Tying a Better Borger Braided Butt Damsel
By Mike Hogue

above photo: actual damsel fly, from the University of Michigan Web site

Portions of this article appeared in the Flyline, the newsletter for the Hawkeye Fly Fishing Association. This article also appeared in the Federation of Fly Fisher's Regional newsletter
The Leader. Thanks to Dan Tubbs for help with the photos.

In still water ( ie lakes and ponds) one of the most common insects is the adult damsel fly. Generally, you will find damsels hatching on bright, sunny days when air temperatures hit 65 degrees. Damsels adults are identified by their bright blue slender stick-like bodies and long clear wings. Many folks will often confuse damsels for dragon flies which are generally quite large and dark in color.

For several years I tried in vain to imitate these insects unsuccessfully until Gary Borger's Designing Trout Flies book came out. While fishing in New Mexico lakes Borger and Bob Pentzl came up with the braided butt damsel with an extended body and parachute wing. This fly represented the ideal solution to matching the damsel fly hatch.

After fishing the fly I became frustrated by the problems of the design created by Borger. The original pattern called for using antron yarn for the over body and parachute post. By using yarn as a post, Borger's design acts like a giant sponge and soaks up water like a Viva paper towel. By substituting foam for the original yarn, my fellow tier and friend Larry Young, created what may be the perfect damsel fly. The pattern listed below is our interpretation of Borger's damsel dry fly.

Mike's Braided Butt Damsel:

Hook: Mustad 3366 size 10 ( You may wish to sub the 98480)
Eyes: 2.5 mm strung black pearls
Thread: 6/0 black
Back and Parachute post: Blue Fun Foam
Hackle: Silver Dun tied parachute style
Body: Dubbed blue rabbit or poly
Extended body: 20 lb. Gudebrod Braided Mono Backing

Tying Steps:

1)Begin by cutting a 1 " section of 20 lb. braided butt backing. Color the backing with a blue marker ( I use Mark's Alot Brand, Pantone and Sharpie's are also good choices). You may wish to add small black bars every 1/8" for a grizzly effect. Melt one end of the tail section with a butane lighter to prevent fraying. Wrap eyes to shank of the hook in figure "8" wraps. Add a drop of super glue to secure the wraps. Tie in tail section behind the eye along the hook shank.

2)Cut a 1/8" by 1/2" long section of Fun Foam. Taper one end to a point and tie in behind eyes. Tie in hackle. Hackle should be oversized......hint use saddle hackles or very large necks feathers. You may wish to sub grizzly hackle for dun.

3) Wrap hackle parachute style and tie off feather. Dub hook shank up to eyes.

4) Pull foam over dubbed body and wrap behind eyes. Move thread forward and pull foam over eyes and and whip finish head. The completed body should have one hump for the thorax and another hump over the eyes.
Locating Materials:

If you have trouble finding the Gudebrod backing and Fun Foam, for $3.00 I have a set which includes: a foot of eyes, a small pack of foam, dubbing material and 10 feet of braided butt material. For information on ordering the sets please refer to the materials section.


Email: Mike@eflytyer.com

For more Info Contact:

Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068

Phone: 607-347-4946