By Carl Nixon
We've all experienced those days when it's flat calm, far too hot for fishing, BBQ weather, pub weather in fact! You see the odd fish breaking the surface, just enough to keep you interested, but still frustrating enough to start chopping and changing tactics. Something I've had a high rate of success with the last few years is deep water buzzers.
As the unusually, not-so-British summer hits these waters, fish are driven into the cooler layers, following the thermocline. Still a great abundance of food at 25-50ft for them so why travel where they don't need to.
The basics of this method have a few steps to it....
Firstly, if you find yourself in the dreaded flat calm...
Plumb the depth you're fishing in, I find an ideal way to do this is attach your priest to your braided loop of a sinking fly line. Alongside this it helps if your line has markers along it, usually employed for the 'hang' method.
Once you're happy with an idea of what depth you're in, we can begin!
Setup is relatively simple, take your sinking line, personally the Wychwood Connect Deck Zone, at 7" per second sink rate is ideal for this and an essential part of your armoury for any reservoir angler that has access to deep water.
I have 3 "markers" whipped to my Deck Zone, 30ft, 20ft & 10ft, all are fluorescent braid, attached with a two turn stop knot, two contrasting colours help spot these as they emerge from the surface. These are covered with uv resin to aid travelling through the rod rings.
A fairly soft action rod also helps as the takes at 30ft can be arm wrenching! I use the new Wychwood T2, 10' #7.
Setting up your tippet isn't an exact science but having an idea of leader length can help turn a good day into one of those red letter days, especially with this technique. Attach you flies at even spaces, starting with around 8ft to your first dropper and 4ft between the remaining droppers. This will give you a 20ft leader, which when combined with your markers on your fly line at 30, 20, & 10ft, it's nice and easy to figure out what depth the fish are feeding at when they do take one of your flies.
Balancing the leader with this set up is key to saving all those tangles, especially with heavy flies and sinking lines. I opt for a heavy grub, size 8 as the point fly then 2 size 10 flies above that with a size 12 on the top dropper. The style of hook wether it be a B175 or B110, is completely a personally choice, however, I prefer the curved grub of a B110, it has an offset point and represents the chironomid better as it rises vertically to the surface.
Once you're happy with your fly choice, give yourself enough line to cast and reach the bottom or whatever your plumbed depth is. Allowing your flies to sink, depending on your depth may take a few seconds, this isn't a time to relax and wait, as once the flies get near the feeding zone, the takes may come before you're fishing vertically.
You will begin to feel the weight of the fly line bare down on the rod, now you are fishing vertically. As you would when buzzer fishing, a painfully slow retrieve is key, and even more apparent using this technique is to pay attention to anything felt on the line. As you retrieve, you will see the line depth markers appear, this is a great time to pause the retrieve, given that you know what depth you're fishing at, your point fly will be in 50ft of water on some occasions. A gentle lift or "jig" of the rod may induce a take from any nosey trout. Continuing your retrieve to the next marker, paying close attention again, this is key as when you do get a take, it helps to know where about the markers are in relation to your rod tip or retrieving hand.
The takes when jigging deep water buzzers can range from a gentle draw down on the rod to a full blown, "I'm having that whether you like it or not" affair.
I do hope you give this method a go this summer, the sport that can be had when you think all is lost can be electric.
I have included some of my favourite patterns for you to tie and try.
|GRAFHAM BUZZER||SIMPLE BLACK BUZZER||QUILL BUZZER||SIMPLE OLIVE BUZZER|