The Leech Fly

There is no doubt that fish love to eat leeches. They have no means of defence, are very soft and swim through the water with a very tantalizing wiggle. There are all sorts of soft plastic baits that do a great job of imitating leeches, but a rabbit fur leech fly…it’s a thing of beauty when it hits the water.

I don’t know for sure the fish actually think this is a leech, but with out doubt there is something about rabbit fur that drives fish nuts. It has that graceful undulation in the water that just screams “life”. Does the head actually represent an egg? In my opinion, the bright head adds a definite target for the fish to zero in on, wether they think it is an egg or just a fish with a bloody nose I don’t know, but I do know this pattern works when a lot of other patterns don’t. So far I have caught Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Rainbows (migratory and resident) Large Mouth Bass, Small Mouth Bass, and have had pan fish try to eat it, the bigger ones actually get hooked! I have a few tied up in 2 and 2/0 that I have been meaning to throw for pike, but never really got around to it.

The Egg Sucking Rabbit Leech can be tied in just about any colour to represent pretty much anything. I tie them mostly on size 12, 8 and 6 hooks, with a few 2 and 2/0 leeches for pike. The 2 centre rows of my bunny fly box are all this leech pattern, I also have some tied with cone heads just to add a bit more flash over the regular eyes.

What you are going to need to tie these flies….
Hook – any 2XL streamer hook. I like the Mustad R73-9671
Eyes – Hour Glass, colour depends on your preference.
Tail and Body – Cross Cut Rabbit Fur. The colour depends on water clarity, and what you want to represent.
Head – Red, Yellow, Orange, Green or any contrasting bright colour wool works great.

I like using wool or any coarse dubbing for the head. Im not sure it does anything for the fish, it just looks cool to me. Having that contrast in both colour and texture just works for me. At the end of the video you can see how the fly moves in the water. Using this fly is the best part, you pretty much cant fish it wrong, unless of course you keep it in your box! This fly can be fished any way you can think of, from swinging, to the classic upstream cast and retrieve, you can even dead sticking it on bottom for long periods of time. Its all in the rabbit fur, any little bit of current or movement makes the fly have this illusion of life. Trying to invoke a reaction strike, try stripping it in as fast as you can. The fur flutters through the water column or make long strips followed by long pauses, really making the bait move up and down through the water column. It really is one of the most useful, and used flies in my box. Add this fly to your arsenal, you wont be disappointed.

Daniel Notarianni

A Toronto based angler who has a need to share what he learns while he travels to discover new fishing challenges.

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