There are several lessons in this.
The first is that, if they are to be able to ascend to the surface
as often as they must, corixae will only be found either in relatively
shallow water or where there is weed not far beneath the surface.
There is no rationale, therefore, for fishing artificial corixae in deep,
The second is that, logically, we should tie and use artificials designed
to behave like the naturals, which argues for a buoyant pattern fished
on a sinking line. The difficulty, of course, is in dressing a buoyant
artificial which approximates to its natural counterpart in size, but it
can be done. By chance, both David Collyer and Derek Bradbury
came up with the same idea almost simultaneously in the early
1970's - using a plastazote body on a #10 or 12 hook and an olive
or brown feather fibre back.
Fished on a quick-sinking line which is allowed to sink to the bottom
and then retrieved in long, slow pulls with even longer pauses, the
Plastazote Corixa behaves very much like the natural and is extremely
effective, being taken very confidently. The sacrifice of realism in the
form of a somewhat bloated abdomen, essential if it is to have the
necessary buoyancy, seems to deter the fish not at all. I find that a
body made up from layers of 3mm plastazote is easier to construct
and rather more durable than one carved from a plastazote block.
The dressing requires few materials but is fiddly to tie. This is a
slight modification of it:
Hook: Standard 10-12.
Where damselfly nymphs are concerned, it is evident from the number
of bloated, bulbous, bushy and biliously coloured offerings around that
very few fly tyers have ever even seen a natural, let alone watched one
in its natural environment.
Underbody: Flat medium silver tinsel on hook shank.
Body: Two cigar shaped strips of ethafoam above the hook shank.
Back: Cock pheasant tail feather fibres.
Legs: Cock pheasant tail feather fibre points.
Natural damselfly nymphs are slender creatures, pale, translucent
olive-green in colour, beautifully camouflaged against the background
of the weed in which they live. When they swim - which they seem only
to do seriously when preparing to hatch - they propel themselves through
the water with a sinuous lateral wriggling of their bodies.
All this argues for a slim, translucent, light green artificial with a
built-in tendency to wiggle when retrieved, quite unlike the fluffy,
opaque, often dark green and always rigid patterns so often tied
and sold as 'damselfly nymphs'. It was with the colour and translucency
of the naturals in mind that I developed, over several years, the
See-Thru Damsel Nymph, with pale green seal's fur dubbed
very sparsely over a gold under-body, with a similarly
pale green marabous tail to provide sinuous movement, and with
a pheasant tail wing case and legs of soft, waving grey partridge
At one time, I experimented with 'wiggle nymphs', tied on two
hooks hinged together, the rear one being snipped off at the bend.
Having found that they did not wriggle as expected when pulled
through the water, that fish had a tendency to take them 'short'
and that they were tricky to tie, I discarded them. The See-Thru
Damsel Nymph is still more rigid than might be wished; perhaps
that typifies the compromise between realism and practicality that
is inherent in all fly tying. The dressing is as follows:
Hook: 10-12 long-shank.
Weighting (optional): fine lead wire wound under the thorax.
Tail: sparse, pale green marabou.
Underbody: flat gold tinsel.
Body and thorax: pale olive seal's fur dubbed very sparsely and ribbed with gold oval tinsel.
Wing case: cock pheasant centre tail feather fibres.
Legs: grey partridge neck feather, very sparse.