Early season on most lakes is notable for the hatches of black midge. I was out on Chew Valley lake just last week for a pike fishing trip and, even in the cold wind of February, there were some good hatches of black buzzers. So when we start in about one month, make sure that you have a good supply of these flies in your fly-box.
Not so long ago the standard patterns were either sealís fur buzzers, or similar flies in pheasant-tail, or some dark coloured herl. Nowadays two flies seem to dominate the scene: the superglue and flexi-floss buzzers.
I will describe the tying of the flexi-floss in detail, but will also explain how the superglue varies from it.
The Flexi-floss black buzzer.
There are a number of hooks that can be used for this fly, and much depends upon the time of the year and the depth at which you wish to fish the fly. For early season use most anglers tend to fish the flies deeper and so use heavier hooks. The Tiemco 2457 is a great hook for this fly early on, but it does sink very quickly as it is heavy. I used to use this almost exclusively for my buzzer patterns, but after a couple of trips when I fished with Tony Baldwin, his use of very light hooks totally changed my way of thinking on this subject. I now believe that on the Bristol waters, which are so shallow compared with the likes of Rutland and Grafham, the Tiemco hook is too heavy to consider using except as a solitary point fly when an "anchor" is required. Now I opt for any sedge-type hook that has a nice curved profile. I am using a Kamasan B110 grubber hook in the fly that I am illustrating.
Using black tying silk, take it down the shank of the hook and to a position about a quarter of the way round the bend. Here secure a length of the wire that you will rib the fly with. I have used some fine red wire, but silver, gold or copper will do. Carry on round the bend until you reach halfway and secure a length of black flexi-floss. Keeping the tied-in piece of flexi-floss taut, continue back up the shank with the tying silk until you reach the point at which you will want the thorax to begin. On a size ten hook, like the one that I have used, that will be about 5mm behind the eye of the hook.
Wind the flexi-floss up to this point and tie off, but do not cut away the remainder of the floss. One of the good qualities of this product is that you can vary the thickness of the body by altering the tension of the floss as you tie it in. Bring the wire rib up to the same point in even spirals; get used to winding your ribbing material in an opposite spiral to the body material as this helps to secure everything! Tie off the wire and cut off the remainder.
Now build up a thorax with the flexi-floss. Try not to make the thorax too bulky; I often see buzzers tied with a thorax that is far too fat. The natural insect is really a slim creature, so your imitation should be too.
Tie off the floss and whip finish. Some people use orange floss silk as their wing buds on buzzers, whilst others use "Walkers" chicken crisp packet slithers! I opt for a much easier method of adding these "target" spots on the sides of the artificial fly. I paint the wing buds on with "Tulip" t-shirt paint. It is a very quick and effective way to get the wing buds in place.
That is all there is to the black buzzer, which will be one of your main early season flies.
I said that I would mention the superglue family. These are generally tied only with tying silk and wire rib. When finished a layer or two of superglue or varnish is applied to give the finished fly a shiny effect. The flies are deadly at times and you should not be without a good range of them. The most useful colours are black, red, claret, olive and shades of these basic colours. You may use epoxy glue as a coating if you like: this tends to give an even thicker "gloss" to the finished fly.
Hook Any curved hook such as Kamasan B110, B100, Tiemco 2457.
Body Black flexi-floss.
Rib Fine wire in silver, gold, red or copper.
Wing buds Orange paint (or floss silk, or crisp packets).
Enjoy your tying!