Derek Fergus, MOAL leech creator, seminar Thurs 1/29

Derek Fergus, creator of the MOAL leech pattern will be at the Caddis Fly Shop on Thursday, January 29th 6pm-9pm for an advanced fly tying seminar. Sign up today — the class costs $25.

We caught up with Fergus for a phone Q&A last night:

What fly pattern put you on the map as an innovative tier?
Derek Fergus: The Hale Bopp leech 15 years ago was the fly that everybody used. I developed that fly living on Davis Lake four months a year. Over time we just found that nothing out-fished it.

How did the MOAL leech come about?
Fergus: Several years later, everybody wanted everything articulated. I started thinking, what’s the best way to create something that moves naturally through the water so it doesn’t look like it is attached to anything? I needed to get rid of all the shanks so the material would have the ability to move naturally with the current, catch seams and pitfalls in the hydrology of the river.

And it had to be tied circular — 360 degrees. A lot of my friends used to tie a string leech with a rabbit strip, but it really acts like a rudder. It doesn’t move as much as you think it would. The fly has to be circular to get the pulsating action.

What is it that makes the MOAL leech so effective?
Fergus: It’s three things:

  • Design: The whole fly moves as freely as it can.
  • Hook placement: With the MOAL, the hook sticks out the back further than most other flies and you hook more fish.
  • The short shank hook increases the odds of landing the fish.

    I’ve taken that premise and applied it to stoneflies, dry flies, you name it. I started developing the whole strung out series of flies, strung-out stones and all the little streamers.

    What are you putting your creative energy into now?
    My passion has always been hunting. I started the company 20sub3 a year and a half ago and started applying myself toward hunting products. Our latest product is Poly silk fabric maps. I came up with the idea because I got tired of buying maps over and over again.

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