For some reason Fly-fishing is along the same lines as today's electronic craze. Everyone rushes out to grab the newest fangled device because somehow it will improve your daily life. "I just got this iPhone 5GSTX. It's amazing! It tells me when I should actually communicate with another human being...in person..." Anyway...fly-fishing is the same way. New flies, lines, rods, waders, jackets, dynamite, err...I mean...nets, yes nets. When they come out someone has to have it. This doesn't happen as much with other items as it does flies. I believe "A River Runs Through It" summarizes it best. He tied on some new fangled fly the size of a chicken and heaved it out there. New flies make appearances throughout the year and when they do people always want them.
Sometimes newer isn't better but we are starting a new blog tradition here at Creeky. Twice a week we will be choosing a fly and giving instructions on how to tie it up, how to fish it and where to use it. So let us proceed with our first victim, the Moal Leech. You will probably need two vices for this fly or if you have an articulated attachment for your vice ignore that.
Thread 6/0, 3/0- color matches the front crosscut color
Backing 20-50lb (Gel Spun works best for the threading)
Crosscut Rabbit Strips (Many color combos, which we will dive into)
Flashabou- Multiple colors, personal favorites are Holographic pearl, blue, purple and red
Gamakatsu Octopus Hooks #2
Gamakatsu B10S #1-4
Large Coneheads- Silver, black, pink, or orange
Optional: Lead wire, Schlappen, Guinea, Beer (preferably Rainier)
Step 1: Place vice on table....Ok I keed, I keed. Seriously though put the vice on the table. Take the Gama B10S hook, slide conehead onto hook, run backing through back of conehead to the eye, feed the backing through the eye and then back through the front of the conehead. Tie down your thread and over the two pieces of backing. Zap-a-Gap the shank and let it dry for a minute.
Step 2: Pinch the backing and thread it through the Gama Octo Hook, pull that loop through and over the hook bend and pull it tight. Set your fly length by taking the tag end of the backing (the one not glued to the shank already). Once you have determined your length, run that tag back to the hook, tie it down with thread and Zap-a-Gap.
Step 3: Choose your crosscut color combo. We generally like pink/purple, blue/black, purple, black, etc. I will get into those later. After you chose your color. Zap-a-Gap the backing, pinch the crosscut onto the backing just in front of the trailing hook eye, and wrap forward, crosscut fibers angling towards the back of the fly, pinching down each wrap to secure the crosscut via the Zap-a-Gap. If you are doing a dual colored fly follow the instructions in 3b. If not, wrap all the way to the conehead gluing the shank periodically.
Step 3b: Once you get one wrap on the shank, pinch it down, cut it, and tie back over the crosscut a bit with the thread. Add your next color, making sure you are wrapping it the same way, tie it down, hit it with some glue and wrap forward to the conehead.
Step 4: Cut the excess rabbit off, tie it down with a few wraps of thread. Take your Flashabou, cut 3-5 strands out, tie it on one side of fly, trim so it is the same length as the fly. Repeat this process on the other side.
Step 5: Take some rabbit from your front color, pull the hairs off the strip, and dub it on your thread. Wrap tight to the conehead, whip finish and trim. Cut the front hook at the crosscut wrap with a pair of metal cutters. Your fly is read to fish.
Options: There are a multitude of color combinations and optional things you can do with this fly, which is what makes it one of the most versitile flies on the market today. You can fish it for winter steel, summer steel, trout, bass and salmon. You can change the length of the fly by changing the length of your backing. You can swap out the dubbing with guinea or schlappen and give it more contrast. Some guys slide a bead above the trailing hook and wrap crosscut around that. The options are endless.
Popular Colors: Purple/Pink, Red/Orange, Black, Purple, Black/Blue, Olive, White, Flesh/Red, Purple/Baby Blue, Cerise/Pink, Pink. You can basically decide what colors you want and make them your own.
This fly is super simple to tie and has so many applications it would be a folly to not at least, have some in your box, especially you steelheaders.
We also have a fly-tying page on our site where you will be able to peruse this info at your own leisure, considering we are updating the blog a lot more frequently now and I know scrolling down is taxing... You can go here to find it Fly-Tying Corner
Until next time.
Feed Fish Flies, Not Toxins