A Buzzer is an easy fly to learn how to tie. With some basic material, you can tie some very effective flies that are sure to catch you many fish.
For the serious lake or stillwater fly fisherman, the Buzzer, or Chironomid as they are also referred to, is indispensable. It’s a great searching pattern if you want to determine the depth the fish are feeding at.
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- Difficulty Level: Easy
- Tying Time: 5 minutes
- Materials: Hook, thread, body material, ribbing, flash, permanent marker, and UV resin
- Hook Size: 8 – 20
What Is a Buzzer?
A Buzzer is a midge pupa imitation. Midges are a large group of flying insects that are found across the globe. Midge larva is found in all waters and form a very large part of a fish’s diet.
Midges can range in color and size. I tie them in hook sizes ranging from 8 – 20. Popular colors are olive, black, red, and brown.
How to Fish a Buzzer?
A Buzzer is a deadly lake and stillwater fly. It’s not a streamer pattern that requires the fisherman to give movement to the fly. The most successful way to fish a Buzzer is when it’s dead drifted or slowly moved by making use of a figure-of-eight retrieve.
With Other Sub-Surface Flies
From the end of your floating fly line, attach a 9-foot tapered leader of the desired breaking strain. I usually select a breaking strain for the leader one size up from what I want to use as a tippet. For example, if I want to fish 5X on my flies, I’ll make use of a 4X or 3X leader.
At the end of the leader, I tie in a 2mm tippet ring. From the tippet ring, I attach 3 feet of the desired tippet. I then cut a separate 2-feet section of the tippet and attach it to the first part with a double surgeon’s knot. The tag end of the knot is my tie-in point of the first fly.
Cut another 2-feet of tippet and attach it to the bottom of the next section in the same way. This should give you another tag-end to attach the second fly to. The third fly, or dropper, is tied to the end of the third section of the tippet.
The three-fly rig is cast out. Once the cast has been made, take up the slack line and allow the flies to drift and sink. Keep in constant contact with the flies. A figure-of-eight retrieve can be used to move the flies.
My go-to fly choice for this rig is:
- Top fly: Buzzer
- Middle fly: Bloodworm larva
- Last fly: A heavy and flashy fly, like a Perdigon or a large Copper John
Dry and Dropper
A dry and dropper rig is constructed in the same way as mentioned above, except only attach one section of tippet. This configuration will allow you to tie in two flies to your rig. The top fly is always a dry fly.
During late afternoons, when fish are porpoising just below the surface, I love using this technique with a Buzzer suspended below a well proofed CDC & Elk.
Materials You’ll Need to Tie a Buzzer
You will need the following materials to tie a Buzzer:
A Buzzer can be tied on either a curved shank scud hook or a standard straight shank nymph hook. Choose a hook size that suits the natural that occurs in the stretch of water you’re fishing. My favorite Buzzer hooks are:
Various diameter threads can be used, from 70 to 210 Denier. The abdomen or thorax of many buzzer patterns is created with thread. The most important thread characteristic is that it lays flat.
Recommended 70 Denier Fly Tying Thread:
→ Ultra Thread 70 Denier UTC
Recommended 140 Denier Fly Tying Thread:
→ Danville’s Flymaster Plus 140 Denier Thread
Recommended 210 Denier Fly Tying Thread:
→ Danville’s Flat Wax 210 Denier Thread
Abdomen and Thorax
The abdomen and thorax of a Buzzer can be created with various materials. You can play around with different combinations and colors. Some of my favorite materials, for both the abdomen and thorax, include:
- Flash material (Flashabou, Krystal Flash, etc.)
- Flat tinsels
- Stripped peacock quills
Recommended Assorted Chenille & Flashabou:
→ Croch Fly Tying Materials Kit
The wing case is colored by adding a drop of dark nail varnish on top of the thorax. I mostly make use of a permanent marker and seal it with an extra layer of UV resin.
UV resin works so well on Buzzers because it gives you time to form the body after the resin has been applied. Once you are happy with the shape, you can quickly set it by shining a UV torch on it.
Many tiers use nail varnish or a combination of UV resin and nail varnish.
