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Fly Fishing with the Shipman's Buzzer

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Shipman's Buzzer by Stephen Cheetham Shipman's Buzzer by Stephen Cheetham

A follow-on to the last story from GAIA instructor Stephen Cheetham which told the tale of the humble bloodworm, he now moves onto the Shipman's Buzzer.

You will remember last month I wrote about the bloodworm. Well the story continues about my frustrations of how my wife catches more fish than me on stillwaters.  I suffer from the old problem of a bad back and chucking lures out all the time does irritate me and my back so I do like to relax into my fishing with a dry fly.

Now if you remember the bit of entomology education I gave you into the life cycle of a midge, when the lava (bloodworm) is ready to hatch it changes into a buzzer which struggles up through the water to surface to hatch out. At this point we come to a fly called Shipman’s Buzzer which is designed to imitate a buzzer in the final stages of hatching or what’s left after the hatch. The original fly was invented by a gentleman called Dave Shipman and was actually tied with a red body but to perfectly honest I have found that black, olive or orange as just as effective.

When I am instructing my students in our graceful art of fishing the Shipman’s I just tell them to cast the fly to an area of feeding trout.  Now we come to the best bit. Let the fly sit. You sit. Both sit. And wait. You don’t really have to sit, just relax. While you're relaxing, sitting and waiting for something to happen, wisps of wind or current may create slack in your line. This isn't good because when a trout takes your fly you will need to quickly tighten on it. So carefully manage your fly line to keep the slack out.

Early one Saturday morning my wife announced that she wanted to go fishing. “Reluctantly” I agreed and hiding a smile I dragged myself out of bed, washed, forgot about shaving, checked the tackle and ten minutes later we were on our way to Kilnsey Park. Now I have always found that area around Kilnsey seems to have its own climate, hurricanes can be hitting Leeds but Kilnsey is basking in sunshine and visa versa. That day however it was cloudy but there was no wind, the water was as still as a mill pond, just nice for a relaxing day or so I thought.

Tackling up, Mrs C decided on the fly she would use first and out came a lure, a concrete bowl I think it was - one of those flies that is good at imitating anything. After an hour - not a titter, nothing, zilch. I was the same, not a nibble. Here we go I thought a blank day at Kilnsey, a thought that sends shudders down my spine as I could imagine my fishing friends rolling their eyes in disbelief. “You never blanked at Kilnsey????” with a giggle.

Looking around there were one or two fish rising and as I say I do like dry fly fishing so I suggested to Mrs C that we both try a red Shipman’s buzzer. That way we could relax and enjoy the day.  Cast the fly out and just let it bob about. Maybe we could have a cup of coffee. No chance! As soon as her fly hit the water, wallop! a fish took it. Not a gentle sip either; a full blown splashy rise, the kind of rise that makes your heart miss a beat. The fish was landed safely and I returned it whilst she cast again. As soon as the fly hit the water it happened again and again and again for ages.

Mrs C is what she calls “vertically challenged”, only about 5 feet in her wellies, so being a gentleman I do like to help with the landing of her fish.
Hang on a minute! I have just realised why she catches more fish than me!

Stephen Cheetham - GAIC Trout, GAIC Fly Dressing

Stephen Cheetham is a qualified member of the Game Anglers Instructors Association (GAIC) and member of the Angling Development Board (ADB). He has fished for trout all his life and runs various fly fishing courses for the Salmon andTrout Association and is also a demonstrator and a course tutor at Otley Prince Henry's Grammar School in Fly Dressing. Stephen, a published author to various magazines, is heavily involved in a monthly fly fishing column in The Yorkshire Post newspaper. Stephen is a firm believer that: "Fishing should be fun".

See Stephen Cheetham's Instructors page for further information.


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flies, hebrides, theo pike

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