Ah, September, warm days but cool nights in the sunny Okanagan, just right to chase the doldrums from trout that have hid in deeper waters of local lakes and start a fall feeding frenzy! Summer heat typically slows fishing to a crawl in our area but some of the best action of the year can occur during our splendid autumn days! And one of the best flies to initiate savage strikes from large fish are the leech patterns. There are many good leech imitations and one that I particularly like is the simplified Coney Leech. The rabbit strip wing provides an attractive undulating action during the fly retrieve while the copper wire body provides enough weight to get the fly down where the fish often are! You should have more than one pattern for early fall fishing because the strikes are usually tippet breaking tough!
The conventional coney leech is tied with a wire rib back over the wire body to secure the wing but I have found that by attaching the rabbit strip wing with invisible thread, the wire rib, which is a tricky undertaking, is not necessary for fishing success! Therefore, the fly described is really a simplified Coney Leech without the rib but in my mind, equally effective. Start by slipping a black bead through to the hook eye. Next wind a tight body of medium copper wire hook eye to bend followed by a back wrap of your invisible mending thread to secure the wire. Now tie in a black rabbit strip at the bead, then move your thread to the hook bend and secure the strip there as well. The final step is a bit tricky and that is to wind your invisible thread matuka style through to the bead where you will tie it off. Take care in this step to ensure the rabbit hair does not get tied down as you wind it forward through the body. Cement just behind the bead and you have finished a great autumn leech pattern!
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