Tuesday Tutorial: The Buzzball

When it comes to ugly, fast, and damn effective, it doesn’t get any better than the Buzzball. Gary LaFontaine is the man behind this funky little pattern, which mimics a cluster of spent bugs spinning in the drink. This fly is extremely effective on those tailwaters like the Missouri or the Big Horn, where the biomass of bugs is high and the hatches are thick enough to choke a mule. That said, I find it to be a great evening caddis hatch fly on our home waters and freestones, and a good pattern to throw to soft water risers throughout the season. This is a great fly to tie to use up those weird, odd-sized hackle feathers that are probably collecting in the bottom of your feather bins. I tie them in all sorts of sizes, though the most effective sizes tend to be smaller – between 12 and 18. Sure, you can tie this one way down into the 20s, but there really isn’t a need. Like the Griffith’s Gnat, this fly looks better the more it resembles a bit of pocket lint on a hook, and even picky fish slurping on tiny BWOs won’t refuse a larger size Buzzball drifting over their heads. This tutorial is a lot like the fly: quick, dirty, and done. Mark Raisler from Headhunters Fly Shop does this fly right. Tie up a handful and toss them at that finicky brown sitting in the soft stuff.

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