by John Evans
(San Antonio, TX)
In late October I was fishing the Blanco River and happened to spot a large damselfly that smacked the water. As the damselfly struggled to regain the air, he was immediately slammed by several panfish that never gave him a chance. I remember thinking, “I have to learn to tie one of those!”
Alas, when I checked the Internet I found that most dragonfly and damselfly patterns were beyond my rudimentary fly-tying skills. As the weather turned colder, however, I had more time to research the patterns and finally came up with an easy way to tie a reasonable blue damselfly. I take no credit for the pattern, having simply borrowed tips and techniques from others.
The first three photos above show the pattern better than I can explain it.
First, the eyes are made by melting the ends of a 1” section of 50 lb monofilament line. Then, I start with a size 12 No 1710 Daiichi hook and lay down a base of gray thread. I attach the eyes with a series of figure 8 wraps. Next, I tie in a grizzly hackle dyed blue or teal about twice the length of the hook shank. I’ll add a few turns of hackle around the rear of the shank before tying and clipping the butt of the hackle. These few turns help lift the feather wings in a damselfly arc over the back. The first photo shows how the fly should look at this point.
Next, I attach a piece of 2mm blue craft foam and tie in a white (or light pardo) coq de leon feather alongside the foam. This feather will serve as the wings. I take 3 or 4 turns of the coq de leon feather around the base of the craft foam and tie off the feather.
Finally, I dub the thread with some Blue Steelie Ice Dub and wrap forward to just behind the eyes. I pull the foam forward over the dubbing and cinch it down with 3 or 4 turns of thread. I whip finish in front of the eyes and clip off the foam, leaving a small tag. Photo 3 shows the finished fly.
One thing this pattern has going for it is a lot of buoyancy, with the craft foam and dry fly hackle.
There are 128 species of damselflies in the United States, with 70 residing in Texas. From April to October the adults are active and are regularly taken by many species of fish. I encourage you to tie a few and try your luck. This simple variation can get you started, and it will help you dream of summer!
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