A few years ago, I decided to tie leech patterns. I had heard that they worked and was very excited that this was The Magic Fly.
I’m a huge fan of Tim Flagler’s and was fortunate to take a fly-tying clinic with him. So, when he posted the video below, complete with his exhortation that the pattern was very effective, I was absolutely certain that this was it.
I fished the patterns throughout that year, from the coldest of winter days to summer’s sparkling sunny days. And, I never had a take on any of them.
Gradually, I stopped fishing them. I even considered stripping off the materials to recycle the hooks, but the leeches stayed in an overflow fly box that I had. I forgot about them.
This winter, I gave those flies a quick glance and decided for no good reason to take them out for a spin. On a recent, snowy winter outing, I deployed the Euro-streamer game (our overview here) on an all mono-rig, as I didn’t want to trouble with iced guides.
I am glad that I did.
At one deep spot, I put on Landon Mayer’s Mini Leech. On the first cast I felt a “thump” on the line, set the hook and felt weight. A good fish burrowed deep. To tire it, I reeled up to put the bend of the rod closer to the butt and I held on. I hoped my knots would hold.
After some give and take, I saw a flash of a good brown trout before it dove deep and I guessed that it might be 18″ or so. But, when it flopped into the net, I could tell that it was larger than that.
Fat, lively and with some sharp teeth, this hen taped a bit over 21″.
I’ve caught some memorable browns, and this one ranks in the Top Three with a 23″ broodstock buck and a 22″ female that looked clean and wild to me. These are amazing creatures to behold!
Every day on the water is a great opportunity to learn something new. Why was this fly suddenly “hot” for me? Why didn’t it work in the past?
I suspect the answers are unknowable. Things happen, the river graces us with its beauty each and every time, and on occasion a special brown trout shows itself.
But I do know I will be tying up more of this pattern with the hope that good luck will one day again cross my path.