Wiggle Damsel

Pattern Description:

The Wiggle Damsel is a pattern I came up with about fifteen years ago at the request of my good friend, Marty Cecil. Marty is the manager of Colorado’s Elktrout Lodge. Elktrout has several spring-fed ponds that are home to awesome damsel hatches and Marty needed a pattern with a little more wiggle to it. I played with several different ideas and finally settled on this version, as it is very easy to tie and seems to hold up pretty well too. The jointed body allows the abdomen to swing from side to side on the retrieve and elevates when the heavy bead chain eyes pull the front of the fly down. I have also tied this fly with mono eyes, and they work well too, especially over weedbeds where the standard bead eyes are just a bit too heavy and cause the fly to dive into the weeds.

I like to fish this fly on a long leader and sight cast it to fish cruising the banks looking for the emerging damsels. Their reactions have proven this pattern has the right stuff. I mean, when they light up and rush the fly, you know you’ve done something right!

Materials Needed:
Hook: TMC 101 #14 or 16 for the abdomen/extended portion, TMC 3761 #14 or 16 for the front end. The sizes should match front and back, whichever size you choose.
Thread: Olive UNI 6/0 or 70 denier
Body: Olive Marabou
Extension attachment/loop: 3X Monofilament
Eyes: Small or extra-small brass bead chain, OR small mono nymph eyes.

Step 1
Attach the thread to the TMC 101 and wrap a thread base from the eye to the bend.

Step 2
Select six or eight bushy strands of marabou and strip them from the quill.

Step 3
Pinch the tips off the marabou to even them up into a short little brush. Measure these tips against the hook shank so they are equal to one half a shank length.

Step 4
Tie the marabou strands in at the bend of the hook with two tight wraps of thread, one right on top of the other.

Step 5
Lift the remaining butt ends of the marabou up and out of the way while you move the thread back to the front of the hook with spiraling turns.

Step 6
Stop the thread right at the eye of the hook.

Step 7
Begin wrapping the marabou strands around the hook traveling forward like you would when tying a pheasant tail nymph.

Step 8
Continue wrapping the marabou in smooth even turns to the eye of the hook and tie them off with a couple more tight wraps of thread.

Step 9
Whip finish and clip the thread.

Step 10
Use a pair of wire cutters to trim the bend off of the hook. Don’t leave any bend, just trim the wire flush against the back end of the marabou body, under the tail. Place this portion of the fly off to the side for the time being.

Step 11
Put the TMC 3761 in the vise and wrap a thread base from the eye back to the bend of the hook.

Step 12
Loop a piece of 3X Fluorocarbon tippet material through the eye of the extended body portion of the fly. A couple inches of tippet is plenty here.

Step 13
Tie the ends of the mono loop to the shank of the front hook and wrap over the mono from the bend to about three eye lengths back from the hook eye. Trim the excess mono from the front of the fly at this point.

Step 14
Detail of the mono loop at the rear of the fly. This loop should be pretty short, as a longer loop will promote the tail section to foul (wrap around the bend of the front hook) when casting.

Step 15
Move the thread forward to about an eye length or two back from the hook eye and tie in a pair of bead chain eyes with figure eight or X-wraps. Secure the eyes in place and go on to the next step.

Step 16
Move the tying thread back to the bend of the hook. Peel another small clump of marabou fibers from the stem and pinch the tips off like you did for the tail. Measure these tips against the shank so they are equal to about half a shank length as shown.

Step 17
Tie the measured tips in at the bend of the hook exactly as you did on the rear hook. Put two tight turns over the marabou, one right on top of the other. The tips should extend back to the front of the rear hook. This tail on the front hook will cover the joint between the body sections.

Step 18
Lift the butt ends of the marabou out of the way and bring the thread forward to the hook eye.

Step 19
Wrap the marabou from the bend of the hook forward to the back of the bead chain eyes.

Step 20
Move the marabou to the front of the eyes by crossing under them.

Step 21
Tie the marabou off with a couple tight turns of thread right at the hook eye.

Step 22
Cross the thread between the eyes on the top of the hook and bring it around the hook just behind the eyes.

Step 23
The thread should be just behind the eyes right now, as shown here.

Step 24
Pull the remaining stub ends of the marabou back over the top of the eyes, forming the wingcase.

Step 25
Tie the marabou wingcase down right behind the eyes with a few more tight turns of thread.

Step 26
Pull the long ends of the marabou wingcase forward again and trim them off just in front of the hook eye. This will leave a short stub of marabou to wiggle about.

Step 27
Whip finish the thread over the marabou tie down behind the bead eyes and clip the thread. It helps to wet the marabou a bit to hold it out of the way while you whip.

Step 28
Finished fly, side view.

1 comment

This fly technique was originally published back in the 80s. It was one of the first articulates every published.

John Jaacks

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