I got the first leech on me at the age of eight, the summer I’d amassed enough sand to swim from the family dock out to the island in the center of Tucker Pond. A nice one. About two inches long. Noticed it there, dangling alien spade-headed wormlike critter, undulating from the center of my chest as I emerged gasping from the pond aiming to claim the island’s fabled blueberries. I ripped it away & a drop of blood streamed down. That was ikky, I thought. Took the celebratory juice out of my right-of-passage swim-to-the-island victory for a minute.
That was also the summer of my first truly big bass, taken on a black/blue flake rubber worm, a new thing. And I later learned that a lot of other fish besides largemouth bass like the black/blue combination.
The rabbit ‘leech’ (DNSR Leech) pattern featured here has become one of my staples for dredging Eastside Washington lakes, I like a #4, makes about a two-inch ‘leech’, & I doubt that it is taken for a leech, in that size, as the real leeches I’m seeing in the local lakes are under an inch long – which accounts for the popularity of mini-leeches, I think – & this pattern can be tied on a #12 & fished as a mini-leech. But I like the big ole #4 tied on a TMC 200R drop-bend hook (which serves to keel the fly – lake fish don’t want to see it rolling & screwing through the water) fished deep on a full-sinking line or 15’ sinking head.
Size & silhouette reminds me more of a dragonfly nymph or a sculpin than a leech…
Good smallmouth bass fly. Brookies & browns too. And it does travel to running water as well.
Hook: #4 TMC 200R
Thread: wine UNI 8/0
Tailing: black rabbit fur (taken from a strip or whole hide) layered with 2 strands blue flash/2, red flash – tie in ahead of the hook point – apply a drop of penetrating cement at the tie-in point (I keep saying it: tailing is the simplest way to achieve articulation.)
Body: black rabbit w/guard hairs mixed with chopped red & blue flash, on a dubbing loop of the tying thread, or wine 3/0 or sewing thread on larger sizes, if you like
Collar: black rabbit fur spread around the hook shank as a collar ~ & finish.
Flyfish NE Washington with Steven Bird: http://ucflyfishing.blogspot.com