badger (or your choice color).

Instructions - The Hard-Hackle Spider:

    1. Lay a thread base along the entire length of the hook shank. Tie in a rooster cape hackle by the stem, dull side toward the hook eye. Wind the hackle about 1/3 up the hook shank and tie off. Wrap the thread forward for another 1/3 of the shank to form the thin thorax.

    2. Tie in a second rooster cape hackle by the stem again, dull side toward the hook eye. Wind forward, tie off, and whip finish.

    3. Reattach the thread in the center of the thorax.

    4. Prepare two hackle tips of equal length for the legs. Attach one hackle tip to one side of the thorax with two wraps of thread, tip pointing to the hook bend. The "hard" hackle on either side will give the tip a natural vee arachnid look.

    5. Attach the second "leg" to the other side of the thorax with two wraps of thread, hackle tip pointing to the hook bend. Gently pull on both "legs" toward the hook eye until the "legs" are the length you prefer. Trim excess hackle at the hook eye end to make the "legs" equal.

    6. Tie off the thorax, making sure no "hard" body hackle is trapped under the thread. Whip finish, splay out the "legs" more if you desire and viola! The Hard-Hackle Spider is ready to fish!

How to Fish the Hard-Hackle Spider:

Because it is tied with "hard" hackle versus "soft" hackle, the Spider is ideally suited for top-water duty. With the use of good quality "hard" hackle, and a good floatant, the Spider will float tantalizingly with its legs just barely suspended over the surface (for that 3-D effect!). Use of oversized hackle is preferred to give that "hairy" arachnid look.

In warmwater, fish it like a popper for bass. The large hackle gives a very subtle gurgle when tugged gently. Tied in yellow and chartruese, it will go head-to-head with any rubber spider on the pond for bream.

In coldwater, fish it across & down, like a traditional soft-hackle. Remember, you are covering the top-water now where no soft-hackle ventures. Allow the Hard-Hackle Spider to slowly get waterlogged, and it will start to float in the film, and eventually start to sink ever so slowly with its all-hackle body and hackle legs undulating all the way down in the water column. Can't wait? Just slide a small beadhead down your tippet. After all, a spider that drops onto the water will not float forever!

And above all, don't be afraid to experiment with different hackle colors and hook sizes. Tight Lines! ~ Richard

About Richard:

Richard Komar is a flyfisher and fly tyer in Plano, Texas. He is a member of the FFF, ORCA, the Dallas FlyFishers, the North Texas Fly Casting Club, the Texas WarmWater FlyFishers and the Blue River Flyfishers. He enjoys collecting vintage Pflueger fly reels and is the proud owner of a folding boat.


For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.


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