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:

Trout Buzers Hatch Guide

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:

Gauteng North Social Fly Fishing Day Success

Continuous learning is one of the keys to success in life, and we all know, fishing is life. This is what the GNFFA Social Fishing day was all about – fly fishermen and women of all skill levels enjoyed a day of learning.

We all arrived at Elgro River Lodge at 9 am on Saturday. After a round of coffee, we started the info session, presented by Gary Glen-Young our guest specialist.

Followed by the basic leader setups and techniques generally used on the Vaal. A decent 4/5 weight, 10ft rod is ideal for Yellowfish. The rod needs to be paired with a reel and line combo that ensures you have a balanced rod at the cork of the rod. The balance could be slightly positive, meaning that it should rather be a little REEL heavy than TIP heavy. An unbalanced rod puts strain on your forearm and wrist area, not ideal for a long day of fishing. The best-suited line for a social angler would be a floating line, however, if you intend to fish competitively you should be looking at a dedicated nymphing line.

The leader setup discussed should be as follow:

  • Butt Section: 0.25mm Double X High Abrasion (Red / Yellow Translucent line) 10ft (Competition Legal Leader) or longer (Non-competition legal as leader would exceed double the rods length).
  • Clear Gap: 0.25mm Double X High Abrasion in a 1 1/2ft section tied to the butt section with a blood knot.
  • Indicator Section: Rio Indicator 2 tone line in 1x / 2x, make use of a section that has 2 chartreuse sections  with a  pink section in the middle (Take a black Copic/Sharpie marker and colour 1 inch on each side of the pink into the pink from the chartreuse to break the colour in the line). This break in colour provides more movement to the indicator and is detected easier by the eye. Connect the indicator to the Clear gap line with a blood knot and leave around 5mm of the tag from the indicator on the knot.
  • At the end of indicator, line use a Quick Penny knot to secure a tippet ring or micro swivel in #18 to attach your tippet to.
  • The tippet consists of 6 ft of 4x /5x line 3ft to the first dropper (cut a section off the 6ft section & tie on to the unbroken tippet), then 2ft to the bottom fly.
  • The heavy fly is generally on the bottom but can be the top fly if you are fishing up/across in wide shallow water. In pocket water, it is better to only use 3ft tippet down to a single fly.

After this, we gathered around for a few practical lessons on casting the setups and fighting fish. Fighting the fish was covered in detail, with many helpful tips being shared. The important lessons here is to use sideward pressure when fighting the fish (Fish are comfortable in water, trying to pull them up out the water would make them uncomfortable. Hence why the try get away from that movement by moving in the opposite direction.), try to keep the fish upstream of you, using the current to help net the fish, never allowing a fish to swim between your legs and remembering to  leave a loop of line at the reel when netting a fish (some of these tips are rod saving tips – a gap in concentration may result in a broken rod tip and a trip cut short).

After the theory and technical aspects were over, lunch was served. Gary also managed to squeeze in some time to show the group a few patterns to tie for Yellowfish. These included a Green Rock worm and PTN.

The GNFFA team and Gary also used this time to set up leaders for the attending members, sharing knowledge about the knots required to attach the various pieces of line together as well as best suited knots for attaching flies and tippet rings. After this, we got into the water at the top section of Elgro! It wasn’t long before everyone started getting in on the action, we had some nice fish come out with almost everyone catching fish. Maureen Brits managed a new personal best this weekend, with no one in sight to capture the moment.  Gary and the GNFFA team were on the water to share tips and show the correct casting and fish fighting techniques.


We ended the day off on a high note with LOTS of fish talk around the braai on Saturday night. It was an eventful day and we are sure everyone thoroughly enjoyed the event and took home enough information to improve their fishing.

The event was a great success and Gauteng North will be planning a still water Social fishing day soon. We look forward to seeing you all there!

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The Blob Fly

What is a Blob Fly

The blob fly is a short and colour full fly made from Fritz wrapped around a wide gape hook.

The Blob fly is an attractor pattern designed to grab the attention of passing trout.

Who invented the Blob fly

The blob fly was invented by Coventry-based fly fisherman Paul Mclinden. He is an English International fly angler.

His original blob was tied using orange fritz on a size 10 competition rules hook. Mclinden’s blob had an orange post wing, but that fell off during the tournament and the wingless blob out-fished his boat partner’s fly, hence the modern blob was born.

The modern blobs have changed somewhat with the addition of tinsel, a bead or a hot head of Glo Brite floss. Butt all blobs consist of a Fritz body, with little or no tail and usually no wing.

How do you fish a blob fly?

Although a blob fly can be fished on its own it is better used as an attractor pattern. Combine this with two / three duller more natural flies such as buzzers, nymphs or Diawl Backs and you have a winning combination.

