Every tyer I know has tied a Damselfly, and I'm no exception. Only mine just turned the fish off. The more I tied, and the harder I tried, the worse it got. Mine looked special, everybody thought they were great. They looked the part. Even the other Damselflies would try to mate with it. But the fish still showed no interest. So, like every other failure, I stuck it up on the shelf and went to the next activity. But every time I ran across the material while looking for something else, I would get annoyed at myself for not following through.
I could not think what I could do to revise the pattern or make it more attractive. Then I remembered an area where I had seen the large amount of damselflies not far from my home. It's a flood catch basin containing year-round water storage that our fishing club uses to put on yearly casting events. The small lake surrounding it contains small Bass and Mosquito Fish, but mostly warmish water with good moss growth. So without rod in hand, I visited the site and spent the better part of one day in the most active part of the adult live populated area starting at sun-up. The nearby area was used for runners, dog walkers, bicyclers and picnickers. Probably wondering why this crazy person was sitting at the water's edge staring at the shore with a bug net, when it looked like he should be in one. There I was with my microscope sitting on a 5 gallon bucket, me wearing my hip boots kneeling on the wet muddy shore's edge. I remember a few over curious people even came up and asked a few questions. As the day wore on I collected, adults and nymphs, observed hatches, adults mating, and even fish feeding in the midst of all this, AND THERE WAS THE ANSWER RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.
The fish only seemed interested in feeding on adult insects when the insect was in, not on the water. This was an eye-opener for me, when I say in the water I meant either in the drowning state, or by flying errors trapped in the film, and normally with wing positions entirely different than in the sitting or resting position. As the day wore on, I caught and forced some of the adults into various postures just to convince myself that this was more than a norm then a guess or chance on my part. Back to the drawing board I went. Now tying my tryouts with flared or down- wing, and guess what. It worked! The fish liked it.
The three photographs show you exactly what I'm talking about:
1.) RELAXED IN THE RESTING POSITION
2.) FLARED WING DROWNING POSITION
3.) DOWN-WING, CRIPPLED OR DROWNED
Number 3 will float in the air on you, and it's tough to cast. But it draws the most attention. You can use hackle tips or poly for the wings. But I like acetate. Number 2 needs a little move or skittering to improve its fishing but both work well.
Welcome to the world of "Realistic Fly Tying" by Bill Blackstone