Hale Bopp Leech Pattern

the flyThe Hale Bopp Leech was developed around 1995/6 (that is about when the Hale Bopp Comet became known to the public) by a young Derek Fergus. A bit of a fly fishing rebel as I recall, I first encountered him at FF club & shop functions promoting his dubbing blends for stillwater leech patterns. He was a non-purist FFer experimenting with materials and techniques. An aside, I recall a FF club event at which Fergus was the guest speaker. He was discussing dredging heavy waters for steelhead. An audience sat aghast  as Derek discussed attaching a slinky up the terminal rig akin to a drift fisherman and lobbing the rig into the slot to dredge for holding fish. Oh my the outcry and head shaking of the step and swing crowd. Later, I encountered Derek teaching how to tie the Hale Bopp pattern at a shop in Welches, Oregon. He was giving away small packets of his dubbing as a promotion and showing how the dubbing blend looked in the Hale Bopp Leech pattern.

Since then, this sleeker leech pattern has become accepted as a dependable pattern for stillwaters. I just recently had great success with it, while my staples (Little Fort Leech, Calico Bugger and Minnow Bugger) went ignored. It is a simple affair to tie: don’t over dress the marabou tail, dub the body (why not find Derek’s dubbing or a synthetic blend will do) sparse and fibrous to allow for movement. A smaller than usual bead allows for the desired up and down undulation during the retrieve, but don’t put on the bigger bead unless deeper diving is required and then maybe the Type III or IV is a better device to get the sleeker bodied leech down in the depths.

Hale Bopp Leech (Brown w/ Orange tail) SwittersB

Hale Bopp Leech (Brown w/ Orange tail) SwittersB

The above Hale Bopp was recently used to great effect on an Oregon lake. This fly is a bit chewed up and coming unraveled. The color combo’s are limitless like most Bugger patterns. I would stick with the typical stillwater flora tones (brown, green) and then black, gray, purplish-maroon.

Hale Bopp Leech (Original Colors) SwittersB

Hale Bopp Leech (Original Colors) SwittersB

Derek Fergus explored the once great trout fishery, Davis Lake (Oregon) and other Central Oregon lakes while establishing this scragglier leech pattern’s rep. Add it to your Leech arsenal….a more lean silhouette compared to the blockier Bugger silhouette.


Thin Mint (Worthy Lil' Bugger) SwittersB

Thin Mint (Worthy Lil' Bugger) SwittersB

The above Thin Mint is a good stillwater pattern. But, by contrast the animation of the fly’s body comes from the palmered hackle compared to the dubbed fibers of the Hale Bopp. The Thin Mint tail is typical of most production ties (save the cool mix of colors), shorter and chunky. Some prefer this, thinking the longer tail leads to ‘short’ hits. Short or long, the Hale Bopp calls for a sparser, snakier tail.

1 Response to “Hale Bopp Leech Pattern”

  1. 1 Pat
    September 19, 2009 at 07:18

    Have used the Hale Bopp quite a bit. Haven’t tied anything for a few years. Wife said I have one already! She hates fishing and my time spent doing it. Nice pictures on this site.


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