As promised, here’s some more historical and technical perspective from Jason Borger on specific flies and fly tying. Today, Jason fills us in on the famous Braided-Butt Damsel:
“My most-used adult damsel imitation of choice is the Braided-Butt Damsel, a design that my father, Gary, and his friend Bob Pelzl, developed in the mid-80s. Inspired by a pattern that my father and Bob first saw when fishing in New Zealand, the Braided-Butt Damsel uses marker-dyed braided monofilament for the abdomen and a watery-dun hackle tied 3/4-parachute style for the wings. Two and-a-half decades after its initial development, the pattern has remained essentially unchanged. The effectiveness of braided material for damselflies has been well-proven by the myriad patterns that incorporate it in their construction.”_
The recipe and tying steps are below. For the full monte with illustrations and more detail visit jasonborger.com.
HOOK: Any good regular shake hook in sizes 10-14.
ABDOMEN: Braided monofilament dyed with permanent marker to match body color and markings. Most common colors are bright blue, deep green, and grayish-tan.
THORAX: Yarn or dubbing to match body color.
POST: Yarn to match body color.
HACKLE: Hackle in watery dun color, wound 3/4 parachute style.
1) Wrap the front two-thirds of the hook shank with thread.
2) Form a small lump of thread on the hook shank at the two-thirds position.
3) Cut the braided material to the proper length and heat seal one end (a lighter does the trick).
4) Fray 1/8″ or so of the non-sealed end of the braided material, and tie it in immediately in front of the thread lump. Make sure that you wrap all of the frayed ends down tight (the fraying helps the thread to get a hold of the braid, and the lump of thread keeps the abdomen up away from the hook gap).
5) Tie in a parachute post made of yarn (acrylic works well) ahead of the abdomen. It helps to use a slightly thinner yarn and double it over to get the bulk needed. Do not reenforce the base of the post with thread wraps.
6) Tie in the hackle feather (check the barb length first) in front of the yarn post.
7) Wind the hackle 5 to 6 times around the post, then tie off the hackle and cut away the unused part.
8) Dub the thread and wind on a thorax of appropriate diameter, ending just behind the hook eye.
9) Part the forward-facing hackle more-or-less equally to the sides of the fly, and fold the parachute post tightly forward, tying it down at the head.
10) Cut the tied-down parachute post so that it extends over the eye of the fly (this is the “head” of the insect).
11) Tie off and straighten out the hackle so that it forms a nice “3/4” parachute look.
12) Apply some water-based head cement to the head and to the hackle/parachute post juncture area.
13) Lucky 13! Go fish!