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Pattern Index

Soft Body Baitfish

by Capt. Ken Kuhner

Soft Body is a new water-based body-builder whose name is actually misleading. It doesn't dry soft, but hard as epoxy, and clear. It's advantage in tying saltwater patterns is that it sets up within seconds when it's given a quick blast of warm air from either a hair dryer or heat gun. This eliminates the need to tie down topwing materials, or to hold materials in place for several minutes while a glue sets. It means you can tie more patterns faster, and create a variety of profiles on a variety of hooks.


  • Soft Body -- Thin
  • Pearl Bodi-Braid (Silver Optional)
  • "Belly White" SuperHair
  • Pearl Angel Hair
  • Peacock Flashabou or similar peacock-colored material
  • Stick-On Prism Eyes
  • Red Marking Pen
  • Clear Mono Tying Thread

1: Tie the thread in behind the hook eye. Secure the Pearl Bodi-Braid. Wrap it along the shank to the bend and back to the eye. You can tie off the Bodi-Braid now, or add more up-and-down wraps for a larger body. Making successively shorter wraps will create a bulging belly profile.

2: Cut a length of white SuperHair twice as long as the distance from behind the hook eye to the length of your pattern. Stagger the SuperHair ends and center the middle of the clump behind the hook eye. Secure it with several thread wraps. You're left, now, with equal lengths of the SuperHair, extending fore and aft of the tie at hook eye.

3: Tie in a small clump of the Angel Hair behind the hook eye on top of the SuperHair.

4: Fold the SuperHair back on itself, and tie it in to complete the body. By doubling-over the SuperHair in this manner, you create a snub nose profile, as well as center the Angel Hair in the body.

5: Add a topwing of the peacock Flashabou and tie off the thread.

6: Have a hair dryer or heat gun handy. Apply the Thin Soft Body, starting at the hook eye and working your way back. Make sure the Soft Body penetrates the fibers, but don't apply so much that it seeps its way into the tail of the pattern. Hold the fibers in place at the tail, fanning them out, or compressing them to create whatever profile you like. Give the Soft Body a 5-or-so-second blast of hot air, holding the hair dryer or heat gun 6 to 10 inches away. The Soft Body will set in just that much time.

Note: Soft Body comes in both Thick and Thin varieties. Though the Thick mixture will make for a larger body, we need to use the Thin variety here so that it will penetrate the fibers.

7: Put the pattern aside and let the Soft Body cure as you go on to tie more patterns.

8: When the Soft Body is cured, make gill markings with the red ink pen, add the Stick-On eyes, and give the body a finish coat of Soft Body. You can either rotate the pattern on a drying wheel or in the vise. Without heat, the Soft Body will start to set within about two minutes or so, depending upon how much is applied. Though the package directions call for 24 hours, but it takes about 8 hours to cure enough to be fished.

Capt. Ken Kuhner owns Cold Spring Outfitters -- a fly tackle shop and fly-fishing charter service -- on Long Island's North Shore in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. (Telephone: 631-673-8937; Website:


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