Don's Fly Tying - the Chamois Leech

[Chamois Leech]

I have just arrived back from another tough winter in Arizona, golfing every second day and complaining about the heat! My Okanagan friends remind me that this past winter was indeed colder than past years so they are quick to tell me exactly where I can stuff my complaints! Oh well, someone has to do it! I must say however, that I must be getting a bit smarter in my advancing years because I did tie some flies between golf games down south this year. My friend, Bob Turner from Iowa, gave me a fly tying kit that he had given up on so I said, "Sure Bob, I will tie you up a few flies in exchange for the materials in the kit." One of the flies I tied for Bob is the Chamois Leech which is the feature fly for this month. The kit had a few strips of tanned chamois leather which is kind of a dirty orange yellow colour, unlike that of any natural leech. The trick is to colour the strips with a dark green or black permanent marking pen and voila, you have the desired leech colour to go with the undulating motion of the chamois hide that projects past the hook bend! Let's have a look at how this interesting fly is tied.



I start the process by changing the natural colour of the chamois strip to black with a permanent marking felt pen. I also trim the chamois strip to slightly more than 1/8 inch wide, make a pointed end, and finally cut it to just over twice as long as the hook shank, then I set it aside. The body is wound with black or dark green mohair in a slight cigar shape. Next tie in a throat hackle with a green pheasant rump feather. Now lay the prepared chamois on top of the hook shank and first tie it down at the hook eye. The tail past the hook bend should be about twice the hook shank length. Because you are using invisible thread, you can now rib the body back in large segments, tie the chamois strip firmly at the hook bend and then follow the same rib pattern forward to the hook eye without distorting the body colour although the same result can be achieved using black or dark green tying thread. Tie off, cement and you have finished a very interesting leech pattern that features good underwater movement!

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