Lance's Half-Wit Balanced Leech

Lance - May, 2021

If you’ve seen any of my fly patterns you’ve likely noticed they are often relatively simple to tie. I aim for quick ties that consistently catch fish. Less steps, simple techniques, and better durability lead to improved fish-ability. What my patterns lack in bin appeal, they make up in effectiveness. The half-wit style of leech is a simplified balanced leech. I got the idea to use insta jig style tungsten heads from a customer named Dave Smith. Dave was making ice flies (for ice fishing). He wanted more weight than a standard tungsten bead offered, and wanted the flies to ride hook up. I showed him how the insta jig would fit on a competition style barbless jig hook and he went home and played with the idea. A few days later he came back to the shop with samples. He showed me how you could change the way the insta jig sits on the hook by putting the insta jig on backwards. By placing the hook point through the larger hole, rather than the smaller of the two holes, the tungsten insta jig rested closer to the hook shank and extended farther forward in front of the eye of the hook. The difference is subtle, but noticeable, and this placement also slightly changes the way the fly hangs with tippet tied to it. Full disclosure: The half-wit style of balancing a fly does not balance as well as a balanced fly with a pin extending forward of the hook eye. That said, the half-wit style rides more horizontal than a standard beaded fly, and I don’t notice any difference in effectiveness when comparing the half-wit to a standard balanced style fly. So why change to the half-wit? Because it’s much quicker to tie. Because it’s more durable than adding the pin. Because your thread will no longer get shredded by the pin where you cut it with wire cutters. And if for no other reason, because the half-wit style is simple and fishes great. Lastly, remember that the example in this video is only one color combo. While the black and red combo has been deadly for me, you can tie the half-wit style of “balanced” fly in all of your favorite color combos. Think color combos for leeches, damsels, callibaetis, minnow patterns, etc... You can also vary the insta jig color. Some of my favorites include fl. chartreuse, fl. orange, mottled olive, mottled brown, and fl. pink. We carry tungsten insta jig options from Hareline and Fasna which have some color overlap and some colors that are unique to each brand. Happy tying, and happy angling!


 Lance Egan

Material List: Black/Red
  • Hook: Umpqua XC400BL-BN - 12
  • Hook (option): Hanak H 400 BL Jig Hook - 12
  • Hook (option): Fulling Mill 5045 Jig Force Barbless Hook - 12
  • Thread: 6/0 UNI-Thread Waxed - Black
  • Bead: Insta Jig Tungsten Head - 1/8" (3.3mm) - Black
  • Body 1: Arizona Diamond Dub - Black Red
  • Body (mix option): STS Trilobal Dubbing - Bloody Black Leech
  • Body (mix option): Ice Dub - Midnight Fire
  • Tail: Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou - Black (UV)
  • Tail (option): Wooly Bugger Marabou - Black
  • Tail Flash: Holographic Flashabou - Black
  • Tail Flash (option): Holographic Flashabou - Cranberry
  • Dubbing Twister: Stonfo Elite Rotodubbing twister
  • Dubbing Brush: Stonfo Comb & Brush Tool
  • Material List: Thin Mint
  • Hook: Umpqua XC400BL-BN - 10
  • Hook (option): Fulling Mill 5045 Jig Force Barbless Hook - 10
  • Thread: 6/0 UNI-Thread Waxed - Dark Brown
  • Bead: Insta Jig Tungsten Head - 5/32" (3.8mm) - Fl. Pink
  • Body 1: Ice Dub - Pheasant Tail
  • Body 2: STS Trilobal Dubbing - Fiery Brown
  • Tail: Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou - Brown (UV)
  • Tail: Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou - Fl. Melon (UV)
  • Tail Flash: Holographic Flashabou - Chartreuse
  • Tail (option): Wooly Bugger Marabou - Brown
  • Tail (option): Wooly Bugger Marabou - Fl. Chartreuse
  • Collar: Ice Dub - Chartreuse
  • Dubbing Twister: C&F Design Top Twister
  • Dubbing Brush: Stonfo Comb & Brush Tool
  • Material List: Minnow Version
  • Hook: Umpqua XC400BL-BN - 10
  • Hook (Option): Fulling Mill 5045 Jig Force Barbless Hook - 10
  • Thread: 6/0 UNI-Thread Waxed - White
  • Bead: Insta Jig Tungsten Head - 5/32" (3.8mm) - Nickel
  • Body 1: STS Trilobal Dubbing - Seal Creme
  • Body 2: Ice Dub - Pearl Red Hue
  • Tail: Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou - Fl. White (UV)
  • Tail (option): Wooly Bugger Marabou - White
  • Materials & Alternate Materials Listed Below
    Ice Dub
    Ice Dub
    Ice Dub

    Ice Dub

    $3.50
    Hanak H 400 BL Jig Hook
    Hanak H 400 BL Jig Hook

    Hanak H 400 BL Jig Hook

    $8.95
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou
    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou

    Fish Hunter Premium Strung Marabou

    $3.95
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub
    Arizona Diamond Dub

    Arizona Diamond Dub

    $2.95
    Stonfo Comb/Brush Tool
    Stonfo Comb/Brush Tool

    Stonfo Comb & Brush Tool

    $9.50
    6/0 UNI-Thread Waxed
    6/0 UNI-Thread Waxed
    6/0 UNI-Thread Waxed

    6/0 UNI-Thread Waxed

    $3.25
    Insta Jig Tungsten Head
    Insta Jig Tungsten Head
    Insta Jig Tungsten Head

    Insta Jig Tungsten Head

    $5.90
    Holographic Flashabou
    Holographic Flashabou
    Holographic Flashabou

    Holographic Flashabou

    $4.99
    Fulling Mill 5045 Jig Force Barbless Hook
    Fulling Mill 5045 Jig Force Barbless Hook

    Fulling Mill 5045 Jig Force Barbless Hook

    $12.95
    Wooly Bugger Marabou
    Wooly Bugger Marabou
    Wooly Bugger Marabou

    Wooly Bugger Marabou

    $4.99
    Umpqua XC400BL-BN
    Umpqua XC400BL-BN

    Umpqua XC400BL-BN

    $8.00
    Stonfo Elite Rotodubbing twister
    Stonfo Elite Rotodubbing twister
    Stonfo Elite Rotodubbing twister

    Stonfo Elite Rotodubbing twister

    $43.99
    STS Trilobal Dubbing
    STS Trilobal Dubbing

    STS Trilobal Dubbing

    $2.75
    C&F Design Top Twister
    C&F Design Top Twister

    C&F Design Top Twister

    $34.95