Recommended UV Glue / Resin:
→ Loon Outdoors UV Clear Finish
Tools Needed to Tie a Buzzer
You’ll need the following tools to tie a Buzzer:
- Bobbin holder (two or three)
- Whip finishing tool
- UV torch
Let’s Get Started!
How To Tie a Buzzer
This section will take you through the steps on how to tie a Buzzer. It’s one of my favorite variants and has caught me many fish.
Basic Buzzer Recipe
- Hook: Mouche 8464 size 10
- Thread: Danville’s 140D fluorescent orange
- Abdomen: Hends Buzzer Body black
- Ribbing: Fine silver wire
- Thorax (part 1): Hends Perdigon copper
- Thorax (part 2): Danville’s 140D fluorescent orange thread
- Wing case: Brown Copic marker
- UV resin: Solarez thin
Step 1: Place The Hook in The Vise
Select a single hook from the packet and place the bend between the vise’s jaws. Leave the hook point and barb exposed.
Make sure that the hook eye is level enough so that you won’t have trouble whip finishing the fly.
Step 2: Attach The Thread
Place the thread over the hook, about 1/3 the hook shank length behind the eye. Wrap forward 5 or 6 times.
Now, wrap the thread over itself to lock it in place. Cut off the excess.
Step 3: Tie in The Ribbing
Break a section of ribbing from the spool. Tie in the tip where you left the thread. Wrap the thread backward, around the bend of the hook.
Keep the ribbing on the side of the hook as you’re securing it. Stop where the thread hangs just on the inside of the hook bend.
Step 4: Tie in The Body Material
Wrap the thread forward to where you tied in the ribbing.
Tie in the tip of the body material and secure it with thread wraps similar to the previous step. Stop at the same point.
Step 5: Complete The First Whip Finish
You’ll be doing a few whip finishes on this thread so if you don’t know how, check our our guide: How To Whip Finish a Fly to learn how to do a whip finish.
For this first one, Wrap the thread forward and whip finish 1/8-inch behind the hook eye. Cut off the thread.
Step 6: Wrap The Body Material
Wrap the body material around the hook shank to create a tapered abdomen. The total abdomen length should be 2/3 of the total body length.
The thorax will make up the other 1/3 of the total length of the fly. This is a general rule for most flies that you’ll tie.
Step 7: Re-Attach The Thread
Re-attach the tying thread at the point where you cut it off. You can do this by simply applying a couple of wraps over the tag end of the thread.
Once it’s again secured on the hook shank, cut off the excess.
Step 8: Secure The Body Material
Secure the body material with the thread with a couple of quick pinch wraps and cut off the excess.
Step 9: Rib The Abdomen
Rib the abdomen of the fly to create even segments. In this case, the ribbing direction isn’t that important.
The UV resin will create a durable finish on the body. Once you reach the end of the abdomen, tie off and remove the excess.
Step 10: Tie in The Flash Material
The flash material will give this fly a nice attractive look underwater, particularly once the shiny UV resin is added as a clear coating over the fly.
Tie in the tip of the flash material halfway along the thorax. Cut off the excess.
Step 11: Create a Flashy Collar
The collar of the fly is really going to bring that flash to life.
Wrap half the thorax with the flash material. Tie off with the orange thread and cut off the excess.
Step 12: Complete The Second Whip Finish
Create a neat head for the fly and do a single whip finish. Pull the nail knot tight and cut off the thread.
Step 13: Seal The Fly
Apply a coat of UV resin over the entire fly. Form a taper from the back of the abdomen to the thorax.
Once you are happy with the shape, cure it with a UV torch to set.
Step 14: Color The Wing Case
Color the top of the thorax to mimic a dark wing case with a Copic marker.
Define this darker area well and prevent the ink from bleeding into the material.
Step 15: Seal With UV Resin
Apply a coat of UV resin to the wing case. Spread the resin out so that it forms an even taper to the abdomen and rest of the thorax.
Cure with a UV torch once you’re happy with the shape.
The Black Buzzer
Now You Know
How To Tie a Basic Black Buzzer
This step-by-step guide will give you the fundamental tying ideas behind the Buzzer. Feel free to experiment and create your own unique flies.
If you found this article interesting, please share it with your fellow fishermen and tying friends. Also, let us know in the comments below, what your favorite Buzzer patterns are.
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