Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A golden age fly, The Marlow Buzz, tutorial

Here is a truly old pattern. This fly dates back to the 1830s. It is known as the Marlow buzz or lady bird. Back then a "buzz" was a term for an emerger or wingless fly.   However this fly was intended to imitate a winged beetle.   Here is an excerpt  from fly anglers online.
"Edward Fitzgibbon, writing as Ephemera, said in his Handbook of Angling, 1847, 'What is called the buzz form, is an intended imitation of the natural fly struggling and half drowned. A fly with erect wings and one without them, or buzz, may be used on the casting line at the same time, the buzz imitation being the stretcher or tail fly.'

Ephemera also says: 'Some persons call this fly the Marlow Buzz, others the Lady Bird. At any rate it is intended to imitate a small winged beetle.'

You can read more about the fly here.  At any rate you can know this fly is a producer as it is still tied and varied in many different ways. As a matter of fact the starling and herl can be traced back to the buzz.  It is a rather simple tie, so let's twist one up!  Click read more for tutorial



Hook- Daiichi 1560, 8-16 here I use an AJ soft hackle hook #11

Thread- Uni 8/0 black

Tag- Gold tinsel

Body- Peacock herl

Hackle- Hen Furnace 

Start the thread at the eye and wind back to the point

Tie in the god tinsel wrapping back, then bring thread back up to the point

Wind the tinsel touching turns and tie off and trim the excess

Make a dubbin loop

Select to peacock herls and tie them in by the tips on your way up.

Twist the herls in the loop to make a nice strong peacock herl rope

Wind the rope forward, touching turns. Tie off and cut the excess

Select a well marked furnace hackle.  You want one that the hackle fibers will extend back over the body to the tag area.

Tie the hackle in by the tip. Stroke all the fibers back to reveal the tip.

Wind the hackle, stroking the fibers back while you wind. With a good genetic hen like im using here you will need about 3-4 turns.  Catch with the thread and tie it down towards the eye.

Sweep the remaining hackle and any way ward hackle back and wrap the thread back to hackle collar to form the head. You then can break off the remaining hackle

Whip finish the fly and snip the thread.

Varnish the head and you have yourself a really old, but highly effective Marlow Buzz.



  1. Wonderful.
    I love the history of old patterns.
    I fish a fly very similar, Brown hackle peacock with a red tail. Works well.

    1. Nice SBS

    2. Thank you brk,
      I enjoy the history as well, and believe this fly is the origin of the brown hackle peacock.