the Black Leech

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Eperous
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the Black Leech

Post by Eperous » Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:28 am

Here's "my pattern" for a simple everyday Leech recipe probably lots of folks tie. I developed this particular version back in the late 80s with help from the late Nick Rash who made some critical suggestions regarding how to weight the fly. Using lead only on the front third of the hook causes the pattern to fish like a jig. It zigzags through the water column when given motion in the retrieve, and then paused.

I used to tie these on large hooks for ponds and lakes, but downsized to a #10 Mustad 9672 hook when I was an active fishing guide. I needed a small fly, like a Woolly Bugger, that unskilled clients could easily cast, not do much, and catch trout. Then I started fishing a #10 myself, and was amazed with results.

I'm sure there are probably hundreds of "Leech" patterns available :roll: , but this is mine! ;)
Black Leech (w), #10 Mustad 9672.jpg
Black Leech (w), #10 Mustad 9672.jpg (90.57 KiB) Viewed 2044 times
The Black Leech – stream version:

Hook: #10 Mustad 9672
Thread: Black
Tail: Black rabbit Zonker strip and 4-6 strands of rainbow Krystal flash
Body: Black leech yarn (Mohair)
Weight: Lead wraps first third of body only

Tying steps:

Step #1 – Tie in tail and Krystal flash. Note: Use a razor blade to cut the rabbit strip hide from behind/below, without cutting any hairs, about an inch in length. You want a tapered look when done. Extend the flash 1/8 to a 1/4 inch beyond the rabbit strip.

Step #2 – Wrap lead in front of hook, the first 1/3 of body only.

Step #3 – Cover lead with black floss and then head cement. Note: when we first moved into the area in 1970, I learned quite a bit about the Esopus and nymph fishing from the late J. Wesley Drake. At the time I noticed my weighted nymphs often grew fuzzy gills after being fished once or twice. The lead oxidized through the body dubbing once wet by stream water. Wes taught me to cover the lead and use head cement to prevent this problem. I utilize the procedure on all my weighted flies.

Step #4 – Build up the under body between the tail and lead so the fly has the same diameter body when completed. As you wrap the leech yarn forward, stroke the fibers backwards. You can also comb the body when done to create loose, hairy fibers that attract fish.

Note: For stillwater I still tie these on larger hooks, the same way as noted above in all black, black with a chartreuse tail – a fine ice-out pattern, and blood color. All produce fish, but none quite like that little #10 Mustad 9672.

And here are a couple prior SGM posts on this fly and larger versions.

FYI: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=5882&hilit=black+leech

FYI: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1203&hilit=Black+leech

Opening Day 2016:
Opening day 2016 --- 18 inch brown.JPG
Opening day 2016 --- 18 inch brown.JPG (416.79 KiB) Viewed 2038 times
Wolf88, you asked about this... now ya know... ;)

Ed

Bamboo&Brookies
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Re: the Black Leech

Post by Bamboo&Brookies » Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:47 am

That's a simple, great dressing.

Ed sent me the tying directions a while back and this has been very effective for me... stripped, dead drifted, fished upstream or on the swing.

Seems to work well where big black stone flies are also present.

Thanks for posting!

-Rob J.
Give a man a fly rod, a shotgun and a bird dog and he'll never be worth a d*mn.
-Old New England saying

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catskilljohn
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Re: the Black Leech

Post by catskilljohn » Sun Apr 17, 2016 5:48 pm

Eperous wrote: I'm sure there are probably hundreds of "Leech" patterns available :roll: , but this is mine! ;)
Ed
I am surprised Orvis or Umpqua hasn't asked you for the rights to this pattern yet, cause I know for a fact there are a bunch of guys who swear by it.

I don't swing flies much, and I only use streamers in the fall but the very first time I lobbed one of these bad boys into a tree root I hooked a 17'er. Great pattern, and while you are correct there are probably a bunch of leech flies, this one is certainly special. CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

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Eperous
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Re: the Black Leech

Post by Eperous » Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:59 pm

A real black leech, undulating along in a peat stained Adirondack Lake known as Horseshoe Pond...
ADK-Black Leech, Horseshoe Pond.JPG
ADK-Black Leech, Horseshoe Pond.JPG (525.44 KiB) Viewed 1611 times
Ed

44hutch
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Re: the Black Leech

Post by 44hutch » Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:02 pm

Hey Ed. Can you recommend a source for the zonker strips? I would be willing to cut my own if you have a good source for whole hides.

wiFlyFisher
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Re: the Black Leech

Post by wiFlyFisher » Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:48 am

Ed, nice fly!

Last week while on my favorite WI stream I caught almost all the bigger trout on a black woolly bugger on a jig hook with a black tungsten bead head. I did some underwater videoing (another story) and the Spring time water was only really clear along the bottom or sides of the river. So you had to get you fly down and keep it along the bottom to be effective. The trout would not move far to grab a fly.

Side note: In mid-afternoon when I saw trout rising in the shallows for the skittering early brown stoneflies I immediately switched from chucking the big and ugly to a dry fly. :D

RoddGunn
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Re: the Black Leech

Post by RoddGunn » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:10 pm

I use a leech pattern that is very easy to tie and works great. Use Pine Squirrel strips of your color choice. On a size 10 nymph hook place a tungsten beat, then tie in a length of pine Squirrel at the bend, about an inch or so, the wrap the pine squirrel up to the bead. At this point I tie in blue crystal flask on each side and finish the fly. The fly has a lot of movement which makes it so effective. The leeches are in the center row.
IMG_0608.JPG
IMG_0608.JPG (639.48 KiB) Viewed 505 times

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Eperous
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Re: the Black Leech

Post by Eperous » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:56 pm

wiFlyFisher wrote: ... Last week while on my favorite WI stream I caught almost all the bigger trout on a black woolly bugger on a jig hook with a black tungsten bead head. ...
John, I also tie conehead woolly buggers... and fish those differently than I do my Black Leech...

Opening day--- 11 days days ago--- I started with a #10 Black Leech (9762 Mustad) and nicked one fish... the water was cold, so I changed to a #8 Conehead Woolly Bugger and added one BB shot to my tippet... I fished this rig, slow and deep rolling it along the bottom of a cold, dark stream... I hooked several fish, landed 4 nice browns...

This was my first 2017 NYS trout--- 4/01/17--- an 18 wild brown, on a Conehead Woolly Bugger...
18 in CHWB br.JPG
18 in CHWB br.JPG (723.91 KiB) Viewed 490 times
... I'd put a few more nice browns on the bank, before releasing each fish...

... and I caught/nicked all these fish on a Conehead Woolly Bugger like this...
Black Conehead Woolly Bugger, #8 Mustad 9672.JPG
Black Conehead Woolly Bugger, #8 Mustad 9672.JPG (355.49 KiB) Viewed 490 times
That said, if I could only have ONE STREAMER all season long, it'd be my Black Leech... #2 would be the black CHWB...

So I do think there is a difference in both these patterns... just saying...

By the way, I bet we all have our own favorite fly patterns, and we should fish those with confidence... I firmly believe this, if an angler attaches a fly to his/her tippet that he/she doesn't think will seduce a trout, chances are the trout feel the same way...

And, I gave my buddy Forrest (44hutch) some black zonker strip so he can tie his own Black Leeches...

Ed

wiFlyFisher
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Re: the Black Leech

Post by wiFlyFisher » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:24 pm

Ed,

I will have to try your black leech pattern.

My black woolly buggers I use grizzly hackle for adding some contrast to the fly and it's movement and yes, I have great confidence in the pattern I tie. :D

Mine are not quite as big as yours.

Image

This one is close...

Image

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