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Fly Fishing Techniques – Buzzers

Updated on March 12, 2011

Picture a lake in the evening, probably after a warm day. A slight scum has built up during the daylight hours, and now there's a thick surface film to the water. Watch the water in front of you — the chances are that you will see bulges in this glutinous covering. You might also hear a distinctive sucking sound. These are definite signs of trout, and you may see the back of the fish break surface or, at least, the tip of the dorsal or tail fin. These trout are taking buzzers, the common term for hatching midges. The bloodworm rise from the bottom of the lake, ascend to the surface, where they struggle out of their pupal cases. As they do so, they are left defenceless for a few minutes, and the trout feast on them. At this time, the trout are very catchable.

Reach for the row of buzzers in the fly box. Perhaps start with a red one, with a white, hairy head tied on a size 16. Don't fish too heavy a hook length: around 3 to 4 pounds (1.3—1.8kg) breaking strain at the point is about right, depending on the size of the trout in the lake. It pays also to grease your leader up to about 3 inches (7cm) away from the fly itself This will make the nylon float, and you need to watch this for a sign of a take. Cast the buzzer out as close to the activity as you can. If you take your time, it's often possible to watch the course of a single, feeding fish. If you manage to do this, try to place your fly about 4 or 5 feet (1.2—1.5m) in front of where the trout is heading. Let everything settle, and watch that greased line like a hawk, though this can be difficult in low light conditions. Keep everything as tight as you can, trying to keep direct contact with that buzzer. If you see a fish approaching the general area, try twitching the buzzer back toward you, 1 or 1 inches (3—5cm) at a time until you've worked the fly back perhaps 4 or 5 feet (1.2-1.5m) towards the bank.

Takes can be very gentle indeed. You might just see the nylon of your leader edge forward minutely. Or, if the trout takes the buzzer during your twitch period you'll often feel it take with a distinct tug. Lift your rod tip and strike immediately


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