Three-Quarter (3/4) Parachute Hackle

The core idea of the “Three-Quarter” or “3/4″ Parachute Hackle is to create a lightly-dressed parachute that is further modified by adjusting the parachute post. That adjustment usually involves turning the post into a wing-case, but it can also include splitting the post to create a loop-wing, and other derivatives. I don’t know exactly where/when the 3/4 Parachute technique first originated (I first learned it from my father when I was a kid), but it’s not a technique that one often sees being used. Here’s the deal:

jborger_34para-1

See that bit about leaving room for a half-wrap on the hackle? That’s important to get a “balanced” hackle left to right. The first half-wrap with de-barbed feather shaft allows one to not only make sure the hackle barbs are properly oriented, but also makes sure that the first hackle barbs to become part of the fly are facing forward, in the same direction as where the hackle feather will be tied off. In other words, this makes sure that the hackle starts and stops in the same place, lending a better sense of balance to the fly. Also, see that parachute post? Do not re-enforce the base with thread as you might do with a traditional parachute post. Once tied in, the post will likely be laying toward the back of the fly, not bolt upright. That’s fine.

jborger_34para-2

After getting everything tied in, wrap the hackle parachute style around the base of the post. Two to four full wraps is usually enough for this style of fly. Too much hackle can make for excessive bulk at the base of the post. Tie off the hackle at the front of the post (so you get an even total number of hackle wraps). Dub, or otherwise finish the thorax. Then… Use your fingertips to stroke the forward-facing hackle barbs back out of the way (try to keep the amount of hackle barbs mostly even on both sides of the fly), and pull the post forward to the hook eye. Tie the post down there.

jborger_34para-3

Tie off the fly using your finishing method of your choice (here’s one that’s a bit different than the usual whip-finish). Then clip the post to length (approximately the length of the hook eye). Make sure the hackle is cleanly distributed around the post base in an approximately 3/4 arrangement. Adding a drop of water-based head cement at the base of the post can help to re-enforce the hackle/post interface. Once all is good, it’s time to go fish!

PS—Want a fly to use with this technique? Here’s one.

2 Comments

  1. Brad Wilson says:

    Jason, This fly has proved for me to be a fish taker in the most difficult times! Last year fishing a local river it took fish when nothing else was working, not just for me, but for the fellow anglers around me! I make sure to have plenty of this pattern in my fly box! Thanks for making my fishing more productive!

  2. JB says:

    Brad—Great to hear you’ve had such success with the pattern. This fly (more specifically the fly linked to above) is a “must-have” for me. I simply don’t like to fish hatch-feeding trout without it. Tied right, it has worked consistently well across an array of hatches, when even other favorite “standby” patterns were not as effective. Hope that you see more fish with it in the future!

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