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Mini Leech Jig Step-by-Step:
“One thing in the world I hate: leeches. Filthy little devils.” – Humphrey Bogart as Charlie Allnut in The African Queen
Maybe I just watched The African Queen a few too many times as a child, but I have to agree with Bogart. There are few things in the aquatic realm that make me squirm more than the leech. Still, these blood-sucking annelids warrant respect from anglers. Abundant and cosmopolitan, they provide forage to fish across the globe.
From the fly tyer’s perspective, any number of patterns may prove an effective mimic. Few, however, offer the fluidity of movement provided by Mayer’s Mini Leech. Tied jig-style as shown, the zonked pine squirrel tail undulates with each strip of the angler’s line. Sized to match the small leeches (~1″) most commonly encountered in freshwater systems, stripped, swung or dead-drifted depending on the situation.
|Jig-style Hook (#16)||70 Denier (Black)||2.5-mm slotted Tungsten (Nickel Black)|
|Zonked Pine Squirrel (Black)||Ostrich Herl (Black)|
Mini Leech Jig Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:
(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge)
Tips and Tricks
- Flash Optional – Mayer’s original Mini Leech benefits from a few wraps Holo Tinsel around the shank. While I didn’t include any such flash above consider adding some for added attraction. Either a few wraps around the shank or two strands tied in below the tail ought to do the trick.
- Match the Hatch – As with most flies, matching the hatch is key. Leeches are no exception. Growing up in the northeast, I primarily remember finding leeches that were dark brown or almost black. Here in Louisiana, they’re often lighter brown or a mottled olive. When it’s time to fill your box, concentrate on colors that match your local leech populations.
- A Damsel as well – Landon Mayer has actually taken the jigged version of his mini leech a step further and turned it into a damselfly nymph as well. Check it out: Here.
Proof of Concept
While far from the size I’d like to be catching, this black crappie was kind enough to provide proof of concept for the above pattern. It, along with several of similar size, were landed during a quick stop at my favorite roadside ditch.
Given the number of adults landed in the same waterway, I’m curious if these are last year’s spawn. Regardless, I’ll be checking back frequently as the cool season progresses.
Species Caught on the Mini Leech Jig Fly to Date:
- Black Crappie
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