Catching trout isn’t easy, and besides presentation and the way you cast, one of the best ways to catch them is to present them with natural looking and appealing bait. While not surprising, leeches are some of the best bait that you can use, and using them is far easier than you probably imagine. Leeches are incredibly important in a trout’s diet and leech imitations are really a necessary part of any angler’s kit.
Using Leeches to Bring in Trout
Leeches really are one of the best options that you have and a leech 4XL hook gives you the ability to keep the sharp part pointed back near the part of your fly pattern that the fish will bite. Trout will often short strike leeches so the longer shank of this hook can increase your catch rate quite drastically.
When a short strike does occur when using leeches you need to resist the urge to bring the fly out of the water and recast. Instead you should allow the fly to sink and act as if it is injured and vie the line a few strips. Trout will often return to the fly and strike again if it is left in the water.
If you are fishing in still waters, then using a pause and strip method with leeches can usually bring on more strikes than usual. Use a floating line and allow the weight in the fly’s head to let it undulate in the water. If you can use a non-slip loop knot when hooking up your fly you will also get a lot more movement out of your fly and your leech will look a lot more natural.
Early morning and late at night are the best times to use leeches and at these times trout are most likely to be browsing for food in heavily weeded areas or near the edges of shallow parts of the water. Stay out of sight, be stealthy and increase your catch rate by employing casts in a fan shaped pattern.
Tying your Leech
Once you have got the hang of tying a leech the process can become quite easy. You need to start with a button sized wad of black or brown goat hair and dub it until it becomes a right rope that is equally proportionate. Keep a good grip on the twisted hair and attach the hook shank behind the wire wraps with a few thread wraps that are quite tight. This ensures that loose material is held in place and easily manageable.
Gel spun thread is great to use with a leech pattern as it allows you to exert pressure on the wraps without fear of breaking the thread. When you have the dubbing rope secured with the thread wraps you then need to add a small drop of glue to the junction in order to stop the body from rotating around the hook shank. You may need to use a lot of dubbing wax in the process as goat hair is very greasy and doesn’t necessarily want to stick to the thread.
Once you have wrapped the body you will want to use Velcro hook material to bring out the fibers and then put the body together by using a dubbing brush.
Leeches in their natural state can come in quite a few colors and most of them are actually more than one color. If you want to add some attraction to your leech then you may want to add two or three colors together. An added tip would be to blend the different colored hair in a coffee grinder to make the mesh of colors look far more natural.
As you can see, tying and using leeches to attract trout is actually fairly easy, so you need to make a few leeches part of your fly fishing kit. Tie them on, buy some pre-tied leeches, and get out there and get ready for the short-strike action that is sure to come.