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The Bunny Leech Step-by-Step:
In my eyes, rabbit fur is one of the most overlooked natural materials in fly tying. Yes, I’ll concede flies tied with it can be a bit on the bulky side and difficult to cast on lighter rods. Yet, the motion it imparts with the slightest strip of line more than makes up for this. Add in its slow sink rate when tied weightless and the material is near impossible to beat for shallow water streamers. Fairly cheap by tying standards and easy to use, it is a wonder it is not held in similar regard to the hackles and bucktails tyers fawn over.
This is not to suggest that patterns such as the Zonker do not have a devoted following, but instead an argument in favor of the material’s other varied uses: the Meat Whistle, Pike Bunny and Bunny Leech among them. It is a cone headversion of the latter presented below.
|Gamakatsu BS10 Stinger (#4-1/0)||140 Denier (Black)||Large Brass Cone head (Black)|
|Zonker Rabbit Strip (Black)||Crosscut Rabbit (Chartreuse/Purple)||Flash (Under tail; Color to Match)|
Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:
(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge)
Tips and Tricks
- Going Weightless – The above pattern is tied with a brass cone head with the intent of fishing it deeper. Consider forgoing this added weight if you’re fishing the shallows or above submerged weeds. With near neutral buoyancy, an unweighted bunny leech almost suspends in the water column when a slow strip-pause retrieve is utilized. I have a small collection tied for this very purpose set aside in a box labeled “Pickerel” that I hope to put to good use in the coming months.
- Crosscut Rabbit Quality – Be selective when choosing your crosscut rabbit for this pattern. This pattern should have a fairly thick and uniform body. If the strip utilized contains sparse patches, or hair of uneven length, the outcome may not be quite as desired. Compare the finished product in our Step-by-Step to the image at the top of the page for reference. Both will produce, but I prefer a finished fly similar to the example at the top whenever possible.
Proof of Concept
As the bass became active in my backyard test pond last March, I tied up a series of Bunny Leech patterns including the color combination above. My intent was to use them as a spin fisher would use a jig and pig, working them slowly along the bottom as the undulating fur did the majority of the work. While a number of color combos (most notably Red/Black) produced as well, it was the Purple/Chartreuse/Black combo above that did produced consistently.
While the majority of fish landed were in the 1-2 lbs size class as shown, a few fish pushing 3 lbs fell for this color combo as well.