Don's Fly Tying - The Labounty Leech


[The Labounty Leech]

Dentists are not always painful! Aside from being a very good professional, my Kelowna dentist, Dr. Al La Bounty, is an avid outdoorsman. We have had several stimulating conversations, if you can define it that way with a mouth full of dental equipment, about many aspects of the great outdoors. Flyfishing, however, appears to be Dr. La Bounty's greatest priority and from my perspective, how can one argue with that?

The good doctor not only can cast a fly with great dexterity but he also is an accomplished fly tier. I recall one early September day that we had an appointment not in a dentist's chair but at Lunbom Lake, near Merritt. Our choice of water transport that day was belly tubes and, as fly fishermen always do, we compared notes on the best fly to use before entering the water. Al showed me a blood leech unlike anything that I had seen before that he intended to fish. It was a blend of black and red seal hair dubbed evenly along the shank of a size 8 tiemco hook. The preparation of the blend is easy, simply place equal parts of the red and black seal hair into a small electric coffee bean grinder and switch the power on. A few seconds later, you will have the perfect mix for this fly. There is one additional trick. After tying a few flies, boil a cup of water and drop the newly tied Labounty leeches into the hot water for a couple of minutes. When you take them out, immediately smooth the seal hair back along the hook shank by firmly pulling from the hook eye to the bend several times with your thumb and two fingers. Be very careful though as it is quite easy to get nicked by the hook point in this operation.

Oh yes, what happened that September day on Lunbom? Al took 3 nice fish on his blood leech and I only hooked and subsequently lost one fish on a silver muddler. It was enough to convince me to tie up several of Al's special leeches. Since that day, I have had success with the Labounty leech not only at Lunbom, but also at Hatheume and Wasny Lakes.

Materials

Instructions

Mix equal parts of black and red seal hair. A small portable electric coffee bean grinder is excellent for this. I recommend using invisible mending thread for this fly but red or orange tying thread will also do. I make my own dubbing tool by removing the cotton from the end of a Q tip swab and then I screw in a very small metal eye hook, making sure that there is enough of an opening in the eye for the tying thread to easily pass through. To start on the fly, half hitch your tying thread securely near the bend of the hook. Then make about a three inch loop with your tying thread and half hitch to the same spot on the hook shank. Attach the eye of your dubbing tool to the loop and let it hang down from the hook. Next take some of the blended seal hair and roll it between your fingers so it stretches out about 2 1/2 inches long and place it in the 3 inch loop. The final step is to twist the dubbing tool until the seal hair forms a thin, long, shape (the seal hair ends will stick straight out). As the loop, which is now a tighly twisted length of seal hair, was attached at the hook bend, it is a simple matter to wind it forward around the hook shank to the hook eye and tie off. You can add a turn or two of red or orange swannundaze at the eye for the final step. Cement and whip finish. After the head cement is dry, drop the fly in a cup of boiling water, extract after a minute or two and carefully force the seal hair ends back along the fly body as described above. You can experiment with different sizes of the Labounty leech but my best success has been with a medium to small size.



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