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Fly Patterns
Rabbit Damsel


Hook:         Mustad R 74-9672 #8-#14
Thread:      8/0 Olive or Light Olive
Tail:           Tuft of Rabbit Fur from a Zonker or Cross Cut Strip
Rib:            3-4 Strands of Chartreuse Angel Hair
Body:         Mallard Flank, Dyed
Wingcase:  Stretch Flex, Olive
Thorax:      Mallard Flank, Dyed
Legs:         Mallard Flank, Dyed Mixed with a Few Strands of 
                 Chartreuse Angel Hair 
Eyes:         Mono Eyes, Olive
Head:        Rabbit Fur or Ice Dub, Color to Compliment

Tying Note:  Use a permanent marker to darken the eyes if necessary.  Vary the body color to match the natural nymphs.

Amongst many stillwater fly fishers damsel nymph patterns are the starting point to a days fly-fishing. Damselflies are perhaps the one insect associated with stillwater fly-fishing. The keys to any successful fraud are a slender profile, the head and eyes are the widest feature, and animated materials such as marabou or rabbit fur to suggest the sinusoidal motion of the natural nymphs. A certain times their laborious method of propulsion becomes the primary trigger for trout and consistent success can be almost impossible.

The Rabbit Damsel is a lean dressing that incorporates a complimentary color of Angel Hair to rib the body and mingle with the legs to provide an added touch of attraction. A long tuft of rabbit fur suggests the unique paddle shaped lamellae of the nymph along with much needed motion. Rabbit fur is a durable substitute to traditional marabou and is readily available either as a complete hide or from "Zonker"  or cross cut strips.

When damsels are active such as during an emergence floating, intermediate and intermediate tip lines are the tools of choice. Dont forget that damsels are a stillwater staple and should be considered at any time throughout the stillwater season. Favored haunts include long stemmed weeds such as milfoil, lily pads and potomageton where they perch inverted ready to ambush any food item the same size or smaller than themselves. A steady slow hand twist with frequent pauses works best. Be prepared for the grab on the pause.

Tying Instructions

1) Cover the hook shank with tying thread.  Figure eight a pair of mono eyes two eye widths back from the hook eye.  Tying the eyes in first establishes proportional goal posts, providing a start and a finish to the fly.

2) Trim a sparse clump of rabbit fur from either a Zonker or Cross Cut strip.  Tie in the rabbit fur clump at the bend of the hook forming a shank length tail.  Long tails move in the water suggesting the snake-like swimming motion of the natural nymphs.

3) Select three strands of chartreuse Angel Hair.  Moisten the strands to keep them together and tie them in at the base of the tail.  Tie in 6-8 mallard flank fibers at the base of the tail.

4) Stroke the mallard flank fibers together and wind forward to the 3/4s point on the hook forming a slender tapered body.  Tie off and trim the excess.  Counter wind the Angel Hair ribbing forward over the body.  Tie off and trim the excess.

5) Tie in the wing case behind the eyes and secure back to the s point on the hook.  Tie in 6-8 mallard flank fibers behind the eyes so the tips extend half the shank length in front of the hook.  Tie in 6-8 strands of Angel Hair fibers on top of the mallard flank fibers.  Adjust the Angle Hair fibers so they are the same length as the mallard flank.

6) Tie in 6-8 mallard flank fibers at the s point and wind forward to the eyes forming the thorax.  Tie off and trim the excess.  Divide the mallard flank and Angel Hair fibers pointing forward into two equal groups.  Fold one group down the far side of the thorax behind the eyes and secure in place.  Repeat this process to form the near side set of legs.

7) Pull the wingcase over the thorax and secure behind the eyes using 2-3 wraps of thread.  Fold the excess back over the thorax and secure using a minimum of wraps. 


8) Dub a small head in and around the eyes.  Build a neat head whip finish and apply head cement.  Pinch the sides of the Midge Flex folding the wingcase in half lengthwise.  Trim the wingcase on an angle back toward the tail, about half way down the abdomen.  The finished wingcase should have a notched appearance.  Color the eyes as necessary using a permanent marker.


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