“The blob works brilliantly as an attractor on the top dropper, but is just as good when used on the point as a pulling lure”

Fishing the blob on the top dropper is often more common use, where it attracts the attention of trout following it attentively and takes the more natural fly on the turn as the second and third fly passes it.

Another method of fishing it is on point with a team of buzzers, it’s slow descent helps keep the buzzers falling through the water slowly, and often is taken itself, as well as attracting close by trout to the buzzers.

How do you retrieve a blob?

Blobs are very versatile flies and therefore have more than one usable retrieve associated with it. When fishing with buzzers the blob is fished static, you are able to use the slow figure of eight retrieve, pill it back in quick sharp jerks, roly poly retrieve at speed and the most important part ALWAYS hang a blob, trout seem to follow the intriguing pattern and tend to smash them on the hang or drop back during the hang.

The retrieve would vary from person to person but the most successful to date is the figure of eight retrieve.

Some anglers swear by the static method as is with the hang on those last few seconds before your next cast.

How do you tie a blob?

This is one of the easiest flies to tie. Even beginner tiers should produce top quality blobs off their vice. To start get good quality fritz, the gel core type is preferred. Some colourful thread and / or marabou for a tail (Optional).

FNF Jelly Fritz is very good, not only is it much easier to tie than regular fritz, it’s also translucent and gives a great effect when wet.

A Variation to the blob is the F.A.B 

Booby Flies – The History

You might have heard about it but not sure what it is or how to use it?

The Booby fly is so effective due to its bobbing action as the foam lifts it up in the water column and the wriggle effects of the marabou as it gets pulled through the water often proves irresistible to trout.


The first booby flies are from English magazines published in the late 1950’s. They were called “Booby Nymphs” back then.

The fly was initially designed to imitate nymphs surfacing where the foam was used as an alternative for the bubbles used by these nymphs as they emerged from the weeds and lake bed. This bubble of air held the insect in the surface film while it changed into a flying insect. They were originally used on floating lines.

As with any fly improvements and triggers where added hence why we know the booby to have marabou tails and fished mostly on sinking lines to exaggerate the motions of the fly. This gave more life to the fly which in its turn increased catch rates on them.

Booby flies became bigger to imitate fish fry, therefore being fished on sinking lines. The fly became so effective that it was banned from some lakes and some bans still apply today.

The Booby Today

Today’s booby flies have advanced from the previous versions with a lot of detail going into triggers and movement as well as more rounded foam eyes. These foam eyes are also made from closed cell foam to offer more buoyancy than the initial flies.

We see a lot of variations on the fly in the competitive scene as the original has been transformed to have more movement and better attraction capabilities. Materials such as chenille, flash, and Fritz are seen on the modern day Booby Flies.

Basic Fishing Method

Lines from Fast intermediate to a Type 7 line is being used, the method is very basic to fish this fly. Give ample time for the line to sink and use 10 -20 cm tugs to retrieve the line. Pausing between each tug to ensure the fly floats up in the water column, In essence, you can cover a wider part of the water effectively with this fly.

If you fish the fly for the first time make sure you understand the dynamics of the fly by throwing it out into the water you can see it in. Wait for the line to sink and tug a few times.

Only by watching the movement of the fly as you tug and release will you learn how to work the fly.

In still-water, you have to provide the movement to the fly to make it become “active”. In summer on still days, especially if there fish activities on the surface, fish the booby on a slow intermediate line making use of 20 cm tugs. This will sink the fly and make it “emerge” back into the surface film. This is a deadly tactic late afternoons when the hatches come.

How to tie a Booby Fly

The booby fly can be tied on hooks ranging from 14 all the way to an 8. The important thing to remember is to get the proportions right when the fly is wet.

Always tie the eyes on first 

It allows you to judge the body length and width of the fly much easier. This also allows the eyes to sit well on the hook shank. Use a small drop of super glue to keep the eyes in place.

The eyes are normally made out of closed cell foam cylinders of your choice in colour and size, The most effective way of getting a beautiful eye is to use a Dremel tool to round the eyes of, Originally scissors was used to cut the eyes round.

Now take a good clump of marabou and this is one case in fly tying when more is better than less, and tie onto the shank of the hook. The marabou should be at least a hook length and a half off the bend of the hook.

Tie in a bit of flash in the tail.

Form the body with chenille/dubbing whichever you prefer. You can also add some hackle if you like for improved movement.

These booby flies are tied in natural as well as attracting colours.

THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE when tying Booby Flies is to ALWAYS tie on BARBLESS hooks as fish tend to swallow the hooks deep into the throat.