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The Popsicle Leech
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Hook:     Daiichi 2220 #2-#8
Thread:  MFC 6/0 or 8/0, Color to compliment marabou color
Tail:       Marabou mixed with a few strands of Flashabou
Hackle:  Polar Chenille
Body:     Crystal Chenille, color to compliment marabou color
Collar:    Strung Marabou 
Bead:     Copper, silver, gold or hot orange cone 
Tying Note:  Tie this pattern in a variety of colors and sizes.  Try using a Magic Tool to manage and measure the marabou on size 6 or smaller Popsicle Leeches

Quesnel Lake in the central interior of British Columbia is a body of water were, “Big fly big fish” rings true.  During a trip to this spectacular fishery as a result of an invitation extended from Sue Barton manager of Elysia Resort (, John Booth and I were blessed to experience this adage first hand.  Choosing to find fish by covering water we decided upon leech patterns.  John knotted on a pattern first shown to him by Cariboo Fly and Tackle’s Jason Brautigam the Popsicle Leech.  During previous trips to Quesnel Lake Jason had experienced fantastic fishing using this pattern.  Based upon some discussion John and I had prior to our arrival he supplemented Jason’s original design through the addition of a hot orange fluorescent bead.


Besides its gargantuan size Quesnel Lake differs from many British Columbia stillwaters in that it is primarily fueled by annual sockeye migrations.  Quesnel Lake rainbows, dollies and lake trout grow large and fat through a healthy diet of sockeye flesh, eggs, fry and smolt.  Based upon previous trips it became apparent that the predacious Quesnel Lake residents implanted through years of genetic repetition of feasting on the rich plunder of sockeye and other fish eggs knew the caloric importance of orange.  Egg sucking style leech patterns seemed to always outperform their more somber counterparts. 


The Popsicle Leech garners its name from the hackling style borrowed from the famous Popsicle steelhead and salmon pattern created by George Cook.  Tied in by the tip three quarters of the way up the hook shank behind the bead the marabou plume pulses and breathes revealing its seductive flamboyant body during the pauses of an active strip retrieve.  You can also use a Magic Tool to control the marabou and create the colar using a dubbing loop.   Try blending different colors of marabou together to create intersting mottled versions.


The original version did not have a body hackle of any kind.  As a result it was prone to having the marabou collar and tail foul the hook from time to time.  I began adding a body hackle of Polar Chenille to reduce this tendency.  The Polar Chenille also provided an inner 'glow' to the pattern.  During the strip pause retrieve a favor for the pattern the marabou flows over the Polar Chenille on the strip portion of the retrieve providing a subdued look.  On the pause the marabou opens up showing its shiney centre, taunting and winking at any near by trout.  Takes are often confident and agreesive when using a Popsicle Leech.


I recall during the early evening of a beautiful blue banner day when a brown Popsicle Leech with a gold Crystal Chenille body out performed all other patterns by a considerable margin.  Other colors to try include maroon and black, and brown and olive.  An all white version consisting of white marabou tail and collar, pearlescent Crystal Chenille body, UV Pearl Polar Chenille, silver cone with red recessed eyes is a deadly baitfish pattern.  It has become a favorite pattern not only for large trout but walley and pike too.  Pike are especially fond of articulated white Popsicle Leeches. 

Tying Instructions:

1) Slide a cone onto the hook shank forward to hook eye.  Place the hook into the jaws of the vise.  Attach the tying thread behind the cone.  Cover the hook shank with tying thread.  Strip and fold a clump of marabou fibres on top of itself from tip to the butt from one side of a marabou plume.  Secure the folded marabou behind the bead down to the bend forming a shank length tail.  Do not tear the tail to length.  This technique keeps the tips intact and provides maximum motion. Tie in two to four strands of SuperFlash or Flashabou into the tail.  Trim the SuperFlash even with the tips of the tail.

2) Tie in a length of Crystal Chenille at the base of the tail by its thread core.  Secure the Polar Chenille body hackle in place just forward of the Crystal Chenille tie in point.  Place the first complete wrap of Crystal Chenille behind the Polar Chenille.  This practice ensures the Polar Chenille hackle radiates in a perpendicular fashion and does not accidently blend in with the tail.  Wind the balance of the Crystal Chenille forward stopping one cone length behind the cone to form the body.  Tie off the Crystal Chenille and trim the excess.  . Palmer the Polar Chenille over the Crystal Chenille body, tie off and remove the excess.

3) Lay a single plume of marabou on to on a Magnum Magic Tool bench.  Pull down gently on the marabou folding it into the jaws of the Magnum Magic Tool bench.  Trim the tip and butt section of the feather sticking out the sides of the bench.

4) Using the clear Magic Tool clip grab the folded marabou by the tips.  The clear clip allows length adjustment of the marabou so it is proportionate to the size of the particular Popsicle Leech.  Open and slide the Magnum Magic Tool bench to expose the marabou stem.  Trim stem from the folded marabou plume.

5) Form a dubbing loop behind the cone.  Insert a dubbing twister into the dubbing loop and let hang.  Wedge the Magic Tool Clip holding the marabou tips into the dubbing loop.  Pull down on the loop with the dubbing twister pinching the trimmed marabou butts in the thread loop.  Open the Magic Tool clip releasing the trimmed marabou and gently slide away.

6) Spin the dubbing loop tight.  Begin slowly and increase tempo.  When the marabou fibres radiate 90 degrees to the loop wind it forward.  Stroke the marabou hackle a few times to release any trapped or twisted fibres.  Wind and sweep the marabou hackle using close touching turns to the rear of the cone.  Pack the marabou tightly behind the cone.   Tie off and trim the excess marabou hackle.  Coat ˝ inch of tying thread with super glue or head cement and wind it directly behind the cone carrying the glue to the base of the marabou hackle.  Whip finish and remove the tying thread.

7) Push the cone back against the marabou hackle.  Attach the tying thread at the in front of the cone.  Build a neat tapered head forcing the cone back against the marabou hackle.  Whip finish and apply head cement.

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