Over my many years of fly fishing I have become fairly proficient at catching fish with dry flies and nymphs, but I never enjoyed much success using streamers. When I joined Instagram, I began to follow fishermen who posted numerous photos of trophy trout of all species that gobbled streamers. These are referred to as meat eaters in the Instagram vernacular. I pledged to commit to streamer fishing more often in 2014, and I managed to land a few fish in the fall, but I would be reluctant to say that I truly committed to the method.
Once again during this off season I reassessed my approach and viewed another avalanche of big fish on the Instagram feed and decided to spend more hours tossing streamer flies. In preparation for my trip to Argentina in December 2013, I bought 5-10 streamers from Royal Gorge Angler, and the predominant pattern among my purchase was a big ugly articulated fly that is called a sculpzilla. Unfortunately during my infrequent forays into the world of streamer chucking I snagged and broke off several of these flies.
Given my new found desire to fish streamers and my depleted supply of flies, I searched for new patterns to add to my fly box. The pine squirrel leech was an obvious starting point, but I hoped to create more variety. I flipped through my Scott Sanchez book and spotted a fly named the clump dubbing leech. The fly recipe called for a rabbit strip or marabou tail and clumps of dubbing for the main body. This did not strike me as overly challenging, so I decided to tie one. Since I had a remaining strip of pine squirrel, I elected to substitute that for a strip of rabbit fur. For the body I inherited five clumps of earth toned sculpin wool from my friend Jeff, so I concluded I could use that for the clump dubbing technique.
I began by threading a large gold bead to the front of my size 8 hook and then covered the shank with thread. I tied a strip of pine squirrel to the rear of the hook as a tail and clipped off the excess. Next I began adding clumps of sculpin wool to the hook shank. I alternated between gray and tan and worked my way forward. I believe I actually applied larger quantities of wool than required by the pattern, and I ended up with a thick body. After whip finishing the thread tight to the bead, I completed the final step. I grabbed my comb and began forcefully pulling it through the clump dubbing. This process removed a large amount of loose wool, blended the colors together, and created a nice body of fibers that flowed from front to back. Initially I was not pleased with the look of the fly, but with the passing of time it has grown on me. If I tie more clump dubbing leeches, I will try to use smaller clumps and attempt a narrower body profile.