Russ Symons ties a Rough Buzzer
THIS is a fly which should definitely live in the ‘crafty catcher box’. It is a leftover from years gone by when all Buzzers were tied with a dubbed or pheasant tail body. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the modern versions of the Buzzer with their UV resin bodies, traffic light thorax and glinty bodies. I have a couple of fly boxes stuffed with them. But! Unless you tie them with a foam appendage to make them float, then the resin bodied flies will sink, and they will sink quite quickly. Okay, you can grease your leader to keep them in the top foot or so of water, you can fish them on a ‘washing-line’ to keep them high in the water, but what you might have real difficulty with is actually fishing them in the surface film or stationary halfan-inch under the water’s surface. Solve this with a Rough Buzzer! I readily acknowledge that these Rough Buzzers are almost crude in appearance compared with the resin-bodied fly, but in truth applying the adage that the ‘wrong fly in the right place is infinitely better than the right fly in the wrong place’ applies in spades to these rough-bodied buzzers. Because when fished on a 5wt set-up with a greased-up leader and moved barely enough to keep in contact with the fly, these Rough Buzzers can be lethal in the right place at the right time. If you can see fish moving, the occasional wink and flash of a fish’s flank as it turns, an occasional noisy slurp as the fish takes something close to or actually in the surface film, then this is the time when these rough little flies are well worth an outing. Because these flies have a natural dubbed body and natural feather for a hackle, they can actually be treated with dry fly floatant. They won’t float for very long, but they won’t sink very far either. When combined with a foot or two of fluorocarbon to the fly they will fish in the top few inches of the water – just where you want them to be! If you retrieve with a very slow figure-of-eight movement, combined with some long pauses, then you might well attract those fish that have seen everything else whizzing past at a rate of knots. To be honest, when I see a perfect shovel of a tail, I know deep down that I have got the fish I want. This is not a difficult fly to tie, but it is one of those flies that needs a methodical approach otherwise it
“These Rough Buzzers can be lethal in the right place at the right time.”
can become very untidy, very quickly. To keep the flies in the same proportion I tend to count the number of turns of thread to where I tie the tinsel in for the thorax cover. Normally if I am using 100 denier GSP thread, which I have to confess is my ‘go to’ thread these days, then it is 12 turns before I tie the tinsel in for the thorax cover. Then a couple of turns beyond that I start to tie in the pearl tinsel for the ribbing, taking it down to a third of the way around the hook shank. Just a few years ago I used to count those turns as well, but these days by eye is good enough. The body dubbing on the standard Rough Buzzer is mostly hare’s ear, but I pick the dubbing over and try to use a lot of the underfur with just a little of the guard hairs, sometimes mixing in a little squirrel or rabbit to tame it a little more. What you have to be careful with is not making the body too bulky. It needs to be a dubbed body, but a skinny dubbed body, so use the ‘split thread’ style of dubbing loop, or if you are going to use a twin thread dubbing loop, roll the dubbing noodle between thumb and forefinger after spinning it, so that it is flattened, then you can see that it is not going to make a body that is too bulky. Take this dubbing up to the thorax tinsel because this is your position marker. Tie it off in front of the thorax tinsel then bring the ribbing tinsel up the body in open turns and tie off in front of the thorax tinsel. At this point tie in the hen hackle used to palmer the thorax, adding a leggy appearance to the thorax area. Dub the thorax with the same dubbing as for the body, but a much looser dub. Palmer it with the hen hackle, tie off and bring the thorax cover over and tie down for a small neat head. I tend to use UTC yellow Glow Tinsel for the thorax cover. My pal uses holographic tinsel like a proper traffic light. They both work so take your pick.
A Rough Buzzer works well when fish are just subsurface.
Rough Buzzers can be tied in a range of colours.