There are numerous "wormy" looking creatures that live in our favorite aquatic environments. Many lakes and streams have heavy populations of leeches and aquatic worms. For most of their existence leeches stay hidden away buried in the substrate or bottom vegetation. However during the low light hours or when water conditions are murky leeches often forage about where they are exposed to patrolling game fish. Trout and salmon aggressively seek out these tender morsels and gobble them up quickly when the opportunity presents itself.
Howell’s Starlite Leech is not just another of those run-of-the-mill leech imitations. This sultry pattern is the real deal for targeting big aggressive trout and salmon. The Starlite Leech takes all the key features from traditional bugger patterns and puts a new twist on things to keep the fish happy.
Black, Purple and Olive Starlite Leechs are the staple flies for early season trout and steelhead fishing. As the water warms during the long summer months Brown and Tan colored patterns work equally well. When the leaves fall purple, pink and black will rouse salmon and steelies from there hiding spots.
Trout, Salmon and Steelhead are predatory fish that are triggered to strike by certain types of prey movements. These predators like prey that act alive, injured or disoriented. Imparting these types of characteristics to your fly by stripping in the line irregularly will most certainly attract attention and takes from fish, but hooking into them is up to you.
Start this fly by placing the hook into the vice securely and attaching the thread to the hook shank. Using figure eight thread wraps secure the lead eyes to the top of the hook shank just behind the hook eye. Clip a one inch section of black zonker strip and tie it down to the hook shank at the point just above the hook barb.
Strip one end of the black estaz down to the inner core and tie it down to the hook shank. Wrap back over the inner core material with the thread until you butt up against the zonker tail you tied in earlier. Advance the thread to the back of the lead eyes and proceed to wrap the estaz forward. As you wrap the estaz be careful not to tie down any of the small fibers from the earlier wraps. Stop the estaz four wraps short of the back of the lead eyes. In front of the estaz tie in a large black saddle hackle and wrap it forward until you reach the back of the lead eyes.
In front of the lead eyes tie in a small strip of black chenille. Using figure eight wraps build a small head for the fly with the chenille around the lead eyes. Be sure to take a few wraps of chenille behind the lead eyes to create a slightly swept look to the black hackle. Tie off the chenille when you are happy with the size of the head and whip finish and cement the thread.