The Shipmans Buzzer

by Jonathan

This fly pattern was originated by Dave Shipman over 20 years ago. The original pattern was tied using white antron to make the fly float on an even keel in the surface film, imitating the midge emerging from its nymphal shuck. In recent years, CDC., because of its excellent floating properties, has become more popular. The antron is the cheaper option without sacrificing floatability but foam is also an alternative for larger flies.

The body is best tied with seals fur in claret, red, orange, olive or ginger. Do not be afraid to try different colours. The rib is pearl tinsel tied in fine or medium widths.

Once the fly has been finished and the varnish on the head is dry gently stroke the seals fur with Velcro stick or pick out fibres with a dubbing needle.

The fly can be fished on a floating line, individually or in a team of three when the trout are feeding on flies emerging from the surface. I have found that a static fly is often better during the day but a slow retrieve gets more reaction as the night closes in.

  • Hook  –  Light weight. long shank sizes 10, 12, and 14.
  • Tying Thread  –  Brown or claret.
  • Body  –  Seals fur. Red, claret, olive, and ginger.
  • Rib  –  Pearl/ Holographic tinsel, medium or fine.
  • Tail / Wing  –  White Antron, CDC., Foam or Dapping Floss.

Happy Fishing
Dave Cammiss and the Team 


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

kevin June 28, 2011 at 1:30 am

hi dave
what way do you fish this fly do you cast it out and let i it on the water or do you retreve it slow or fast

Calum February 4, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Hi Mr Cammiss, do you have to use antron dubbing, can you use other light dubbings?

dakota weinman March 30, 2010 at 6:30 pm

hello just starting to fly tying and it looks lke alot of fun.though im really overwelmed with all the material.theres sooomuch to choose from i dont know where to actually only 13 and just wanted to say thx for the videos there very helpfull.good fishing
Dakota weinman

DaveC February 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Hi Mayfly
thanks for your enquiry. Do not get blinded by colours. The cdc on a shipmans is purely to keep the fly afloat. I sometimes use different colours of foam…….easier to see when you get old.
Happy fishing
Dave C.and the Team

mayfly February 19, 2010 at 9:21 pm

i tied this fly with rusty brown cdc will the fill be spooked i always think they will with this fly

Chris Wyvill August 18, 2009 at 11:20 am

Thanks for creating such a great website for fly tying. Having just got back to fly fishing and tying after a 10 year break I was wondering if you could create a video of the technique to tie a spent wing fly such as an Adams



David Cammiss September 19, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Hi David
Thanks for your comments. I do get get lots of comments from USA but I think you are the only ‘mountain man’. My lovely wife has an aunt in Seattle, and years ago I was tempted to make that long trip over the pond. Her late husband, a great guy, had friends in Vancouver and would have organised some fishing there. Alas the years have crept up on me and I can only dream of the opportunities missed. There is something about the Blue Ridge Mountains which conjures up visions of the West as it was for the early settlers. This year I did make the trip of a lifetime and went to New Zealand for some fishing. We met several Americans who did the trip regularly.
I wont quote any of my old Grandad’s sayings. He was a real ‘hot gospeller’ and made us all toe the line.
I will swim the river with you anytime.(It might get my nails clean.)
Keep in touch
Dave C. and the Team

David Rathbone September 19, 2008 at 4:21 am

well from the first when your fnger nails were dirty LOL ( joke ) i have played and replayed your how fly tying instruction’s . I am a 64 yr old disabled mountain man . i live in the blue ridge mountains of North Carolina USA .All i want to do is to Thank You for your kind and generous help. I wish you only the best see ya man smiles as my granddad would say Mr Cammis his greatest compliment about a man was ( He will do to swim the river with .

colton craig September 13, 2008 at 1:20 pm

hello mr. cammis. i have never seen or heard of this fly before but i tied one up and found it to be very productive. it was also easy to tie. thanks for posting this video on you website, i cant wait to see more.

