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Dragonfly Nymph

Dragonfly NymphDragonfly nymphs are well known to be high up the list of important food sources for stillwater trout, and imitations of these nymphs should be a staple in any stillwater angler's flybox.


A couple of years ago, I came across a description of a Dragonfly Nymph pattern by Tom Sutcliffe, in his wonderful book Hunting Trout. The pattern is called the Neutral Density Dragon. In his book, Tom describes the pattern's neutral buoyancy characteristics, the fact that it rides the right way up in the water when retrieved, the coffin shaped abdomen and thin waistline as some of the important attributes of the pattern's success.

I remember tying up a couple of these flies according to Tom's specifications and was impressed by the pattern. I quickly found it to be an excellent producer of large trout on our KZN Stillwaters, and certainly more successful from my experience than many of the other imitations that I have tried out.

The original fly is typical of Tom's suggestive, no-frills fly tying style. Over time I've evolved the pattern to suit my own tying style and preference for slightly more realism than the original pattern affords, and in doing so incorporated a number of aspects I liked from other pattern's, whilst still retaining those important attributes and characteristics of Tom's original pattern.

I hope you'll enjoy the tying sequence and trying this pattern out for yourself.


Recipe

Hook: Tiemco TMC300 (6x long Streamer hook) #10 - #6
Thread: UTC 140 Denier - Olive
Eyes: 100lb burned Monofilament
Tail: Goose Biots - Olive
Underbody: Yarn
Body: Dubbing Blend
Legs: Dyed Olive Partridge hackle fibres
Wingcase: Turkey feather, coated with Dave's Flexement

Step1


Start your thread and wrap down to just above the hook barb.



Step2


Tie in 3 Biots for the tail, one on either side of the hook shank, and one on top, all with their convex sides facing the hook shank so they flair out slightly when you apply tension to the thread wraps. Wrap back towards the hook eye and tie in your burned mono eyes, taking care to leave enough space in front of them to complete the head and whip finish without crowding the hook eye.



Step3


Take the thread back to just in front of the tail and tie in a piece of yarn. A length of around 30cm is usually long enough to complete the underbody of a #8 fly. As yarn is a cheap material, I would suggest that you rather tie in a length longer than you will need, and waste some rather than finding out halfway through wrapping the underbody that the piece is too short to allow you to create the correct profile.



Step4


Take the thread forward to the point where the nymph's abdomen will effectively start. Create the underbody of the fly's abdomen by wrapping the yarn forwards and backwards along the hook shank to create the correct profile as shown in the picture. Don't make the underbody too bulky as we will still be adding further bulk when we dub the fly. When you have completed the underbody, tie off the yarn and trim.



Step5


Prepare your dubbing to be used for the fly. It is important to note that this pattern uses a lot of dubbing and so it is important that you mix enough. To create a colour I have found to closely match the specimens I've collected on our waters here in KZN, I blend the following types and colours according to the following proportions:
 
3 Parts Spike Guard Dubbing - Olive
1 Part Spike Guard Dubbing - Black
1 Part Spike Guard Dubbing - Brown
1 Part Flashabou Dubbing - Peacock (You can also use another Peacock coloured synthetic dubbing such as Spirit River Diamond Brite.)

Once you're prepared your dubbing, take the thread over the underbody to the point where you tied in the tail. Create a dubbing loop, wax the loop and place tufts of dubbing into the loop. Once you've got the dubbing evenly distributed inside the dubbing loop, pull the loop tight to close it, and twist it into a rope using your dubbing twister, then take your bobbin forward over the underbody to just in front of the abdomen.

Step6


Wrap the dubbing rope forward over the yarn underbody in touching turns ensuring the underbody is properly covered, with no visible gaps. Stroke the dubbing back with each turn to avoid trapping it. Once you reach the front of the abdomen, tie off the dubbing rope and trim. Make several half hitches to secure and then cut your thread.



Step7


Take the fly out of the vice and give it good brushing to remove any loose dubbing, as well as to make the fibres stand out perpendicular to the body. I find an old toothbrush works well for this purpose.



Step8


Using a sharp pair of scissors, trim the dubbing so that the correct shape abdomen is formed as per the photo. Once complete, place the fly back into the vice and reattach your thread.



Step9


Prepare your wingcase by cutting a section of Turkey feather, slightly narrower than the hook gape, and coating it with Dave's Flexement. Once it is dry, cut a V out of one end. This will form the wing buds at the back of the wingcase.



Step10


Tie in the wingcase as shown with the wing buds extending a little way over the abdomen as shown.



Step11


Tie in a bunch of Partridge hackle fibres on either side of the thorax to form the legs.



Step12


Spin a noodle of dubbing onto the thread and dub the thorax and head of the fly.



Step13


Pull the wingcase forward, between the eyes and secure. Whip finish, apply head cement and you're done !

 

 
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