Few fly patterns have caught more fish in Alaska than the egg sucking leech (ESL). Whether tied in the classic “bugger style,” or in a more contemporary fashion utilizing rabbit strips, the ESL family of flies are hard to beat when targeting salmon and trout throughout all of Alaska. In fact, it has been said that the egg sucking leech has the potential to catch anything that swims, and we’d be willing to bet that if tied in a variety of colors and sizes, it could produce all over the world!
Today, we’re coming at you with a more modern spin on a classic pattern in order to create a more versatile fly. As if the rabbit tail and body of a classic bunny leech did not already provide enough movement to the fly, we added an articulation to the fly, thus allowing for even more movement in the water. Tying the egg sucking bunny leech in articulated fashion also allows for shorter shanked trailer hooks to be used as opposed to long shank streamer hooks, resulting in a larger profile fly with less leverage on the hook when fighting fish. In other words, more fish to hand!
The beauty of this pattern is that it’s hard to fish it wrong – Strip it, jig it, swing it.. It all works! Now here’s how to tie it.
The Articulated ESL – Tying Instructions
- Trailer Hook: Owner SSW, Size 2.
- Front Shank: Tiemco 811S, Size 2, With Hook Bend Cut Off.
- Thread: Black UTC Ultra Thread, 140 denier.
- Tail: Purple Rabbit Zonker Strip.
- Rear Body: Purple Zonker Strip, Purple UV Polar Chenille.
- Front Body: Purple Zonker Strip, Purple UV Polar Chenille.
- Head: Pink or Orange Cactus Chenille.
- Eyes: Silver Painted Lead Eyes.
- Trailer Hook Connection: 2 Strands of 30 lb. Dacron Backing.