topflyman September 9, 2008 at 8:58 am

Hi Alex
Thanks for your comment. Delighted that you are making such good progress. We have actually got the Blob in ‘the can’ I believe. We have been doing some patterns with a view to doing a DVD. and I think the Blob was one of those. I had to smile when you mentioned the Baby Doll. When that pattern and its variants were popular my wife and I must have tied several hundreds. I will have to get my thinking cap on and try to remember the quick tie.
Happy Fishing
DaveC. and the Team

alex eyes September 8, 2008 at 6:59 pm

hi david i have watched and made all your flies this is what got me into fly tying please could you do a video to show how to a blob fly and a baby doll fly.

keep up the good work

alex eyes

topflyman September 7, 2008 at 8:54 am

Hi oldsmuggler
Thanks for your comment.
The shipmans buzzer can be tied with foam both ends or mix and match with polypropylene. Yesterday I tied some up on 14 long shank hooks with foam at both ends and added a hackle behind the front one. We have had so much rain these last few days I dont know when I will get out to try them.
Happy Fishing
DaveC. and the Team

oldsmugglerflyfishing September 6, 2008 at 6:21 pm

Nice fly! This is the first time I see it. I wonder how will be look like with a foam tail…


topflyman September 4, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Hi A.J. Cooke
Thanks for your comments from USA. It gives all the Team a kick when we get good reports from round the world. Neither of my sons took up fishing but it has been good to combine all our talents to do these vids. I hope your flytying son perseveres with his hobby and you never know one day he too could be passing on his knowledge to the world. Any help I can give he has only to ask.
Today we had our 250,000 th. hit on the site in less than 11/2 yrs.
Happy Fishing
DaveC.and the Team

topflyman September 4, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Hi John
Not a silly question at all. If you tie the shipmans with foam it will probably float for ever, you can vary the amount of foam to suit your needs. I favour the polypropylene/ dapping floss from Steve Parton, it too floats very well but sits deeper in the water. If you use CDC. it floats until you have had a couple of fish and then you have to dry it out(replace with another is quicker)
A touch of mucilin on the dapping floss and it will float fo ever.
Hope this helps
DaveC and the Team

John Brown September 4, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Dear David
This may be a basic question (we all have to learn)but when fishing with a “shipmans” for example, will they be buoyant unaided?If not what would you recommend – i’m unsure as there are many “floatants” on the market.

A.J. Cooke September 1, 2008 at 5:10 pm

Dave, I have tied my own flies for about 20 years. I am an avid fly fisherman and spend a large portion of my free time over the spring and summer catching and eating trout here in Pennsylvania. I have 3 young sons who come with me and see fly fishing as a part of life. My oldest,10, has just started to dry fly and has taken a huge interest in tying his own. We started watching your videos a few weeks ago and to my son your techniques and comments have become Gospel. As I never had a lesson in all my years my approaches to different patterns are unique to say the least. Your videos have taught my son to tie his flies properly and taken him to a level I could not have done myself. I thank you for that and please keep up the good job. You have fans here in Lancaster PA.

Florian September 1, 2008 at 4:35 pm

I watched some videos from Peatyman and thought:”Now I understand how to tie in the wings”. Then I tried it and well, it still does not look perfekt. It is really a lot of work matching up the feathers. But, if you found two matching segments, it is no big problem anymore to tie in those segments nicely…
I will try again and again and, earlier or later, I will tie in nice wings, I think.


topflyman August 29, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Hi Florian
Thanks for your comments. We aim to please and get as many anglers as possible tying their own flies. Reference the tying of wings on wet flies. To be honest this is something which I stopped doing years ago. For the effort put into matching up feathers, left and right hand to create a wing the end does not justify the means. In other words I dont think it is worth the effort. I have had a word with Peatyman on youtube and he does clips on winging. If you contact him I am sure he will try to help.
Hope you will keep on watching
Happy Fishing
DaveC.and the Team

Florian August 26, 2008 at 8:55 am

Hello David,
I started flytying some weeks ago and your videos were a good help for me to tie my first flys. Thank you for that!
But now I wanted to tie a wetfly with wings, e.g. like the coachman, but i struggle with tying in the feather-segments. I really would appreciate if you could post a video showing how to tie in feather-wings.

Greets form Germany,

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