Balanced Leeches have been around for a spell. If you’ve not fished them you’re missing out, particularly during these colder months when trout are less inclined to run down a leech pattern stripped at mach 10 through the water column. Balanced Leeches allow you to keep your fly presented at a set depth under an indicator and move the fly very slowly or even not at all. Sometimes a slight wind ripple and wave action is all you need to get the fly fluttering int the water and fish excited. An unbalanced fly will typically hang butt down in the water, which is not at all how leeches look or swim. Even a relatively unschooled trout knows the difference and many days they care.
I love the Balanced Leech and have used them to great success in lakes all over the west. My only gripe is that they’re somewhat of a pain to tie and balance properly so they stay horizontal in the water beneath an indicator. Enter the Insta Balanced Leech. No, it’s not the latest and greatest leech pattern plastered all over social media. Insta Jig Beads or Head Turner Beads as they’re sometimes marketed are a newer design of tungsten bead that allow us to balance a fly differently. The beads are tear drop shaped with the bulk of the weight concentrated at the widest part. Since the bead juts forward of the hook eye when slipped on a jig style hook, any fly will balance provided you attach the fly with a clinch or improved clinch knot. You can also attach the fly with a loop knot and strip it provocatively as you would any other streamer pattern for a pronounced undulating action in the water. One fly, two deadly presentations and a much simplified tying process. What more could you ask for?
Insta Balanced Leech Recipe:
Hook: #10 Hanak 400 BL
Bead: 1/8″ Black Insta Jig Tungsten
Tail: Burgundy Rabbit w/ red Flashabou
Body: Burgundy Mohair Plus in red wire dubbing loop
Confluence Beer Pairing: In a town with such an impressive volume and variety of craft breweries, I’m embarrassed to say I have not been to all or even half of them. I have my favorites, my regulars and like any other creature of habit, have a tough time branching out into the unknown. It feels kind of like leaving fish to find fish, though sometimes we need to do that too, if for no other reason than to experience a refreshing change of scenery. Gruff Brewing was kind enough to let us have our last Trout Unlimited board meeting there and we made it worth their while by imbibing in many of the excellent brews they have on tap. One particular beer, their Amarillo Brillo, is a fine American Pale that’s well balanced and a little lemony. It’ss what you ought to sample as you knock out your first set of Insta Balanced Leeches. Amarillo Brillo is smooth and light, not to be confused with Armadillo Brillo which is, as you might imagine, considerably more abrasive.