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The farm and park ponds in my area (Central New jersey) have lots of damsel and dragon fly activity in the summer. This year I'm going to be ready.

The Damsels are Gary Borger's pattern.  The Dragons are my own. The "kite" is a 6 foot single strand of white Phentex poly yarn with whipped loop ends for attaching to my fly line on one end and to  3 foot of 3x tippet on the other. Rod will be a 10 ft 4 weight.  For my 14 ft Tenkara rod I'll be using a 10 ft. piece of unwaxed dental floss with 4 ft of 5x tippet.

Any reports others might offer on blow line fishing would be appreciated



Blow Line Flies.jpg

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I've seen trout take hovering damsels on Hebgen Lake just like in the video below. You can take them using floss blow line fishing.


"Blow line fishing" is a technique described by both Gary LaFontaine and Gary Borger. 

Gary Borger wrote about it in his book, Presentation pg 286. In Gary Borger's technique you use untwisted polypropylene yarn that is flatten and ironed to straighten the fibers. Then you form a "kite" out of it by whipping finishing a loop into it and attaching it to the end of your fly line and then attaching 2 feet of 2x or 3x mono to the "kite". The heavy tippet material is to prevent break offs. The strikes are vicious.

When there is enough wind blowing from off shore, you raise your fly rod and the use the wind to make the fly hover and dap the water surface just like a hovering damsel fly.

You can read Gary LaFontaine's article below:


I use a pattern that will sink. Damsel crawl under water to lay their eggs and they drown. Drowned damsels are rarely fished and the trout are not shy about taking them.


Here's what Jason Borger has to say about damsel patterns:

"One question that I/we often get about this fly (inspired by a pattern that my father saw in New Zealand back in the 1980s) is, “Why don’t you use foam for the post, it floats better?” The answer is based on years of observing damselfly hatches and is fairly simple: because sometimes we want the fly to sink. If that sounds odd, keep in mind that “dry flies” (or perhaps more accurately “dry insects”) sometimes aren’t so dry…."

I wrote about this previously in this post about how it is used for hovering damsel flies:



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The current issue of Fly Fisherman has an article by Landon Meyer about fishing damsel flies and a two cool patterns also.

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Landon Meyer's Chubby Damsel looks like Gary Borger's Damsel fly in that it uses a braided monofilament body.

Landon's pattern from Fly Fisherman Magazine is below.


"Chubby Damsel Fly Recipe

Mayer's Chubby damsel


Mayer's Chubby Damsel.

  • HOOK: #14-16 Umpqua XT050 BN5X Stubby T 10.
  • THREAD: Black/blue 8/0 UNI-Thread.
  • BODY: Kingfisher Blue/ Olive, Ice Dub under
  • FOAM: Blue/Olive 2mm Fly Foam.
  • TAIL FLASH: One strand of black/Olive krystal flash folded over three times 
  • TAIL: Blue/olive Hareline Adult Damsel Body, barred with black Copic marker, tipped with clear resin.
  • SIGHTER: White poly yarn.
  • WINGS: Clear UV Pearl Hareline Grizzly Flutter Legs and Chicone’s Barred Regular Crusher Legs.
  • BACK LEGS: Black Span Flex.

Gary Borger's Pattern is below:



Most fly tiers like Landon have used foam to modify the pattern to guarantee a floating fly

I mentioned this to Gary and he asked me whether the tiers had thought he had not considered foam. According to Gary, the trout can concentrate on the drowned damsels and the foam pattern cannot imitate drowned damsels because they always float. So tie the standard pattern first and add a few foam ones if you want. Compare the Borger damsel with other damsel patterns and you will note how realistic the braided butt pattern looks compared to foam, dyed deer hair, or dubbed abdomen patterns. None of these can match the thin abdomen of the natural insect. The Borger damsel is the most effective damsel patterns I have fished.

And use a strong tippet. The vicious take can often break you off.

Another point is that the stage before the mature blue damsel is the brown teneral phase. You can use a brown color marker to match the mono to tie up a few teneral patterns. The brown teneral patterns will also match brown dragon flies.




Cortland braided mono comes in 30 and 50 lb strengths. Get the 50 if you can. You can use the braided mono for making braided loops and the 50 lb is stronger.

The video below shows how damsels are vulnerable when they are under the water and how they get trapped in the film. A foam damsel pattern can't get that trapped in the film appearance.


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Very cool.Warm water fish eat these as well and nave played around with damsel/dragon patterns.Have caught some really big bass on panfish flies over the years.Any one have a pattern for this giant dragon nymph?




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2 hours ago, jcozzz said:

a pattern for this giant dragon nymph

this is what I use, pretty simple.  Size, weight and color to match your needs


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Thank you,i like the look and profile.I know this thread is about surface fishing but did not no where else to ask.The shed i posted is pretty big,about an inch and 3/4s.But my obsession with these big nymphs has  me searching sevearal entomoligy data bases at colleges and universities in my region.These nymphs live under the surface for a couple years so there are always some present waiting to hatch the next  year.Your version has the right look and not overly complex.I tie to throw ,The works of fly tying art on these pages are just mesmerizing and i visit daily.Thanks again,

PS what size are these.

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3 hours ago, jcozzz said:

PS what size are these

I believe those are #10s, so maybe 3/4".  I'll double check when I get the chance.  Not sure they get as big as 1 3/4" around where I fish.  I estimated the size for those from husks I've seen on docks and reeds. Fish them deep around weeds in quick, short strips and a rest that varies.

Looking at your photo, I think I may try reversing the taper on mine 




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