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!