Thread: MFC 8/0 or UTC 70 (Color to match naturals)
Tail: Marabou (Color to match naturals)
Body: Aftershaft Feathers Spun In a Dubbing Loop
Hackle: Natural or Dyed Pheasant Rump
Tying Note: Use two contasting colors of marabou for the tail and aftershaft feathers for the body to create a mottled body to match the varigated look of a natural leech.
My fly box is a combination of two themes, one somewhat bright and attractive the other dull and subdued a kind of night before morning after approach if you will. The brighter side of the ledger comes into play when trout are dour and in need of a jump-start or water conditions such as those in algae stained waters demand a degree of attraction. When plying clear waters a subtle and imitative approach is often the key to success along with those waters whose trout have become wary under the duress of angler pressure.
Fashioned completely out of dull supple materials the Aftershaft Leech pulses and breaths during the decent be prepared for takes on the drop. Numerous color combinations are possible by mixing and matching various aftershaft feathers. Dyed pheasant rump is the most consistent source of these unique feathers. The Aftershaft Leech is an ideal candidate for clear waters and cautious trout as once it becomes saturated it is a dead ringer for the slender slimy two to three inch leeches trout prefer.
Despite their blindness leeches are confident swimmers moving through the water in a ribbon like manner. Ten to fifteen wraps of .010" lead wire substitute wrapped under the body provides a natural pitching motion to the fly. During the heat of summer they become increasingly active and it is common to see leeches cruising boldly through open water. Favorite leech retrieves ranging from the pace of an almost chironomid like retrieve to a steady four or twelve-inch strip. Experiment until the trout decide which retrieve meets with their approval.
1) Cover the front half of the hook with lead wire or a lead wire substitute. Use a red permanent marker and color the hook eye to identify it as a weighted pattern.
2) Tie in the marabou tail. I prefer using two contrasting colors to compliment body colors. The finished tail should be about shank length.
3) Prepare a number of aftershaft feathers by pinching the tip away and trimming the butt section of the feather that was attached to the parent feather. For a size 8 hook 4-5 aftershaft feathers should suffice. Pheasant rump or grizzly marabou feathers are the best source of aftershaft feathers.
4) Pull down a length of tying thread long enough to accommodate the prepared aftershaft feathers. Coat the tying thread with dubbing wax. Lay the prepared feathers on top of the waxed thread so the stem of the feather runs parallel to the tying thread. Alternate the different coloured aftershaft feathers tip to butt to create a mottled look to the fly.
5) Form a dubbing loop around a hook style dubbing tool and bring the tying thread back up to the hook shank pinching the aftershaft feathers between the thread strands of the dubbing loop. Gently twist the dubbing noodle tight to avoid casting the feathers from the loop. When the aftershaft fibres stand perpendicular to the dubbing noodle they have been twisted tight enough . Wind the completed dubbing noodle forward over the hook shank in close touching turns to the hook eye. After each wrap pull the aftershaft fibres back out the way to avoid trapping them down. Tie off and trim the excess dubbing noodle.
6) Tie in a natural or dyed pheasant rump feather at the hook eye by the butt, wet fly style with the most prominently marked or convex side of the feather facing you. Choose a pheasant rump feather with fibres that reach back to about the mid point of the tail.
7) Wind the pheasant rump feather in front of the body two to three times as the feather allows. Tie off and remove the excess. Sweep and pinch the fibres so they flow back along the body. Build a neat head, whip finish and apply head cement.