Freshwater Dragonflies
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Thread: Dragonflies

  1. #1
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Dragonflies

    The brown/orange dragonflies have been driving the bass here at Badin crazy... I've seen several bass lately jumping clear of the water chasing them, so the dragonflies have been driving ME crazy as well...so...
    3 treatments (this is a fly in progress). The one in the middle I tied first in a failed attempt to duplicate a Spanish tyers version (had to brush up on my rudimentary Spanish to watch the video; didn't matter as I didn't have the proper hackle anyway). More on this one later...
    The one on the left was a little better, (as far as aesthetic appeal), the one on the right is a deerhair-foam hybrid I came up with to float better.
    Yesterday, having a serious itch to scratch, (3 dragonflies burning a hole in my flybox), and despite the high winds, I took these down to the pond after work to field test them...
    Not really expecting much, and worried that I'd "ruin" one of the 2 more realistic winged patterns, I tied on the ugly one with brown saddle hackle wings, slicking it up good to keep it afloat as long as possible, and slung it out on the pond...
    Folks, the ugly, scraggly, scruffy looking dragonfly spent the next hour and a half being bitten, harassed, chased, chewed, slimed,* dried and reslimed numerous times (as I suspected, it didn't stay a true dry for very long- didn't make a bit of difference).* It performed admirably as a dry, and even better as a wet. The posted wings flared out and back quite well rather than laying flat back against the body. (Emerging dragonfly, maybe?) Short, twitchy strips worked best on top and subsurface.
    *After a dozen bass (biggest 2 pounds), and just as many bream, some approaching bruiser status, and numerous SDR's and LDR's and short strikes, and with the winds dying down a little and running out of daylight, I tied on the foam dragonfly. First cast BOOM as soon as it hits the water it gets torpedoed by a NICE porpoising bass (got a good, close look. Guessing 4, maybe 4-1/2 pounds) but I screwed it up and she came off. Still managed a couple more bass and bream, some of those good slabs, before I decided that it was time to head on home and whip up some supper.
    One of those days! Already planning the next phase of this bug's metamorphosis. (I'm thinking a peacock herl thorax with some heavily-hackled dry fly hackle palmered over that. The living dragonflies around the pond have much, much fuzzier thoraces).
    Tight lines and full spools, everybody!
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    Lifelong fishing nut. Wish I was fishin, instead of wishing!

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  3. #2
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    Mar 2008
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    I've seen beautiful specimens on the FB that were metallic blues, greens and crimson. I had a huge blue one catch a ride on my shoulder one blistering hot day.....they were everywhere. I figure a smallie would pounce on one, so i tied on a pattern that i got from Scott Hobbs......nothing......wasn't interested.
    dbeam, and sekod like this.

    Red X angler

  4. #3
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    Jun 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by slickrocktom View Post
    I've seen beautiful specimens on the FB that were metallic blues, greens and crimson. I had a huge blue one catch a ride on my shoulder one blistering hot day.....they were everywhere. I figure a smallie would pounce on one, so i tied on a pattern that i got from Scott Hobbs......nothing. wasn't interested.
    I've got a beautiful blue foam dragonfly with flash wings I bought years ago- have used it quite a few times since with never a nibble- I was expecting the same yesterday; these look much more like a skinny version of the ones around here...
    I was probably just holding my mouth right!
    Lifelong fishing nut. Wish I was fishin, instead of wishing!

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  6. #4
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    Mar 2015
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    Sekod: Your flies look great, and your pics are proof that they work. Not meant at criticism in any way, and fly tying, fly fishing in general, ought to be your own journey and individual form of expression. But I think many times we as tiers get a little too wrapped up in precise imitations. Sometimes, that's necessary, especially if you are trying to catch hard fished trout in a spring creek. Other times, just an approximation of color, size and profile will do the job, especially for bass and panfish. Dragon and damsel fly patterns with wings, whether hackle, plastic or poly fiber, are a pain to tie, they tend to twist and limit your casting distance, and they usually don't hold up too well. I would recommend that you also experiment with some more generalized patterns too. The Gartside Gurgler is a great foam pattern that ought to work very well for bass when the dragon flies are swooping. There are some other great foam dragon and damsel patterns, and you can decide on your own the level of detail you wish to pursue. A plain old popper or slider in the right color will also get the bass when they're keyed on top. I'd also recommend that you look at some Hexagenia patterns, both dry and nymph. Big Hex nymphs look a lot like dragon fly nymphs and big Hex dries with extended bodies look close enough, and they're usually a lot easier to cast. Good luck with it. Hope you hang a real sow and post pics.

