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The Scientific Creation of A Trout Fishing Fly For Fly Fishermen – Sandy Dickson’s Blank Buster Buzzers

Saturday, 31 January 2015  |  Andy

Luminous Buzzer Fly under UV LightFor fly fishermen there are lots of buzzers buzzers, boring buzzers! Buzzers, there are lots of, ranging from anorexic buzzer and epoxy buzzer hybrids not counting the many variants like Chew Buzzers and Shipman’s Buzzers. Could they possibly be improved upon? In the 1920's Dr Howard Alexander Bell developed some extremely good slim buzzers as an imitation the midge pupa for fishing on Blagdon water. Buzzers have been around since the early days of trout fishing.  For those who live in Scotland will know those horrid times when huge numbers of buzzers swarm so heavily you cannot breathe without having them inhaled into your throat.  The buzzer isafter all the staple diet of the still water trout , so, the buzzer is a crucial fly ……. could Sandy improve on the fly that is in almost every fly fisherman’s box - the boring buzzer?  Sandy thought so. This buzzer, Sandy’s Blank Buster Buzzer, required a scientific approach which taxed their inventor Sandy over many years until their perfection.

Fisherman and fly Tyers everywhere argue about what creates a perfect fly, many experts will argue size, others will argue shape or colour or movement. Sandy decided upon the basic recipe for his buzzers:

  1. Trigger point thoraxes specifically designed for different light conditions  at different depths and at different times of day
  2. Size- the buzzers had to look ‘real’ to trout, they needed to make anorexic buzzers look fat but they had to be lifelike, ribbed but not like many of the horrific ribs found on so many buzzers today.

It took Sandy a long time experimenting with thread and materials to develop a new tying method for tying thread and materials making it much thinner than normal.  The buzzers are tied using a special technique that Sandy developed. Many tyers seeing these buzzers are unsure of how they are tied.

Sunlight Colors & Ultraviolet Light

Reading books from the 1960’s such as Clegg and Keen on fluorescence and how colors change with different light conditions the first consideration was colour of the buzzers trigger points. One colour will not work all day, so a range of buzzers needed creating. Science does give us indicators as to the best colors to use in different conditions.  Put simply, light is made up simply of different colors, red, green and blue plus ultraviolet (which burns us!). For a lure to show up as red then red light lure sun must be hitting it, for a yellow lure yellow light must be hitting it. It is a well known fact that colors change at depth with reds typically disappearing at 15’ oranges and 30’ yellows at 50’. On a cloudy day the red may only penetrate 10 feet! So below 10 feet on a cloudy day the red colors on a fly will be black as the red rays of the sun will not be reaching the fly! That is why we never bother using a brightly colored lures at depths in lakes like Grafham Water, there is simply no point, the colors are not visible to the trout.

Of course there is the hidden colour in the sun’s rays, the colors we cannot see, Infra Red and Ultra Violet lights. UV penetrates deeply into water, this provided a trick to making the Blank Buster Buzzers ‘firing-up’ its fluorescence when used at different times of the day. Ultraviolet penetrates the water all day so using fluorescent threads Sandy could maximize hitting power of the buzzers. Using highly fluorescent threads would help with making the flies attractive to trout.

The range of colors for fluorescent materials for the flies was developed from the scientific analysis - Scarlet, Hot Orange, fluorescent Green, luminous or Phosphor Yellow.  However, the challenges still would not stop however, first attempts at tying the thorax over the black silk body were fine but the colors simply did not ‘fire-up’ their fluorescence as much as they should. The answer came watching pike fishermen. They were painting their floats white prior to painting Luminescent paint on them, Sandy investigated materials before he found his magical answer, a material now called Sandy’s Thorax Magic, a white thorax backing material which when used behind the thorax tying really light up the colors giving the perfect trigger that Sandy had been looking for on the Buzzers. Finally using a black box he had made to investigate luminosity, a box with ultra-violet lights were used to test the luminosity of different materials for the luminous buzzer and for breathers showed the Essential Fly Sparklemet, their Flashabou equivalent, this gave the high levels of luminosity that Sandy required. Two coats of varnish over the thorax only and the new buzzers were born from many different trials and failures.

First outing with the Blank Buster Buzzer Sandy and his testers at a  landed over 50 fish, experiments showed them to be deadly. Even the most wary of trout could be tempted by Sandy’s Blank Busters with the use of a long leader, often up to 20’ in length with nothing more than a single Blank Buster Buzzer on the end. The most wary trout were regularly fooled by these superb buzzers in trials in Scottish and English using this long leader technique with a single buzzer.  Surely they have to be an essential  part of every Fisherman’s fly Box?!

Check out the photo's of Sandy's Blank Buster Buzzers

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