Fly Patterns - Tiger Leech




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                  Tiger Leech



Tiemco 5263 (actually, I prefer the Daiichi 1260 with the

curved shank), size 2 - 10

Thread: Orange Danville 3/0 monocord or similar thread


.025” lead wire
Tail: Hot orange and black marabou

Tail Flash:

Black crystal flash
Body: Hot orange and opal black Estaz or Jay Fair “Short Shuck”



Mike Susslin will be leading the Lower American River steelhead outing this month. Egg patterns, along with alevin (baby salmon) patterns, are indispensable for success on the river at this time of year. But, rather than featuring egg patterns here, I highly recommend reading Scott Sanchez’s article in the Winter 2007 issue of Fly Tyer magazine, on page 40. The article is titled “Three Minute Eggs;’ it features many different egg styles, and discusses hooks, materials, and tying techniques in depth.


So, instead of featuring an egg pattern here, let’s do a leech pattern that you can swing on a floating or sink tip line. Lower American steelhead attack properly presented leeches, so it pays to have a few of these flies in your fly box. The pattern I have selected is one of Andy Burk’s many creations; he calls it the Tiger Leech. It’s simple to tie and uses common materials. See his article in the Nov/Dec 2007 issue of California Fly Fisher. So, let’s get busy.


Tying Instructions

1. Smash the hook barb unless you are using a barbless hook. Wind 6-8 turns of .025” lead on the hook, but leave about ¼” of room behind the eye. Use Flexament on the lead winds and hook shank. Cover the hook shank and lead with thread.


2. Just above the back of the barb tie on a clump of orange marabou, and then a slightly smaller clump of black marabou. The tail should be relatively long.


3.  At the same point, tie in three strands of black crystal flash on each side of the hook; trim it to the length of the tail.


4. At the same point, tie in a piece of black and a piece of orange Estaz or Jay Fair Short Shuck and advance the thread to the front of the hook.


5. Wrap these forward together (don’t twist them into a single strand) and tie them off behind the hook eye.


6. Form a small thread head and whip finish.




Tying Tips

1. Vary the colors to suit your needs. Try Jay Fair’s burnt orange color, which is a very fishy material. Olive works well too.

2. For the tail flash, try wrapping three strands around the tying thread; then bind the thread to the hook and hold the two halves of the flash apart so that they naturally go down both sides of the hook.


Swing this dude on a floating line with a long leader (12’) or on a sink tip with a shorter leader. Keep a firm grip on your rod because the steelies hit hard.




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