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April 2002 Pattern

Doug's Damsel

We�ve all seen those bright blue, delicate and lacy-winged beauties darting over and around a pond or lake on a bluebird spring day. Those ubiquitous critters, along with their olive, grey and tan brethren, are "Damsel flies". Sometimes they are so populous that hatching nymphs latch onto your float tube and stare you down with their bug eyes. April being one of the prime months for bass fishing, and damsels being an early season bass diet mainstay (at least at lower elevations), you should be armed with at least one or two good damsel imitations. Doug�s Damsel, originated by Doug Jorgensen, clearly qualifies as "good". It also meets my principal criterion for a practical fly pattern: it is simple to tie. Olive is the theme of the materials list below; you can vary the theme by using grey or tan.



Hook: TMC 101, Mustad 94859, Daiichi 1180; #12

Thread: Olive 6/0 or 8/0

Tail: Olive marabou, shank length

Abdomen: Olive rabbit dubbing

Thorax: Olive rabbit dubbing

Wing case: Olive duck quill, shiny side down

Legs: Olive marabou

Eyes: 30# Mono heated to form eye shape (or packaged plastic eyes)

Head: Small thread head


1. De-barb the hook. Cover the shank with thread.

2. Take a small bunch of olive marabou and tie in a tail at the hook bend, just above the back end of the barb. The tail should be shank length.

3. Dub a slim body up to a point just forward of the halfway point of the shank.

4. Tie in the wing case, with the long end pointing out over the bend of the hook. Tie it in so that the shiny side is up, because you will ultimately want the dull side up after bringing the wingcase over the thorax.

5. Tie in the mono eyes, about 1 eye-length behind the eye of the hook.

6. Dub the first half of the thorax, making it a bit bulkier than the abdomen.

7. For the legs, tie in a small bunch of olive marabou on each side of the hook, just in front of the half of the thorax that you just completed. Pinch off the marabou so that it extends no farther back than the point of the hook.

8. Now dub the front half of the thorax, taking care not to disturb the legs. Dub a small amount of olive rabbit around the eyes, using a figure eight motion.

9. Bring the wing case over the thorax and tie off in front of the eyes. Trim the excess and form a nice, small head.

Damsel nymphs should be fished slowly with small strips, as they are very poor and slow swimmers. I�ve found it helpful to fish parallel to reeds and cat tails, because hatching damsels move toward shore or along the reeds looking for a suitable stem to crawl up. Once they accomplish that, they dry out and hatch.

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Copyright 2000 by Granite Bay Flycasters unless otherwise noted.