Braided Butt Damsel

If you’re not into fly tying the above title could give you pause, but if you are into the “vice of the vise,” then here’s a post for you. This has already been up over on GB’s blog, but I figure why not post it here, as well? This is from GB’s 1991 book, Designing Trout Flies (the illustrations are from yours truly, created between classes and study sessions while I was at the U of Wisconsin). So, without any more unnecessary introduction, here’s the Braided Butt Damsel:





One question that I/we often get about this fly (inspired by a pattern that my father saw in New Zealand back in the 1980s) is, “Why don’t you use foam for the post, it floats better?” The answer is based on years of observing damselfly hatches and is fairly simple: because sometimes we want the fly to sink. If that sounds odd, keep in mind that “dry flies” (or perhaps more accurately “dry insects”) sometimes aren’t so dry….

More on fishing “dry” damsels wet:


After the Braided Butt Damsel post, I got a couple of questions about fishing damselfly adult patterns wet. Using the BB Damsel pattern shown, with a yarn parachute post (versus foam), the fly can be fished “damp” easily (just fish “sans floatante“). If you need to get the fly deeper, or are fishing a pattern meant to float strongly (such as one that incorporates foam parts), then split shot, a sinking braided or poly leader, or a sink-tip line, can all do the trick.

I often prefer to fish damsel adults wet after a significant egg-laying episode and/or during/after a strong wind during egg-laying or emergence. If blind-fishing, a slow, steady retrieve or a few quick strips, followed by a dead-sink (and repeat) can be effective. If sight-fishing, timing the sinking of the fly to match the fish’s level at interception is a good tactic (here is where a, umm, “fly suspension device” can be helpful). Often, there is no time for such a well-crafted approach, so generally dead-sinking or slowly swimming the fly in front of a fish is often effective. Worked for that brown above!

All images/image text Copyright © Gary A. Borger. Used with permission

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