Working with Rabbit I: Bunny Leeches
by Will Mullis
Materials You Will Need
Hook: Mustad 9674, Size 4.
Weight: Gold Cone Head.
Tail and Body: Rabbit Strip.
Head: Platte River Special Colored Leech Dubbing.
In my opinion, Rabbit strips are some of the most versatile materials that can be used with a variety of techniques. Rabbit is a natural material that gives life-like movement that has never been duplicated by synthetics. By keeping the fur on the hide it is extremely durable material that is almost indestructible.
Many tiers recommend using cross-cut strips for the body because they look nicer when wrapped on a hook. A few years ago I followed this idea/belief/discipline until someone recommended using regular strips for better action. Much to my surprise that person was right on, and believe it or not, the regular strips give a pulsating movement in the water that is far superior to those tied with crosscut strips. Do your own testing and tie them however you wish. This is one of the most versatile patterns that can be tied in unlimited numbers of colors and sizes.
Step 1: Slide the cone head onto the hook; secure hook in the vise.
Step 2: Wrap thread back to the bend of the hook.
Step 3: Split the rabbit strip where you want the tail to be. Be careful on the length of the tail; if it is too long the tail can foul on the hook. This may be eliminated by making a shorter tail or by making a loop using heavy mono or wire and placing it under the tail, which will keep it from fouling. Secure in place with a few tight wraps of thread.
Step 4: Bring thread forward to just behind the cone head.
Step 5: Wrap the rabbit strip up the shank of the hook. Sweep the hair back after each wrap to keep from being trapped underneath the next wrap forward.
Step 6: Once you reach the cone, separate the hair as you did for the tail and secure with a few turns of thread.
Step 7: Using a razor blade, trim the excess rabbit strip.
Step 8: Secure the strip with several wraps of thread. By wrapping over the trimmed excess it will slide inside the cone head, helping to secure it in place.
Step 9: Spin the leech dubbing onto the thread and fill in the gap between the strip and the cone.
The finished fly.
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