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Fly Tying - Damsel Fly Variant

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"Look Ma No Wings!"

In our earlier article, "Fly Tying - Simple Foam Damsel Fly", we showed a simple but effective pattern for Bass and Bluegill.

For this round, we detail a variant of the Damsel Fly that does not have wings and does not require a foam cutter to form the body.

Do give this one a try on the Bass and Bluegill in your area. We anticipate a pleasant surprise at its fish catching ability!

Note: We especially like the curved caddis style hook compared to the streamer hook that we used in the Foam Damsel Fly. Our hook up rates seem to be better with the Damsel Fly Variant!


The following is the material list for the Damsel Fly Variant:

  1. Size 12 Caddis Hook
  2. Olive Sparkle Braid
  3. Yellow 2mm Foam
  4. Grizzly Hackle
  5. Olive Tying Thread (6/0)
  6. "Hard As Nails" Fingernail Polish
  7. 50lbs Mono (and a lighter)

Step 1 - Tail and Eyes

First build the thread base, then attach the Sparkle Braid to form the "tail", and secure the 50lbs mono to form the "eyes":

  • Begin wrapping a thread base as you would normally do when tying a fishing fly.
  • And then, attach a 1-1/2" length of Sparkle Braid to the hook just past the bend of the hook.
  • Once it is secured, continue to wrap the thread around the Sparkle Braid as well as behind and in front to prop the "tail" up/away from the hook shank.
  • Next, wrap the thread forward, stopping a hook eye width from the hook's eye. Then, secure the mono as shown in the sidebar. Use a figure eight wrap to attach to mono.
  • Once secured, wrap the thread back toward the hook bend stopping short of the tail. Leave the thread hanging in place.
  • Finally, use the lighter to burn the ends of the mono to form the "eyes".

Step 2 - Form the Body

In Step 2, the body is formed using a small piece of foam and one grizzly hackle as follows:

  • Cut a piece of foam into 1/4" x 1/8" rectangle
  • Then place the foam on top of the hook positioning as shown in the sidebar, and then secure it in place by wrapping forward and back several times.
  • Eventually stop the wraps to the rear (just forward of the tail).
  • Then, attach the grizzly hackle and then wrap the the thread forward stopping just behind the mono eyes.
  • Letting the thread hang in place, begin wrapping the grizzly hackle forward using a palmer wrap technique, stopping just behind the mono eyes.
  • Secure the grizzly hackle in place with several thread wraps, and then work the thread forward past the mono eyes.
  • Once past the mono eyes, wrap several turns around the hook shank behind the hook eye, whip finish, and then cut the thread.

Step 3 - Curving the "Tail"

In the final step - Step 3, a curve in the tail is formed as follows:

  • Flip the Damsel Variant upside down. If using a rotary vise, simply rotate it until the fishing fly is upside down. Else, remove the fishing fly from the vise, and then flip it over and secure it back into the vise.
  • Next, apply a light coat of "Hard-As-Nails" fingernail polish to the Sparkle Brain. Be sure to cover all sides of the braid, and then let dry for several minutes.
  • Then, apply a second light coat of fingernail polish, and then let dry again for several minutes.
  • As it dries, shape the sparkle braid into a curve. As the fingernail polish dries, the curve will set in place.
  • Continue to let the fingernail polish dry. Occasionally, flip the fishing fly right side up to see if the curve has set. If not, adjust as needed and then apply a light coat of fingernail polish.
  • Be sure to let the fingernail polish dry while the fishing fly is resting upside down. When dry, you can remove the Damsel Fly Variant from the vise.

And then, go fishing... feel free to use the excuse that you are "testing" a new pattern!

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PS: When fishing the Damsel Fly Variant, the tail will eventually lose its curve. When done fishing, re-applying more fingernail polish and letting it dry upside down will "freshen" the curve. However, the fish continued to strike at the fishing fly that had lost its curve.

"Look Ma No Wings" - Damsel Fly Variant

"Look Ma No Wings"

"Look Ma No Wings"


Similar to our suggestions in fishing the Simple Foam Damsel Fly, the same holds true for the "Look Ma No Wings" Damsel Fly Variant!

  • After casting, let the fishing fly sit undisturbed. Wait to retrieve until you see the rings that formed when the fishing fly landed on the water dissipate.
  • Use short pulls on the fly line to simulate a damsel fly (or dragonfly) resting on the surface that every so often "twitters" about as insects do. Pause for a 5-10 count delay, and then retrieve again.
  • Eventually, the fishing fly will begin to sink instead of float. You can apply Dry Fly Floatant or fish it waterlogged. Bass and Bluegill will continue to strike the fishing fly.

Good Luck and Good Fishing!

Wine Cork Micro Fly Rod and "Look Ma No Wings" Damsel Fly Variant!

Wine Cork Micro Fly Rod and "Look Ma No Wings" Damsel Fly Variant!

Wine Cork Micro Fly Rod...

Paired with the Wine Cork Micro Fly Rod, we were able to catch a little Bass and a bigger Bass.

Both went for the "Look Ma No Wings" Damsel Fly Variant!

Despite windy conditions both the rod and the fishing fly cast well making for a great combination!

For more on the Wine Cork Micro Fly Rod see the link below and/or the video.

Wine Cork Micro Fly Rod

Wine Cork Micro Fly Rod

  • Video on the Wine Cork Micro Fly Rod.

Thanks for checking out our article, and we appreciate your support! We hope this pattern proves useful to our Readers! Do let us know if it works for you via the comments section below!


hbng84 (author) on April 11, 2016:

Hope Readers can give this one a try in the warmer months for Bluegill and Bass!

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