It recently has come to my attention that this site contains NO leech patterns! Well, it seems as though that was right, so here I am to fix it! This little leech pattern is nothing terribly original, but is non-the-less a great imitation of a bloodsucker. This is a quick, easy tie and can be made in a variety of different colors to match whatever you pull out of your local waters. The version I tie here has a long tail, although many tyers like to go much shorter. I always figure I can pinch the tail down shorter out on the water if needed, but I sure can’t make it get any longer if I tie it short so… Leeches work very well in the lakes and reservoirs throughout Colorado. Spinney and Antero Reservoirs as well as Delaney buttes all spring to mind as good leech waters, although I have also found scads of them in the Colorado River around Parshall (these are brown colored ones) and in the North Platte on the Grey Reef section. In rivers, I typically fish these dead drift with intermittent twitches given along the way to impart some action to the tails, while in lakes I like to fish them on a long leader and floating line or even perhaps with an intermediate line and shorter leader depending on how deep the fish are holding. A slow steady retrieve really lights fish up with this fly and they love to eat it on the pause between strips. leeches don’t swim very fast so keep this in mind as you fish this fly.
Hook: Gamakatsu S11S-4L2H or Tiemco 9395, both ring eyed 4X long streamer hooks in sizes 4 through 14
Bead: Tungsten or brass bead sized to hook, can be gold, copper or black colored to suit pattern.
Weight: (Optional) Lead wire
Tail: Maroon Marabou Fibers
Flash: 2 strands on each side of the tail of Flashabou, in this case, red.
Body: Kaufmann’s Mini Leech Dubbing, wine or to match natural
Place the bead on the hook then wrap however many lead wraps you’ll need around the shank. Break the ends off the lead wraps with your fingernail, and shove the wraps up into the back of the bead. Start the tying thread behind the lead wrap and build a taper with the thread from the bare shank up to the diameter of the lead. Continue wrapping back to the bend forming a smooth thread base as you go. Return the thread to just behind the bead.
Select a small clump of marabou fibers from the side of the quill. I don’t like to use the tip of the whole plume as I would on a Woolly Bugger here as the tail should be relatively sparse and thin. You only want about a dozen strands of marabou here.
Clip the woody stubs off the butt ends of the marabou so you have just the butt ends of the marabou sticking out of your fingertips.
Lay the very end of the butts up against the back edge of the bead and tie them down with several tight turns of thread. The long ends of the marabou should extend about a shank length past the bend of the hook.
Lift up on the long ends of the marabou as you wrap back over them to keep them centered on the top of the hook shank. Wrap all the way back over the marabou to the bend of the hook.
Check the tail length here, it should be about a shank length. If it is too long, you can pinch the ends of the marabou to break them off to length. Pinching and tearing the tips away will leave you with ragged ends and they look much better than the square cut ends you’d have if you trimmed them with your scissors.
Lay a couple strands of Flashabou in on the hook and tie them down at the center of their length just in front of the base of the tail.
Pull the far two ends of the Flashabou back along the far side of the tail and wrap back over them to the bend of the hook, locking them in place along the far side of the hook.
Pull the remaining two ends of the flashabou back along the near side of the hook and trap them along the near side of the tail with a couple firm wraps of thread.
Detail of tail and flash.
Grab a small clump of dubbing (you don’t need much) and pull it apart a bit to loosen the fibers up. This is a long fibered dubbing made up of Angora Goat, SLF fibers, rabbit fur and some Elfin magic, and it tends to get pretty bound together in the package. Loosen the dubbing fibers up a bit and begin to twist one end of the clump onto the thread.
Loosely hold onto the rest of the dubbing clump as you begin to wrap the twisted portion of the dubbing around the hook. As you wrap, the remaining dubbing in the clump will twist loosely around the thread forming a shaggy rope.
Continue wrapping this loose rope of dubbing around the hook all the way up to the back of the bead.
Tear off any excess dubbing once you reach the back edge of the bead, then twist what’s left into a little bit tighter rope to finish everything off. Wrap this last turn or two of dubbing around the hook right behind the bead.
Preen back any loose dubbing fibers while you build a small thread head behind the bead. try not to trap too many fibers…this fly is ugly enough as it is, it doesn’t need a bunch of crap sticking out over the hook eye.
Whip finish and clip the thread behind the bead. Use a piece of the hook side of a sheet of Velcro to shag out the dubbing around the hook. Lay the strip of Velcro under the hook and work it back and forth like you were shining a shoe, then repeat this process along the top and sides of the fly. I finish off by stroking all the dubbing fibers back toward the bend of the hook for a more streamlined leech…come on! Dress that little bloodsucker up a bit!
Detail of shaggy body after the application of the Velcro strip.
rab the front of the hook with your thumb on the bottom of the shank and your index finger on top and tweak the front of the hook shank up slightly to create a bit more graceful curve to the hook. This bend should be very slight and I am sure it makes absolutely no difference to the fish but it makes me feel a LOT better about this fly so there!
Finished fly, side view.