The Dragon Fly Tale
By Paul Prentiss


Graham Owen is the President of GO Solar Company located the San Fernando Valley area of  Los Angeles, California. Established in 1985, the firm designs, installs, and services solar energy equipment for customers across the US.  In addition, Graham is a fly fishing fanatic and fly tier of considerable talent.


He loves to create realistic patterns that seem so life like that you expect them to fly off.  When asked why he is so attracted to this form of tying he responds “I enjoy the challenge, artistry, relaxation and therapeutic value, as well as the thrill of fooling large wary old fish that had previously seen it all. The sting of steel seems to provide these large wary fish with an abundance of attitude and likely an adrenaline rush as deep as mine.”

On the company web site, Graham has an area dedicated to fishing and tying which is truly worth a look.  There is also story I was particularly taken with.   Below is a shortened version of this amazing tale here.



“The story begins when I went to a local stream, with new digital camera in hand, eager to practice taking photos of a few of my realistic flies. The first thing I did was place a realistic fly on top of a dried twig sticking up out of the ground. After taking one quick snapshot it appeared that noon was not the best time to take outdoor fly photos, the light was too bright, creating unwanted glare on the wings. I moved in a bit closer with the camera, and being unaccustomed to finding and focusing on small objects, I struggled to find the fly in the viewfinder. By the time focus was made, the fly was no longer on the twig. After searching for several minutes, crawling around on the ground, it finally occurred to me that something had taken the fly away.

After pulling another fly from my box, and deeply embedding the hook into the twig, I grabbed the camera, focused thought the viewfinder, and took a photo that stuck me as being rather unusual. A bright orange dragonfly seemed rather determined to pull an easy meal from the twig.  Luckily the hook held tight, or another fly would have likely disappeared. The dragonfly pulled vigorously, perhaps trying to secure an easy meal orange dragonfly prying a fly from a twig



Then it struck me, what would happen if a dragonfly from my fly box was placed on the twig?
Almost immediately the orange dragonfly returned, landed beneath my yellow and blue fly, and slowly creeped closer and closer, but never did make contact. Numerous photos were taken, and a variety of facial expressions seemed evident, including this photo where it appears a mate might have been found.

Macro photo of an orange dragonfly holding a house fly


After about 15 minutes of quiet rejection, the orange dragonfly left the scene.
I began to wish I had a realistic orange dragonfly placed on the twig to see what would happen. The closest thing I had was a yellow and brown dragonfly, and perhaps putting some food in its grasp would entice the orange dragon to return.

It returned with an attitude, no hesitation what so ever, it was time to attack. It was interesting watching how savage and angry the dragonfly's attitude was, clearly trying to tear apart the wings of my replica.

After a few minutes of furious action, the battle seemed to have been decided, and he was victorious and boss of the twig.

I felt disappointed these photos were not taken with better late afternoon sunlight with less contrast but this was truly an incredible and fun experience. So, I kept playing, and placed my dragonfly on a different twig to see if the orange dragon would return with such a territorial attitude.
x He crashed landed, knocked my fly sideways, and was determined to do some wing damage.
By this time my lunch hour was over and a burning desire to tie an orange dragonfly that evening had set in. In fact I don't recall ever being so eager to get home from work and start tying a fly.
I was back the next day, with my realistic replica orange dragonfly
I enjoyed creating a realistic dragonfly and the unusual part was not my typical daydreaming about beautiful wild scenery and raging rivers full of huge fish, while tying, instead envisioning both violent as well as mating attitudes, captured and released with my camera.”