August 7th, 2000
Photos by Jim Kripps
1. Cut about a 30 cm. length of tying thread and put it on your bench where you can find it easily. You'll need this to tie off the braid later. Slip a bead, smaller hole first, onto the hook (you may have to pinch down the barb), mount the hook in the vise and lay down a base of tying thread.
2. Strip a quantity of marabou from a feather, trim the white bits from the butts and tie in as a long, full tail.
3. Position your vise at about 45º angle away from you to get better access to the tail. To simplify the braiding, use three hackle clips (the "electrical" style). Separate about a third of the fibers and put a clip on near the tips.
4. Separate the remaining fibers into two parts and place a clip on each. You are now ready to braid.
5. Start the braiding process by taking the leftmost clip and passing it over the middle. Now take the rightmost clip and pass it over the middle. Repeat 6 to 12 times, depending on how long you want the braid.
6. Take the 30 cm. length of thread you cut in step 1 in your left hand (I'm using a strand of wool in the photo for clarity). You want to pinch it between your thumb and index finger. Hold the thread behind the braid so it sticks out both sides and then pinch the braid and thread in place with your thumb and index finger. Your thread should be at the exact point on the braid where you want to tie it off. Use your right hand to pass the thread around the braid at least twice and tie it off with any convenient knot.
7. Carefully trim the thread. Remove the clips and put a drop of head cement on the thread. The "tail" now forms the tail proper (which will be trimmed to length last) and the abdomen of the nymph.
9. Tie in the hackle, at the point where you isolated the tip of the feather, right behind the bead with 3-4 tight turns of thread. Trim the tip and make 2-3 turns of hackle to form the collar. Stroke the hackle fibers back before each turn. Trim the excess hackle and tie off with a whip finish behind the bead. Then pinch off the tail proper with your thumbnail to the length you want. I prefer to pinch it off with a thumbnail rather than trimming it with scissors because it gives the finished fly a more natural look. With this final step, the Olive Braided Butt Beadhead Damselfly Nymph is complete.
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