Phil's Fly Box:
The Damsel Leech Thing
Debarb the hook and slide on a small gold bead up to the eye. Place the hook into the vise and attach the thread at the rear of the bead. Cover the shank with tying thread to provide a solid base for the balance of the fly.
was late fall, foraging trout were tight to shore, stuffing themselves
in anticipation the up coming winter. Reflecting upon his 30 plus
years of fly-fishing the interior lakes good friend and guide
Gord Honey knew this spot well. We anchored so close to shore
there was barely enough water to float the boat. About thirty feet
in front of us lay a shallow trench, a trout highway of sorts. Through
this gateway, pods of trout patrolled the rich shoreline weed beds
in search of scuds, immature damsels, leeches and dragons. Everything
was on the menu.
Step 2 :
Tie in a sparse clump of dark olive marabou. The finished
tail should be about shank length. I prefer to measure my
tails to length as opposed to tearing. This keeps the natural
swaying motion of the marabou tips intact. With the marabou
in place double two strands of gold Flashabou around the tying
thread. Slide the Flashabou up the tying thread and onto the
hook shank. Secure the Flashabou down the shank to the base
of the tail. Trim the Flashabou slightly longer than the marabou
to help prevent the tail from fouling.
up our dry lines we lengthened our leaders to fifteen feet. Since
the onset of frost the water had cleared up considerably. The fall
clarity coupled with shallow water made for spooky fish. Gord knotted
on his new fall favorite, a Damsel Leech Thing or DLT for short.
Without effort Gord fired his line out almost to the backing knot.
Allowing it to sink for a brief second he began an almost chironomid
paced hand twist retrieve. Under the slight breeze a slight bow
formed about half way up his fly line. Two thirds of the way through
his retrieve the bow straightened, Gord recognized the cause immediately
and lifted his rod to set the hook. The water erupted and things
became interesting as the trout bolted left and right instinctively
in search of deep water, debris or weeds, using all of its instincts
in an attempt to throw the fly. Gord was equal to the task and soon
we had the trout resting beside the boat. She was magnificent, polished
chrome and we estimated her to be at least six pounds. Gord repeated
this scene a number of times including a number of fish taken on
the drop as the fly settled after a cast. After an hour of this
abuse I couldn't take it any longer, I stripped my line in and tied
on my own D.L.T.
This is the Roots dubbing machine. It is the perfect tool
for mass-producing dubbing brushes and other wire reinforced
fly tying materials.
the past years, Gord noticed that during the fall months trout feed
heavily on immature damsels and leeches. Based upon his observations
he began searching for a simple design. After a short time Gord
put two and two together and amalgamated this trout fetish into
one pattern, the Damsel Leech Thing. Wanting to keep the overall
pattern size small a #10 2XL hook such as the Mustad 9671 or Tiemco
5262 served as the foundation. After sliding a small gold bead onto
the hook Gord added a tail of dark olive marabou mixed with a few
strands of gold Flashabou for added shimmer. A blend of equal parts
of golden olive and peacock Simi Seal formed the brushed out dubbed
body. To muddy the pattern slightly Gord tossed in a pinch of medium
brown dubbing. Instead of using a traditional thread dubbing loop
Gord substituted a loop of fine copper wire. Happy with his concept
Gord took the body a step further by making his own dubbing brushes
using a dubbing machine he fashioned out of an electric drill. Making
wire-dubbing brushes makes sense not only from a durability perspective
but from one of tying speed too. Recently, Roots Fly Tying Products
have begun marketing their own dubbing machine that spins dubbing
brushes out at an alarming rate. The possibilities of this machine
are endless and I encourage any tyer to give their machine serious
consideration. I have had so much fun with my own machine that at
times tying a fly seemed secondary.
Step 3 :
Prepare a second marabou clump in the same manner as the first.
Tie this clump in place along the hook shank sandwiching the
Flashabou between the two bunches of marabou. Return the tying
thread to the rear of the bead.
addition to the floating line and long leader combination Gord has
started using a 5-7 foot section of clear intermediate sinking leader
looped to the end of his floating line. These leaders are available
through Airflo or Rio. To the end of the intermediate leader Gord
adds 5 feet of tippet. This set up sinks at a perfect rate and casts
like a dream. No matter what the set up, the retrieve is the same,
a creepy crawly hand twist. Takes can be subtle or savage. It just
depends upon the mood of the fish.
DLT is a fly for all seasons but steps up to the plate during the
cool crisp days of fall. On so many of our interior lakes damsels
and or leeches are a preferred food source. The DLT is a simple
durable design created with this preference in mind.
The Frostbite Bloodworm
Hook: Tiemco 5262 or Mustad 9671 #10-14
Thread: Brown or Olive 8/0
Tail: Dark Olive Marabou and Gold Flashabou
Body: Mixture of Golden Olive, Peacock and Brown Simi Seal Twisted
in a Loop of Fine Copper Wire
Head: Small Gold Bead
Step 4 :
Take a long length of fine copper wire and double it end to
end. Secure the ends of the wire in place, beginning at the
rear of the bead. Secure the wire down the hook shank to form
a long loop. Return the thread to the bead once again.
Step 5 :
Slide the dubbing mix into the wire loop and twist it tight.
A pair of electrician's pliers works well. Wind the "dubbing
brush" forwards to form the body. Sweep the dubbing fibers
rearwards with each wrap. Tie of the dubbing brush behind
the bead and trim any excess.
Step 6 :
Whip finish and apply head cement. To provide a finishing
touch use a Velcro comb to roughen the body flowing the fibers
back along the fly in the process.
Step 7 :
The completed Damsel Leech Thing or D.L.T. for short.