Lockdown Day 17

As they say on Monty Python’s Fly Circus :

There are many people making an effort to lessen the trauma of this universal lock down which has so many of us tired, bored and frustrated. One of those initiatives comes from the Rhodes University Fly Fishing Club and a 21 day fly tying challenge. They cover a different pattern every day and you are all welcome to have a bash at one or more of the patterns if you wish. If you would like to participate in the competitions go to https://www.facebook.com/RUFFC2020/

The latest challenge was to tie a buzzer pattern. For such a potentially simple fly there are numerous variations out there and with good reason. It is not uncommon to find a stillwater trout stuffed to the gills with buzzers (midge pupae) and pretty much unheard of to find a fish that doesn’t contain at least one or two of them. Midges are undoubtedly major food source for most stillwater fish and so they get a lot of attention from anglers.

However do you go with fast sinking resin concoctions or mobile materials, do you tie them straight or curved? Should they have breathing filaments on both ends, one end or none? As said for such an apparently simple pattern there are dozens of variations you can consider.

I was asked to judge this past challenge and thought that it might be fun for everyone to see my thoughts and comments on the submissions and if all goes well to give you a chance to vote too.. For the record I have no idea who submitted each pattern so the flies are simply numbered.

So without further ado, the flies and my comments, I wonder if you will agree with me?

Buzzer #1:

A straightforward and nicely tied fly, no whistles and bells and totally functional, I would fish this. I have always liked buzzers to have breathing filaments, to me that is an obvious feature if you see a real one in the water. This is the only pattern submitted with a bead head which would be good for particular styles of fishing a buzzer pattern, although I rarely if ever put beads on my buzzer patterns many people in other parts of the world do. A nice functional tie.

Buzzer #2:

It can be easy to make a fly look good with a resin coat but there are a couple of things about this pattern which I really do like. I would prefer to see breathing filaments, a personal thing, but nicely tied and what interests me most here is the innovative rib. It appears to have been added after one or more coats of resin such that it “hovers” inside the resin body. I think that innovation is worthy of special note. What that does mean is that perhaps there is a better way of doing this so that the “lateral line of wire” is hidden, I am not sure , but I do very much like the innovation in that idea.

Buzzer #3:

Again a very functional fly, I like the inclusion of a “flash back” on the thorax and really like the use of quill instead of the usual wire ribbing, gives a great effect. I think that the taper is slightly off and I would personally like to see breathing filaments although I know a lot of modern buzzer patterns ignore them.

Buzzer #4
What I really like about these patterns is the diversion from the all too familiar resin type flies to ones with more movement. What looks to be CDC tufts would not only hold the flies up in the water when the fish are feeding on the surface, a common occurrence on stillwaters, but also again add movement. My main reservation would be that the abdomens are rather uneven and lack a defined taper which I think is important. But I would happily fish these no problem.

Buzzer #5:
I really do like this one, simple, with breathing filaments, lovely shape hook and abdomen, flash wing buds and a neatly finished head. Very much like the quill abdominal segmentation and neat taper. Perhaps not innovative but very fishable.

Buzzer #6:
A very simple tie and often less is more, however I would like to see a bit more taper in the abdomen and again I like those breathing filaments which are ignored on this pattern. A personal thing perhaps but I do like to include whatever triggers I can in flies and the breathing filaments on the real thing are really very obvious.

Buzzer #7

This has to be one of the front runners, beautifully tied, love the spanflex style segmentation and the clever use of resin without coating the entire fly. Great and pronounced wing buds, would have liked to see some breathing filaments again.

Buzzer #8:

A lovely simple tie, again not necessarily innovative but it has all the key triggers I would look for. Breathing filaments, segmentation of the abdomen, etc. Perhaps a little more taper in the abdomen and more pronounced thorax would be preferable.. Head finish not quite as neat as it might be. Bear in mind I am being pedantic because this is a competition, but I would happily fish this one too.

Buzzer #9:

Another simple and perfectly effective pattern, again would have liked to see a more tapered abdomen, more pronounced thorax and some breathing filaments. But quite fishable for all of that.

Buzzer #10:

Another front runner, beautifully tied, smooth resin work and a neat finish to the head. Exaggerated wing buds which I would consider a key trigger but for me the lack of breathing filaments would be a negative point on an otherwise beautifully tied pattern.

Buzzer #11

I really like these, clever use of rib of what appears to be both floss and wire, both breathing filaments at head and smaller ones at the tail, and that “buggy look” which can’t be reproduced with perhaps neater looking resin flies. Only one of two entries to include filaments at both ends well done.  I would definitely fish these with confidence.

Buzzer #12

Again LOVE these, straightforward neatly tied and using uncomplicated materials. Plus a level of consistency as more than one fly is shown. I like simple flies for the most part and these tick all the boxes but for the lack of breathing filaments, which again I like to see on my buzzers.

Buzzer #13
A lovely and really neat tie but for the slight tag of thread left at the eye. Nice pronounced wing buds and slick finish. Very neat and cleanly tied.

 

In conclusion:

I think that I could easily have “given the win” to at least five of these submissions, I would happily fish with all of them.

In the end the things that I really liked the most were the simplicity and neatness of submission #12 and the use of standard materials without the use of resin. I really liked the innovation of the wire rib placement on submission #2 and slim segmentation of submission #7

So finally and this has been a very difficult and of necessity subjective decision:

First place goes to #12 because they just look so fishy, simple and elegantly tied.

Second place goes to #2 because I like the innovation with the rib

Third place goes to #7 for the great profile and slightly different interpretation of the abdomen.

Well done to everyone who participated.

I wonder what the readers would have chosen, please take a moment to vote, I am interested to see what other people think.. Thanks

 

 

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2 Responses to “Lockdown Day 17”

  1. Dirk Lamprecht Says:

    Hi Tim

    Many many thanks for your all those posts.

    I had to urgently tackle some admin to save my rear end. Weather it is saved is to be seen.

    I made a folder where I park all your posts. I shall definitely look at a few influenced by my meagre successes. So I may ask a few questions soon. Once the worst is over I want to get out on the water to enjoy the open life. I bet the fish are missing us…… 😁

    I dont want to raise hopes but would like to know if I can choose between Orange River vs Lesotho which has the best WOW factor? Seasonwise which location do go for? On your last outings what was the cost per person? Just, just if I can hide money away from the “hungry woolves”.

    In the meantime stay safe, out of hospitals etc. You must still make 130 as we can learn a lot from you.

    Best regards from a very quiet Srellenbosch.

    Dirk

  2. paracaddis Says:

    Dirk I would have to say that on it’s day the Bokong in Lesotho has a HUGE WOW factor, large fish, dry flies and fantastic scenery and people. That said it is a crap shoot, too little water and no fish, too much and you are forced to plop nymphs. It is also a long way to go and turns out a good deal more expensive than the Orange. Then again the Orange can be amazing, we have had some dry fly action on days where the water is clear, but not quite like one can expect in Lesotho. Thanks for the comment and reading the blogs.

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