Article by Jack Gartside: The Depth-Charger Soft Hackle Deceiver sinks quickly and has a life-like motion in the water.

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Depth-Charger Soft Hackle Deceiver

For a long time in my tying and fishing career I avoided pre-weighted flies, feeling that unweighted flies worked more freely and naturally in the water. If wanted them to sink, well, it was just a simple matter of adding a split shot or two to the leader. In this way I could control not only the sink rate but any action imparted by the weight of the shot. By and large I still prefer unweighted flies for these reasons. Over time, however, I found that many of my customers preferred pre-weighted flies and I began to add weighted eyes to a few of my more established streamer patterns, but only a few, and only when I thought they might add to the fly and not detract from it.

Here, then is one of these flies: the Depth-Charger Soft Hackle Deceiver. As you can see from the illustration, the only real difference between it and the original Soft Hackle Deceiver is in the addition of the eyes, which, in the opinion of many anglers, may make it more attractive to the fish. Whether this is so, I can't say, but I can say this: the fly sinks quickly, has a life-like motion in the water, and is well worth adding to your angling repertoire. The dressing below is for a chartreuse fly but you can vary color and size as desired. Since I tie this fly for both fresh and salt water game fish, I've given both fresh and salt water preferred hook styles.

Tying the Depth-Charger Soft Hackle Deceiver


For salt water: Mustad 34007 or Daiichi 2546, #4-1/0
For fresh water: Daiichi 2451 or Daiichi 2141, #4-#1


Krystal or Presentation Tungsten eyes (size of eyes determined by sink rate desired as well as size of hook)


Flat waxed nylon (Size A) to secure the eyes to the shank; 6/0 or 3/0 white for the actual tying.


Matched chartreuse saddle or neck hackle (length may be varied as desired)


Pearl GSS (Gartside's Secret Stuff)


Pearl Glimmer or similar


Chartreuse blood marabou plumes (two or three wrapped together)


Chartreuse saddle hackle taken from lower part of patch, to include soft marabou-like base fibers)

step 1

Step 1Secure eyes to hook shank approximately 2 eye lengths back from the eye.

step 2

Step 2Tie in tailwing just forward of the bend of the hook. Add a little GSS flash at this point as well.

step 3

Step 3Tie in several strands of Glimmer or similar material at the base of the tailwing and wind forward over shank to a point just short of your eyes. Trim excess.

step 4

Step 4Tie in marabou plumes just behind eyes and wind around the shank of the hook until you have a fairly full hackle. Trim excess.

step 5

Step 4Tie in two long saddle hackles just in back of the eyes, trim butt, and wind the hackles several turns behind the eyes and then wind the hackles over and around the gap in the eyes, criss-crossing, so that you cover up the space between the eyes. Take several turns of hackle just in front of the eyes to complete the collar. (If you run out of hackle, simply tie in another just in front of the eye and continue. Trim excess. Wind your thread back over the forward hackles so that they flow to the rear of the fly and don't stick out all over the place. Whip finish a neat thread head and add head cement.

Alternate Tying Method

The steps above describe the the way I usually tie my Depth-Charger SH Deceivers. There is, however, a second method, and one worth mentioning. To tie the fly up using this second method, follow steps 1-4 and instead of adding your collar at this point, tie in five or six strands of pearl Glimmer, take several turns just behind the eye and then crisscross strands between the eyes to cover up the gap. Trim excess strands. Now invert the hook and simply lay a quantity of marabou fibers over what is now the top of the fly. Fibers should extend back into the marabou about 3/4 length. Trim excess and tie off. This is a good method of creating a fly with several layers of color. However you tie, give this fly a try. I think you'll like it.


Adapting These Instructions to Tie the Depth-Charger Soft Hackle Streamer

With slight modifications, you can also use the steps above to tie a "Depth-Charger" version of my Soft Hackle Streamer pattern. To tie the DC Soft Hackle Streamer, eliminate the tailwing and the body and wind in only the marabou plumes and collar for a fast-sinking smaller baitfish imitation.


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