The Buzzer

by Jonathan on June 5, 2007

This fly is the number one in my fly box. There is rarely a days fishing goes by without this little beauty being on my leader. It is easy to tie and uses the bare minimum of materials. The very basic fly can be tied using only a hook, black tying thread and silver wire with a couple of coats of clear varnish.

You can paint on fluorescent orange wing buds on the thorax, or tie in orange floss strips instead, you can tie in fluorescent red or green tying thread at the tail . All small trigger points designed to catch the eye of the trout. 

The other colours you can tie, and all have their day, are as follows. Olive,  red , orange and brown. There is also a slimmed down version known as the skinny buzzer usually in black or brown.


  • Hook Buzzer 10, 12, 14. (Kamasan  B100 for skinny and Roydlures for heavy.
  • Body Black tying thread.
  • Thorax Black tying thread
  • Rib Silver wire
  • Breathers (Optional) 
  • White floss

Dave C. and the Team


{ 108 comments… read them below or add one }

David Cammiss July 26, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Hi Steve
you do pick up on the ramblings of an old man. Epoxy buzzers can get ‘cloudy’ after some punishment by trout, the varnish was just an attempt to overcome this. Best varnish ….nail varnish ‘HARD AS NAILS’.
DaveC.and the Team

steve stern July 25, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Re epoxy
Agre with what you are saying but it was just something you said in a follow up and I quote
Some of the bought buzzers have an epoxy coat which has to be sealed with varnish ( which is a lot of hassle).

curious why they need the varnish



David Cammiss July 24, 2009 at 2:56 pm

Hi Graham
Thanks for your comments.If you go to uk on the ‘Lead page’ you will see different categories. Go on to Techniques and you will see a vid on the half hitch.
You will also be able to scroll down all the lessons we have put up to date.
Hope this helps
DaveC.and the Team

David Cammiss July 24, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Hi Steve
Ref the epoxy buzzer. I do not recall referring to the buzzer on lesson 1 as an epoxy! I gave up using epoxy many many years ago because of the drying time and the tendency to get’slip’ if y0u applied too much. I have preferred 2 coats of ‘Hard as Nails’ nail varnish but recently for expediency I have just been giving 3 coats of the fly tying varnish. It makes little difference when the fly is wet and either way the trout dont seem to mind. Yesterday I had 5 rainbows t0 4lb. on a red buzzer with 2or 3 coats of varnish which was completely stripped of varnish after the third fish and they were still taking it..It costs so little to make buzzers the luxury of an epoxy coating does not seem to be worth it. Incidentally at the same time my old buddy was catching on red buzzers with a seals fur body!
Hope this does not throw a spanner in the works.
Happy Fishing
DaveC.and the Team

steve stern July 22, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Dave why do you need to varnish over epoxy? I have done a few buzzers and they are holding up so far without varnish!
regards steve

Graham July 22, 2009 at 9:45 am

Hi David,

I came across your site last week and I have decided to follow your beginner lessons. I have tied my first fly yesterday from the lesson 1 video and I was wondering if there is a video to show how to tie the half hitch knot as I seem to have problems with this technique?

Also is there a list of videos or a lesson plan which I can follow as they seem to be not in order and I am not sure which ones to do next?

Thank you for your time and effort you have put in to these videos it has been a great help and a valuable resource for a beginner like me.

Best regards


DaveC June 13, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Hi Steve
I have been buying stuff from Steve for over 10 yrs. and you cannot tell me anything I dont know about him. If you really want to know him call in at his emporium and get him to play some of his CDs whilst you listen to him on the phone or go batty trying to find stuff for yourself.Dont take your daughters. Dont mention golf or politics.
DaveC.and the Team

steve stern June 13, 2009 at 4:28 pm

I have to point out that Steve has always been very helpful – albeit brutally honest – even to total newbies – my daughters have bought me various things via steve. I suspect some may find his admittedly very dry sense of humour a challenge but he has given me some enormous laughs. Depends if you like a spade called a spade or a risk assessed digging implement (soil) ?

David Cammiss May 22, 2009 at 11:40 am

Hi Steve
Thanks for your comments and good to know you are still aboard. Nice to know that Roy was useful to you and that you have found Steve on a good day.
DaveC.and the Team.

