Ronnie Glass answers questions on buzzers, tadpoles and clean rod handles
QLAST YEAR I watched anglers catching on static Buzzers yet other anglers trying to copy them caught far fewer trout or none at all. Do you think these successful anglers were using secret Buzzer dressings? Mark Grubb, via e-mail A: I CAN say with some certainty that the successful anglers were not using “secret” flies. While the fashion is for varnished quill-ribbed Buzzers, I know experts who have not changed from their old silverribbed, thread-bodied patterns. It’s also true that nearly all modern patterns used by the best Buzzer anglers are widely available. They can be bought from tackle-shops, or from websites and Ebay pages created by commercial fly-tyers. Where Buzzers vary most is the wing buds tied on each side of the thorax. Some are fluorescent floss, others have goose biot “cheeks” and some will be tied using holographic tinsel or narrow strips cut from orange crisp packets. For added attraction, some will have a flashy pearl or mirage thorax cover or even the “traffic light” effect of pearl over red holographic tinsel. Be aware that while freshly stocked fish can find “flashy” dressings attractive, if you are fishing for resident trout or are on a popular, harder-fished water, then a simple drab Buzzer will often catch more trout. The prerequisite for successful Buzzer fishing is not the fly, it is the retrieve, which should be slow or static. It’s quite difficult for most fly-fishermen to do this. So many other tactics demand faster retrieve speeds that it is hard for some anglers to keep their line hand still. Buzzers must be controlled. Simply casting out and letting a belly form in the fly-line as the breeze drifts it across the surface will result in the flies not sinking to the necessary depth because the curve in the fly-line will tighten and pull the flies. If fish are high in the water this can result in a lovely “slide
away” take when a fish feels the hook point, but in most cases – especially early in the season – you’ll need to get the flies to sink deeper and avoid any retrieval. To fish Buzzers from a drifting boat, where you are always moving towards and/or past your flies, you need greater line control. To get used to the subtleties of Buzzer-fishing, it’s worth starting from a stable, anchored boat, where you can more easily control and explore depth, gauge the effect of surface drag on the fly-line and, ultimately, learn the benefits of the static retrieve.
When fishing static Buzzers it is important to keep your fly-line as straight as possible and to watch the line between rod tip and water to detect subtle takes.