The fly is both easy to tie and uses materials that are readily available. Newcomers to the art of fly-tying could do a lot worse than to start out on a fly like this one. I believe that Arthur tied the fly to imitate the large buzzers found in Eyebrook in the sixties. He generally used a size eight hook! I tend to go for the slightly smaller size ten and have used a Kamasan B175 in my example.

As ever I start by taking the silk in close touching turns to roughly opposite the point of the hook. Here you should tie in the fine copper wire that will become the rib at a later stage. It is best to get the wire tied in underneath the hook shank.

Carry on winding down towards the bend of the hook and, instead of stopping there, carry on round for a short distance, say about a quarter to a third of the way round. Now tie in two or three pheasant tail fibres by their tips. Don’t tie them in too tight with the first couple of wraps, or else you are liable to snap the fibres, instead, gradually build up the tension in the silk as you wind it back towards the eye of the hook. Pheasant tail fibres vary enormously in their colouring. I prefer to use those that are dark – almost with purple tinges to their tips; however I have friends who will only use really pale coloured fibres. It is a case of try a few and see which works for you.

When you are at a point about three millimetres from the eye, leave the silk under tension from the bobbin holder and carefully wind the pheasant tail fibres up the shank. Some tiers advise you to wind the fibres into a rope; I prefer not to as I do not like the bulky effect that this gives the fly. Secure the pheasant tail fibres with three turns of silk, making sure that you leave the fibres poking out on the top of the hook shank. Then wind the fine copper wire up to the same point, but as usual wind it in an opposite spiral in order to keep everything secure.

Next dub on a small amount of hare’s ear fur. Originally Arthur used rabbit fur; I would if I had any in my desk, but at present I am out of it, so hare’s ear will do just as well! Avoid making the thorax too bulky. No insect has a large bulbous thorax! This is the commonest error that new fly tiers make, and certainly the biggest fault with shop-bought buzzers!

Now take the remainder of the pheasant tail fibres over the top of the thorax and secure them behind the eye. Finally, whip-finish and varnish if you require.

This is a fly for all of the season and it can be used at all depths. You can tie variants: I have illustrated a black and a red version, which differ only in the colour of the pheasant tail fibres used. You can also try different ribbing materials, different thorax materials and even tie in a contrasting butt. I have seen some anglers tie in a couple of turns of fluorescent floss behind the thorax. Try some variations if you wish, but time has shown that the original is just about as good as any version you can get!


Hook – Kamasan B175 size 10.
Body – Natural pheasant tail fibres (use two or three to avoid bulking the fly too much).
Rib – Fine copper wire.
Thorax – rabbit or hare’s ear.
Silk – Any natural looking colour – I have used olive.

Happy tying,
Martin Cottis