Tying Denny's Dragon

By Mike Hogue

above photo by Martha Hogue

Denny Redmond of Cedar Rapids, Iowa may have created in my mind the perfect dragon fly imitation. Denny's very clever design exactly imitates the size, shape and more importantly the wing movement of the dragon fly adult. For many years, I fooled around with wads of deer hair and buck tail on extended bodies trying to make the perfect dragon. In vain I fought many hassles in trying to design the correct wing which resulted in flies that cast like an F-16 taking off of the battleship Enterprise. Denny's unique design represents simplicity at it's finest. Rather than worry about the wing itself, Denny focused on the action of the wing which has a very large floppy type of movement to it. By using rubber legs as a clump, Denny makes a wing which implies what the real does.....a large flapping motion.

Denny originally came up with the design for fishing Boundary Waters smallmouth in very clear water for large ( 16-20" ) smallmouth. The original was tied using a Partridge low water salmon hook. My modifications were very small. I substituted a Mustad 3366 Bass hook as I didn't have any Partridge Hooks of that style ( my Mustad salmon hooks had a gap which I felt was too narrow for a bass bug. I prefer a wide gap hook with a very stiff shank for bass.) I also simplified how the legs were tied...so that the fly could be tied easier and faster. After you tie and fish a few of these I think you'll agree just how clever this fly is.......

Making the Dragon's Body

(below is the shape of the finished body)

Begin by cutting a rectangular strip of blue fun foam or fly foam 1/4 " wide by 1 1/2" long.

Next make a 45 degree cut along each side, cut about 1" to 3/4" into the foam on each side. It may help to cut out a paper guide and draw the shape to the foam. Use an exacto-knife or razor blade for best results.

Next make a short ( about a 1/4") 45 degree cut along the front. of each side.

On the last step trim up the sides and make sure that the body is evenly sized through out.


Denny's Dragon-Pattern

Hook: Mustad 3366 size 2

Thread: 3/0 or 6/0 Black

Eyes: 5 mm strung black pearls

Back and Extended body: Blue Fun Foam or Fly Foam

Legs and Wings: Medium White Living or Round Rubber

Under Body: Black short flash crystal chenille

Tying the Fly

The fly itself is tied more or less as a very large nymph with an extended tail as an over-back.

1)Begin by tying on a set of eyes in figure 8 wraps. Leave 2 eye lengths open for the finished head..(In other words, don't butt the eyes up against the eye of the hook.)

2)Move the thread back to the middle of the hook.

3)Cut a strip of 3 rubber legs 2" long.Tie in the legs with figure 8 wraps.

4)Move thread back to the end of the hook.

5) Tie chenille and make one wrap as a hump. This will force the tail up.

6) Tie in over-back with 3-4 wraps.

7) Move thread forward. Stop at the eyes.

8) Wrap chenille up up hook shank and around the legs. Stop at the eyes.

9) Pull foam forward and wrap behind eyes.

10) Move thread in front of eyes.

11) Pull foam over eyes and finish head.

This sounds tricker than what it is. Think of a wooly bugger with eyes and legs and an over-back and you've got the basic idea of how the fly is made. You might try using brown and gray. The blue seems to be the best for me. You can add a weed guard if you like using really cheap 20 lb mono if you like. Tie the guard in first, then follow the rest of the steps.

For casting look for alot of trash and toss it around the cover. Fish with twitches and make a few hovering type of casts by doing a parachute cast..... Cast forward and come to a very sharp stop....this will cause the leader to fail and the fly will fall or suspend for a second...Much like the adults do. I've often had bass grab this baby before it hits the water using a parachute cast. If you see bass grabbing adult dragons, you've now got the right fly to match the hatch.


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