Dave Shipman came up with this pattern to imitate a hatching buzzer. Its novel construction means that it sits flat, right in the surface film, imitating superbly the straight-bodied profile of the natural pupa.
Although fished as a dry-fly, the Shipman’s Buzzer is tied without any hackle. Instead it relies on breathing filaments and teased-out body material to make it float. In the original the breathing filaments, which project from both the head and tail of the fly, were tied from white antron. This is a very light, man-made fibre that floats well; however, over the years other materials have been used for these breathers.
Foam works very well, though being quite bulky it is best used on larger versions of the fly. Cul-de-canard has also become popular as it floats even better than antron.
Natural grey or white CDC may be used and, on smaller versions of the pattern — hooks from size 14-18 — it produces a wonderfully effective fly – deadly when trout are sipping down small hatching midge.
Body colour varies from black to olive, orange, red and brown. This is ribbed with open turns of pearl tinsel, which produces a nice sparkle and suggests the effect caused by gas trapped within the skin of the natural.
Hook Size 10-18 medium weight
Thread Brown Tail breathers Natural
grey CDC Rib Medium pearl tinsel Body
Fiery brown seal’s fur Thorax Fiery
brown seal’s fur Head breathers Natural
1. Run the tying thread on at the eye and wind it down the shank to form a solid base. Take three CDC feathers, placed together with tips level, and catch them in at the eye. Secure with thread and remove the excess.
2. Carry the tying thread down the shank in close turns to cover the waste ends of the CDC feathers. At the bend, catch in another three CDC feathers. Secure them in place with close turns of thread and remove the excess.
3. Cover the waste ends of both head and tail breathers to form an even base for the body. Catch in two inches of medium-width pearl tinsel at the base of the tail.
4. Take a pinch of fiery brown seal’s fur and apply it evenly along well-waxed tying thread.
5. Twisting the fur between finger-and thumb, dub it on to the thread to form a thick rope. Starting at the tail, begin winding the dubbed fur along the hook.
6. Carry the fur three quarters of the way toward the eye, making sure the turns are closely butted together so no gaps are left.
7. Take hold of the pearl tinsel and wind it over the body in open, evenly spaced turns. On a fly of this size three or four turns are ample.
8. Secure the loose end of the pearl tinsel and remove the excess. Dub on a second smaller pinch of fiery brown fur and use it to form a thorax. Cast off the tying thread at the eye with a whip finish.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
The CDC Shipman’s is an effective pattern on all types of lakes and reservoirs. Especially effective on waters which have good hatches of buzzer.
W H E N
Principally tied to imitate a hatching buzzer it is at its most deadly when trout are working steadily upwind, sipping down the naturals. It will catch fish whenever they are feeding close to the surface from May to September.
H O W
The Shipman’s is a versatile pattern and may be fished static in the normal way or pulled past feeding fish with a steady draw. In calm conditions it fishes well singly but the normal tactic is to use it as part of a team with other dry-flies or nymphs. Always fish it on a floating line.
T Y I N G T I P
Once the body and thorax have been tied, use a piece of velcro to tease out the fur fibres. This not only creates extra sparkle, but with floatant applied to these fibres it helps the pattern stay afloat.