  7. #5
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    Feb 2017
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    I've tied up some really good looking dragon flies that look beautiful out of the water, but don't catch a thing. So if you have trouble with them you aren't alone.
    Sic semper evello mortem tyrannis

  8. #6
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    Poppers seem to catch the dragon and damsel eaters pretty consistently.

  9. #7
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    All the poppers I have are big, bushy deer hair monsters. (Frogs, ducklings, baby moose...). All the smaller ones I tied up last year on smaller hooks got eaten. I keep meaning to drop back and tie up some more "lap" flies...these are quicker and easier anyway than deer hair poppers (I don't like premade popper heads; personal preference).
    Thanks for all compliments and criticisms; I just like tying them and catching fish with them, and if I find something productive I like to pass it on. I'm not always good at being humble, but I try! (Unless we're shooting pool- then I'll just tell you the truth... )
    My freshwater spinning gear hasn't been used yet again this year (last year I lasted until November, when the winds put the fly rod at bay). I've got it bad...that much I do know.
    dbeam likes this.

    Lifelong fishing nut. Wish I was fishin, instead of wishing!

  10. #8
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    You're already tying at a level higher than I do, and I've been at it for a real long time. Keep it up and do what suits you. But do tie some Gurglers. You won't regret it. Best of luck.
    Fly2bTied likes this.


  11. #9
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    sekod, I enjoy your posts and pictures, keep up the good work !

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmac View Post
    You're already tying at a level higher than I do, and I've been at it for a real long time. Keep it up and do what suits you. But do tie some Gurglers. You won't regret it. Best of luck.
    Thank you. I'll never be a Pat Cohen or a Bo Wentworth or Son Tao or Sven Diesel or any of the pro tyers I follow; as long as my flies will catch a fish or two and are reasonably durable, I'm happy. I am constantly amused and catch myself laughing out loud when it all comes together just right.
    Gurglers have been on the list of to-be-tied flies. (Long been a Gartside fan; I like nuts who don't take it all too seriously, like me!). I have a few foam-bodied flies I've been meaning to tie, and have the foam for, just haven't gotten around to them yet. Same with EP-type fiber flies or saltwater flies. I will, sooner or later.
    I still pull a fly out of the box to fish that I didn't tie in the last six months (last week, it was a royal coachman classic wet) that after a cast or two comes unravelled in a big old mess. You guys know you'll usually only see the "pretty" ones; the fish don't give a hooey and can't tell the difference between Vin Diesel and Van Gogh. (Thank goodness).
    Tight lines!
    Lifelong fishing nut. Wish I was fishin, instead of wishing!

  13. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fly2bTied View Post
    sekod, I enjoy your posts and pictures, keep up the good work !
    Thank you. I just try to stay positive and share what I can. (I don't have much, but I have an embarrassment of riches anyway, and am always willing to share what I DO have!).
    Fly2bTied likes this.

    Lifelong fishing nut. Wish I was fishin, instead of wishing!

  14. #12
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    I still can't tie a decent Wooly Bugger, so thank you for the inspiration! However, I am living proof that ugly flies WILL catch fish. It's the only kind I currently can tie

  15. #13
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    Congrats on the post award !!
    sekod likes this.


  16. #14
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    Beautiful ties!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    sekod likes this.


  17. #15
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    Thank you folks! Grinning like a possum eating briars.
    Lifelong fishing nut. Wish I was fishin, instead of wishing!

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