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British Favourite – The Buzzer

History of the Buzzer

Buzzers (Chironomidae) was first seen in fly fishing during the 1920’s. The first pattern recorded was the Blagdon Buzzer by a Dr. Bell. It was initially tied to fish the Blagdon Reservoir. The fly consisted of the same type of materials used for the Modern day buzzer. Tied on a small hook with a black wool body and silver ribbing, a tuft of white wool behind the eye of the hook.

In 1960’s the buzzer was revived with plenty interest in this pattern again as trout fishing reservoirs popped up all over England. This era saw a lot of advancement on the buzzer pattern which became much more imitative as various books published new patterns of this fly.

The big question is: How do you fish buzzers? This is a very effective way of catching fish and a very underestimated approach. The buzzer imitates emerging forms of the Midge fly. They tend to imitate the Midge Emerger. Bloodworms are blood red and found at the bottom of lakes, this will slowly wiggle it’s way to the surface, changing colour, often to black but it could be brown, olive or other colours. On the way upwards, the buzzer pupa throws out breathers and often moves up and down, not directly upwards to the surface. Once at the surface film it needs to break through, you will often see them hang in a “J” shape under the surface film, once it is able to break through it emerges into a midge in 30 seconds.

Colours of Trout Buzzers

You get various midges in still-waters, black midges, large and small green midges, Orange-Silver Midge, Small Brown Midge and Large Red Midge, they all have different hatches and matching the colouring of the adult can help! You can find a hatch chart here. Always start with black and vary the colours from there depending on the time of year and the occurring hatches.

Buzzer Fly Patterns

  • Assasin Emergers

  • Beadhead Buzzers

  • Blowdorm Flies

  • CDC Emergers

  • Suspender Patterns

  • Epoxy Buzzers

  • FlashBack BBB

  • Okey Dokey Flies

  • Shipmans

  • Suspenders

  • Tungsten Depth Charge Buzzers (Heavily weighted with Tungsten beads)

Buzzer Fishing Tactics

Have a look at the hatch guide below:

The question around size could be answered by saying as big or small as you would like to fish them, generally, there is no specific size that works better than the other as buzzers (pupae) could vary a lot in size. natural emerging buzzers can often be around a size 14 to as small as 22. We would often start with small flies around size 16 , on the point fly you start with a tungsten head or size 8 fly when fishing from a boat to allow the flies to get down in the water. It is always important to try and see where the fish are feeding, in summer you will often find them feeding in the top 45 cm of water. We have seen them feed in the top 7.5 cm at times and fisherman not catching a single fish as they are fishing below the fish. You should always try and have your flies in the feeding / emerging zones in the water.

Buzzers spend an extremely long time emerging, they will often bounce up and down on certain levels of the water waiting for the right time to emerge when the conditions are just right to hatch. You would want to fish a team of 2 – 3 buzzers on a dropper leader setup, with the heaviest buzzer on point. This is done below a floating line. Do not strip buzzers as you would do with wooly buggers or other streamers. the action on this would be to let them drift naturally with the waves on the water. You would generally want to suspend them below a bung (Competition legal Buoyancy fly), Stimulator or similar heavy floater which would count as 1 fly therefore in a competition scenario you would fish the Bung and 2 buzzers below that. After casting them out allow the team to drop below the feeding zone. Lift the rod tip slowly to a 60-degree angle in 3 – 5 seconds then lower the rod tip rapidly down to the water while taking up the slack created, wait for the team to drop down again. This lift and drop imitate the natural movement of the naturals we are trying to imitate.

When fishing buzzers the best technique to use; is keep it slow! The biggest mistake most anglers make is to strip the buzzers as that is the style we are all used to fishing. You would normally want the line to drift or float with the wind, current and waves on the dam.

Important rules:

  1. Do NOT strip trout buzzers

  2. Static or slow Drift

  3. Vary the Depth of your flies, Trout feed at different levels during the day on different times

  4. Look for porpoising trout, if they are slowly taking buzzers below the surface swap to CDC emergers or Sanys Assassins

  5. Use a bung, Stimulator or foam arsed Blob to suspend flies

  6. Be prepared to use small buzzers, 18 and 18’s best match natural trout buzzers

You can find more information on how to tie buzzers as well as fish them on this link:

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