Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Rabbit Strip Patterns That Do Not Foul Your Hook

Tie in some rabbbit strips and then add a few turns of rabbit on the shank done! Not so fast! Yes there is a problem with rabbit strips.. They can foul the hook so they do need some reinforcement near the curve of the hook shank so the rabbit strip does not droop too badly and tangle on the tip of the hook.

There are two or three simple solutions to the problem. Try tying in some bucktail first to help prop up the rabbit strip, or use some 20 pound mono in a loop. Some tyers like to poke a hole in their rabbit strip and loop some mono through to add some reinforcement so the rabbit strip will not droop. All of these ideas work well. They add just a single extra step that will definitely help on the water! Rabbit strip leeches move so nicely in the water although they can get heavy when wet. They will certainly get the attention of a big brown trout, pike, walleye or what ever you are targeting in the water.

...a simple idea that will save you some frustration on the water!


Monday, March 27, 2023


John Kent developed this great little pattern many years ago. He initially used a glass orange bead, then a brass orange bead and now; we can tie them up with tungsten Head Turner Beads on jig hooks.

I love head turner beads because you can hang this pattern under a strike indicator in a balanced (horizontal presentation) fashion by using a clinch knot and sliding the knot slightly towards the body of the fly. The tail is olive marabou, the body is a blend of olive rabbit with a pinch of olive ice dub and the hackle is orange. You can keep the hackle sparse by stripping the hackle fibers off of one side of the feather. If you die your own hackle feathers, try unsweetened kool aid with grizzly hackle. John did not reinforce the hackle with wire because he figured the hackle was buried far enough inside the dubbing to keep it from falling apart. Many tyers do decide to add a wire rib to reinforce their pumpkinheads. I do not!

Remember you can purchase head turner beads from Canadian Llama Company.


What Is Your "Go To " Balanced Leech?

Where did this snow storm come from? Spring weather in Red Deer, so unpredictable. I have been at my tying vice trying to fill in the gaps in my tying kit and as I discovered, there are a lot of gaps! My mind has been visualizing getting back out on the water, so I had better get busy! Blood worms, chironomids, and balanced flies have been on my tying vice lately. 

Last week, Parks Canada opened bookings in their new and improved system to secure backcountry camp sites. Karen and I love backpacking and fly fishing in the National Parks in Alberta. We feel so lucky to have to opportunity to enjoy such a spectacular place. The backcountry since COVID has become popular but 99% of those individuals do not fly fish! We were lucky enough to get several backcountry bookings!

Last night I was tying up some damsel patterns for an upcoming trip and then some balanced flies. I got thinking about what are the flies that are your "confidence" flies. We all have them, me included. I always have a variety of balanced flies but the Vampire Leech (Todd Oishi) and the Bruised Leech (Phil Rowley) seem to be the two that I reach for. I have also been tying up a lot of Tokaryk Specials. The Tokaryk Special was developed for fly fishing in the Parkland Region of Manitoba. I have had great success with this simple little pattern. Oh yes, my friend, Dave Green developed the Candy Corn. Another great pattern that I use not only for trout but also walleye!

What are your "Go To" balanced leeches? If you have time, send me a note and a picture and I will post them. Everyone definitely has their favourites. Me included!

Don't forget that fly tying sessions on Monday night are now over. Be sure to get your fly fishing license from Alberta Relm. Download the APP for your phone RIGHT HERE! That way you will always have your fishing license on your phone, unless you are over 65 years of age.

...and now it is time to reach for my snow shovel! ...sigh!