A few months ago I was at meeting in which Mike Jacobs was doing a demo for our local fly tying group. For those unfamilar with Jake's talents, I will mention that Mike used to tie flies for the likes of Mike Lawson no less. Mike is also one of the founding members of the HFFA and owns a fly tying business called the Hawkeye Fly Tyer ( which is actually sort of one of my competitors if you will ). Jake has taught fly tying, demoed and made loads of flies over the years and is a very good tyer. Anyway, my first reaction to this fly was a bit lukewarm as I thought this fly was too simple and basically pretty ugly. Had I known the effectiveness of this fly earlier, I would not have turned up my nose so quickly.
On a whim I tied a few of these flies and tossed them in my bag and took them on a bass outting with my cousin Jeff, my friend Don Fiepel and our friend Mike Holle. While casting in a boat with Don and Mike at Indian Lake, I hooked up to a pretty nice fish. As soon as the fish took the fly, I tried to put him on the reel and land him. Somehow, this one got the best of me, headed for a brush pyle and broke me off. Both Don and Mike really didn't believe me that I had a nice fish on. Awhile later I was fishing with my cousin in his boat. Don and Mike pulled up beside us and asked how we were doing. I replied ," Well , okay." I asked Mike how he was doing and he said, " I caught a nice bass, it must have been similar to the one you caught because I found this stuck in his mouth.".........( He said this as he held up one of the black beady eyed leeches I was using, obviously the one I had broken off earlier). I said," See it was a nice fish!" We both laughed and I was dismayed that he actually caught a fish with my fly in it's mouth!
The beady eyed leech is a painfully simple fly to make and it has a really good action to it. The major ingredient is angora yarn or mohair yarn as it is some times called. The yarn itself is a spun loose type rabbit hair.This yarn is most often seen on those hurtin' 50's retro vintage style sweaters popularized in that awful movie," Grease". Mike Jacobs swears that he has the only stock of the really good stuff and for only $1.50 he will sell you some. I really don't think that matters so much. Any good mohair or angora will work.
The original fly is black, but for those unfamilar with leeches, they are sort of wide and flat. In the water, they typically drift and move very slowly in an undulating fashion. Most often the colors are black and brown, although some times they are red, claret, purple or olive. In olive the leech fly can be fished for a damsel or a dragon nymph also. If you fish in any sort of lake, you really ought to carry a few of these reguardless of whether you are fishing for bass, bluegills or trout.
Now for the flies.........
Mike Jacob's Beady Eyed Leech
Hook: Mustad 9672 size 8
Thread: Black 6/0
Eye: Silver or Gold 1/8" bead chain
Tail: Marbou ( add 5-10 strands of red or gold flashabou if you wish)
Body: Angora or Mohair yarn: black, olive, purple, claret, blood red
Hackle: Hen Saddle or Chinese neck to match body
Begin by tying in the eye in figure 8 wraps. Add a drop of super glue or Zap a Gap to the eyes. Tie in the tail equal to the hook shank, ending your wraps behind the eyes. Move thread back to tie in point of the marabou and tie in the yarn. Move thread forward. Wrap yarn so that it is tight. Tie in a saddle hackle and make 2-3 turns. Finish head. That's it. This fly is nice for kids, beginner's and such, although don't let the ease of making this fly put you off. You make them longer or shorter if you wish in sizes 6 or 10. Adding a wire is okay too. To make them really fuzzy, comb or rough them up using one of my popicle sticks vel-cro dubbing tools.
Mike's Feather Leeches
After I fished this fly , I was reminded that last year while fishing with my cousin Jeff and I, my friend Don caught the most bass using a yellow bead eye leech. After making the beady eyed leech, I thought I would bring this one back to give you some ideas. The original feather leech has been adapted from Dave Whitlock's Electric Leech and his Eelworm fly. I found that a shorter style fishes better for me and is nearly as effective. They aren't hard to make and they have always been a good fly to fish for me.
The feather leeches are similar to the beady eyed leech. I prefer using salmon hooks for the base as the little loop hook eyes allow me to have a sort of a stand to tie the eyes on. Salmon hooks are also heavy wire and pretty sturdy and won't bend. For favorite colors I like a Badger-Natural Seal Color, Motor-Oil, Black n' Claret, Orange. Yellow N Grizzly or Black and Grizzly are good too. If you have a long time favorite worm type color, don't be afraid to give it a shot.
Tying Mike's Feather Leech
Hook: Mustad 36890, size 6
Thread: 6/0 Black
Eye: 1/8" Bead chain, gold or silver
Tail: Splayed out Saltwater neck or Chinese Neck hackle
Body: Dubbed fur, Seal or Antron
Body hackle: 2 palmer wrapped hackles
I start by tying in a pair of eyes and super glue them down. Then I move the thread back and I splay out 2 hackles on each side of the body. If I use mixed colors for the tail, I put the dark one on the inside and the lighter one on the outside. I don't like the tails really long, so I set them to be about 1 1/2 x the length of the hook. I set 2 feathers on top of each other and stroke the fibers down so that all the hackle fibers radiate out from the feather stem at a right angle. Next I tie the feathers in by the tip.
I use a lot of dubbing and make a pretty fat body. I like seal fur ( SLF is a good sub if you like ), Antron, Llama's wool for the body. To get a motor oil mix, I take equal parts of the rust, olive and squirrel belly colors and finger mix them. For the black-claret, I use Whitlock's Black stonefly mix or Kaufman's Black stone. I have mixed black Llama and claret with some Angel Hair mixed in too.
Dub the body and wrap the hackle. Stop behind the eyes. Cut off hackle. Next I dub around the eyes in figure 8 wraps. I finish off the head and wrap up against the eyes.
For more Info Contact:
Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068