Pattern Hareball leech and Optimist

I was hoping someone had a good recipe for a hareball leech and an optimist. I did a search on google and on this site as well, but could not come up with anything worthwhile. I found one pattern sheet for the hareball leech, which as it was described sounded a lot like a starlite leach, but in the pictures I've seen of the hareball, it looks a lot more full-bodied. I found nothing even hinting at a pattern for the Optimist. You can see a pic of it on the front of Doug Rose's Olympic Peninsula Steelheading book. It looks to be a mix of an Paintbrush and a Winter's Hope.

Any help would be appreciated, thanks all,

How are you doing. I'm John Rupp I came up with the hareball leech about 6 years ago when I was guiding on the Kanektok river. It was a killer there for silvers, kings and chums. George Cook popularized it by getting Riverborn to produce it. The fly can be tied a numer of different ways but the key ingredient is palmering a rabbit strip over palmered cactus chenille or dubbing. This forces the rabbit to undulate more than if it was tightly wrapped and the body has an internal "glow" that makes the fly more lifelike. Here is a typical pattern - I'm writing from memory so hopefully it's all in here:

Hook: Tiemco 700 or similar down-eyed salmon hook.
Thread: flat waxed nylon to match body color.
Eyes: medium or large nontox eyes (lead works too)
Tail/body: rabbit strip and cactus chenille or lite brite dubbing
Flash: flashabout or krystal flash or combination
Hackle: schlappen to match or accent body color.

Put the eyes on first. Lash down medium or large eyes just behind the hook eye with alternating X and figure-8 wraps. Whip finish and add super glue. Now go back and start on the tail, working forward to the eyes. Tie in a 6" or longer rabbit strip at a point even with the hook barb. This will form the tail and should not be so long that it will twist around the hook; usually about 3/4 of hide + fur trailing another 1/2-3/4 inch is about right. Tie down firmly and add a drop of zap-a-gap from below. Let the rabbit strip rest away from you. Tie in krystal flash on either side of the rabbit tail for accent and flash. Don't tie too much flash in if the fly is to be fished in low-water conditions. For high-water conditions use lots of flash. Tie in cactus chenille or use dubbing loop with synthetic such as lite-brite or ice dub. Wind chenille or dubbing in evenly spaced wraps with ~1/4 inch gaps between. Tie off about 1/8" behind the eyes. Palmer rabbit strip forward and lay in gaps left by the dubbing/chenille. Tie off at same point as chenille/dubbing. Tie in schlappen hackle. Make about 2 or 3 turns of schlappen. Tie off and whip finish. You can wrap dubbing or chenille around the head if you want I think the fly is plenty effective with thread and it's faster to tie.

The beauty of this fly is it's simple to tie and has great action. Put it in the water and compare to a starlite leech and you will see a lot more movement with this fly.

Also, for maximum effectiveness use the no-slip loop knot by Lefty Kreh it will fish much better than a static knot such as a clinch knot, and will be much stronger to boot.

Good luck,

Thanks John. I actually found a pattern a while ago on the internet somewhere and just tied some up last night. They don't quite look the same as the ones I bought, but that might have to do with the fact that I am using Estaz instead of cactus chenille and the rabbit strip I was using for the body is cross-cut. I will keep trying though.

Thanks again, Finni

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