A few years ago, Adam Hope created the Carp Damsel, which is a hybridized version of a damsel and dragon nymph designed to target carp. The fly excelled across a wide range of conditions but made its name fishing mid-column to prowling carp and to bank feeders where the fly was delicately dapped in front of the fish. The fly was developed out of necessity due to the wariness and intelligence of the carp we target on our home waters. After learning of Adam’s success, I developed a very similar version to call my own and fished it as successfully over the past few years. It has accounted for some of my best carp on fly, all of which took the fly in the middle of the water column, as it slowly parachutes down.
The slow “parachute” descent is achieved by not using any weight on the fly. The fly uses a densely packed body of dubbing and rabbit for most of the weight that allows it to sink. The hook is a Partridge Czech Nymphing hook that is thin-wired and very lightweight. For this fly, I only use it for stillwater carp less than 25 lbs. The rabbit and rubber legs allow the fly to parachute through the water column at a slow rate. For wary fish, this makes the fly non-intrusive for close presentations, long leads, or a timed drag and drop. If you fish it, always use a loop knot to allow the fly to sink correctly and have the best action. For the most part, this fly is fished motionless, but we have caught plenty of fish after a quick strip that replicates the darting motion of a damsel/dragon nymph.
Hook: Partridge Authentic Czech Nymph Hook 6-8
Thread: Uni-Thread 8/0 Olive
Tail: Stripped Rabbit Zonkers Dark Olive
Body: Hareline Dubbing Dark Olive
Back/Thorax: Medallion Sheeting Dark Olive
Rib: Wapsi Stretch Tubing
Legs: Spirit River Tarantula Legs Olive or Tan Mini Flanking Stripped Rabbit Dark Olive
Eyes: E-Mono Eyes Black Medium/Large
If you lack confidence in such a thin hook or will be fishing for river carp, the fly will work just as well with a heavier hook of your choice.
Landed on a Size 8 Czech Hook…
An optional addition is an epoxy back that gives the fly a little more weight and some more realism.
Damsel in Distress FTW
Fly Carpin’s 2014 Carp Fly Swap about to go postal…