Steve Stern May 22, 2009 at 7:57 am

Dear Dave
like the new Website layout. Your videos inspired me a year ago when I first started and I carry many of the gems forward. Tho find a whip finishing tool slicker than my half hitches. Thanks also for the recommendation of Royd hooks and the ever helpful Steve Parton whose good humoured advice to the uninitiated is always welcome
Long to see new patterns – done all the ones on the list!
steve stern

Phil J May 21, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Hi Dave, many many thanks for your quick reply and I take onboard your comments. I have found this site to be an absolutely god send to me, as no matter how much you read in books its never the same as being able to watch someone with your skill and passion for fly tying. Your videos are crisp and clear and the way you talk instantly puts people at ease. Thank You Thank You Thank You, this is one site that is on top of all favorites on mine. No to go and try the yellow dancer. Thanks Phil J

David Cammiss May 21, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Hi Phil
All that glitters is not gold. You will find 2 coats of Hard as Nails nail varnish will probably do the trick. Some of the bought buzzers have an epoxy coat which has to be sealed with varnish ( which is a lot of hassle). I have found that shine or no shine if you have the right size and colour it makes no difference. Got a couple of fish today i on a shiny olive and the other on a not so shiny black one.
Happy Fishing
DaveC.and the Team

Phil J May 21, 2009 at 11:52 am

Hi Dave, I had a bash at doing this one, as I am new to fly tying, but I cant seem to get that hi gloss finish, even though I have put on 2 coats of varnise. The only reason I ask, is that if you buy buzzers from tackle shops they always seem to have that hi gloss finish. Are they meant to be hi gloss ?? if so, how do I get them to that such hi finish. Kind Regards, Phil from Barnstaple in Devon.

Dave May 18, 2009 at 12:26 am

Hi Richard
Thanks for your comments. You do seem to be having a hard time. Hasten slowly. Make sure you have made your thread secure when you start. Do not cut off the tag end. Hold it at 45 degrees and wind your thread in tight touching turns as you tie the tag down. If you are doing a skinny buzzer you need only do touching turns back to the eye of the hook after you have tied in the wire rib. When you have wound onthe ribbing and secured it at the eye build up the thorax to a bll shape and then tie off with the half hitch. Why not just practice the half hitch until you are comfortable with it on a bare hook?
Practice makes perfect. Once you have mastered the buzzer the world is your oyster. The buzzer is the one fly I would never be without. Just tonight a friend of mine phoned me to tell me that she had caught a 10lb. bream on one of my black buzzers at Grafham Reservoir.Let me know how you get on.
Happy Fishing
DaveC.and the Team

Richard May 15, 2009 at 11:12 pm

P.S. I agree entirely with the sentiments expressed by Mr Ogle above. I’m sure that your efforts will bring a great deal of additional pleasure to those, like me who are new to fly fishing. Thank you very much.

Richard May 15, 2009 at 11:10 pm

… well had a go. First few efforts the thread kept breaking – moral – don’t be so tight and pay a bit more for some good quality thread!
Got more thread managed to tie a green sausage – thread too thick or me? Third go, tied something resembling a buzzer – except for the infamous half-hitches… Will get Gill, my wife, to watch the video, I’m sure she will work out what I’m doing wrong. Addictive? Yes, sat up half the night and now have an egg cup full of strange multi coloured objects all of which have a passing resemblance to something scraped off the windscreen! Will keep going, sort out the half-hitch and then on to a Palmer! Thanks for the videos. I’m sure I will crack it in the end. Best wishes. Richard

Richard May 13, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Hi Mr Cammis

I’ve enjoyed watching the videos and am about to have my first go at a buzzer! Will let you know how I get on!


Art May 12, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Hi Dave,
I found this site and am new to fly tying, I don’t want to buy materials that I may not use or need. I have a vise and all, but I’m more interested in the actual materials used for tying the flies.
My question is: What does a beginner need to start tying a variety of common flies.

Les Cowan May 12, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Nice and straight forward lessons . I am a self tau
ght tier and have found your techniques and tips invaluable . Keep up the good work

Edward Dowell May 12, 2009 at 9:37 pm

Hello Dave i am just starting to tie flys and your videos have been a great help. They are very informative i hope you keep doing this, i was woundering if you could do one one how to tie flys with deer hide im not sure how to and i would like to learn how. Hope you can help and keep up the excellent work thanks a bunch.

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