NYMPHS AFTER DARK — Fishing dragonfly nymphs at night
By Ed Herbst

THOSE who know about bugs will tell you that at night dragonfly nymphs swim to shore or to trees and reeds sticking out of the water and start the slow and vulnerable process of extricating themselves from their nymphal shucks and waiting for their bodies and wings to harden so that they can take flight.

The only flyfishers that I know of that have tried to exploit this process are the Australians. They have a very specific pattern called the Corduliid and I first came across it in one of my favourite books, Fur and Feather — Fly-Tying for Trout by Peter Leuver. This is what it said:

“When Fred Dunford first moved to Cooma he made up his mind to develop a series of trout flies to suit Lake Eucumbene. As a student at New England University he had topped biology. He subsequently became a biology teacher at Monaro High School. During the 1970s he wrote some brilliant articles on trout-feeding patterns, insect behaviour, etc. He also developed and described some very innovative fly patterns, the most famous being the Corduliid (a mudeye imitation).

“The Corduliid fly first came to our attention in June 1970. The body was made from clipped deer hair and the legs from mottled brown turkey fibres. Fred is a disciple of the ‘exact imitation’ school, so this first model looked very real. Over the years, modifications were made, and today’s version is the simplest and most practical yet.

“The fly is completely original. I have seen nothing like it in Britain or the United States. It is meant to be fished in the meniscus with the back just touching the surface, which creates a subtle wake. Fish it at dawn, at dusk and at night during the December-May mayfly season. When fishing at dusk, pick a ‘riser’, put the fly in its window, and after a pause twitch it slowly. During dead calm, do this very slowly or just let it sit there. In heavy conditions, create a bit of disturbance by a faster retrieve. The strike is usually audible; then when the leader straightens, you’ve got him.”

Read the full story in the October 2017 issue of FLYFISHING magazine.
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