At the Vise: Landon Mayer’s Mini Leech

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.


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8 thoughts on “At the Vise: Landon Mayer’s Mini Leech

  1. I my experience, most fly patterns are “hot” from time to time. The “time to time” is why we carry so many in our vests!

  2. There’s a time and place for everything. Trying to figure that out is part of the fun, but try as we might, we can’t will a fly to work no matter how much we like it – the fish get the final say.
    Never a bad idea to throw a change-up in the rotation.

    1. That can work. Or tie the fly with a tungsten bead and fish that as an anchor? I don’t have any evidence to justify it, but I like fishing this fly solo. I wonder if putting it on a dropper tag would limit the fly’s ability move/undulate?

  3. I’ve also had really good luck with this fly (tungsten bead) swung deep in the current in the Spring time.

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