Author Topic: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...  (Read 10602 times)

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Todd Oishi

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Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« on: February 28, 2013, 08:46:38 AM »
Steve Cullen's Holographic Thorax Epoxy Buzzer (photo used with Steve's permission)

I rarely use gills on my epoxy buzzers and other chironomid patterns, as I feel that they'll have a negative affect on the sink rate of my patterns for deep water presentations. I do however tie wing buds on most  of my patterns, which serve as a hot spot with fluorescent and non-fluorescent materials, which seems to increase their visibility and their ability stand out amongst the crowd when there's a mass emergence.

Steve Cullen's Epoxy Buzzer pattern (above) uses holographic material in the thorax region of his pattern, which has a real nice visual effect, and is sure to draw the attention of any trout that are nearby...

I'm curious whether you feel that the absence of gills has a negative or positive effect on your patterns and presentation, as they're frequently used on the Canadian patterns, and rarely on the U.K. patterns, which makes one realize how much the fly tying styles tend to vary from continent to continent.



« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 08:29:48 AM by Todd Oishi »
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Gerry Nicol

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 09:49:51 AM »
I just attended at the Coquitlam Fly Tyers a demonstration on tying chironomids with special guest  Tom Lam, one of BC's Chironimid fishing pioneers.
Apparently the proper taper shape is one of the most important aspects to tying chironomids. He tied in gills but they were very very short, apparently one of the mistakes most people make is to have the gills to long. The beads were also small so the taper flowed into the bead.
Tom had a large 24"coloured photo blowup of a chironomid that showed all the details he was emphasizing. Follow nature and observe the details to tie chironomids, nature is the best teacher.
I jotted down some notes on the bead size to be used with what hook size.
Size 16 hook - 5/64 Bead
Size 14 hook - 3/32 Bead
Size 12 hook - 7/64 Bead
I feel the gills are one aspect to be used if you want but keep them short as this will help the sink rate.
Tom Lam will be at the Tradex show this weekend and will be giving demonstrations on tying chironomids.   
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 10:10:49 AM by Gerry Nicol »

Randy Paskall

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2013, 04:01:55 PM »
The drag of the gills will certainly affect the sink rate for sure. As a 'natural' tyer I am a fan of gills be it a white bead or gills (antron/herl) themselves. In a bloom situation a bead is best as the bloom will stain the antron or osterich herl.

I took Tom's course a few years back and most assuredly took eons off my learning curve, but always remember that each fisher, no matter how proficient, has ideas that while well learned and tested and true are not always the 'perfect' answer for everything.
For instance Tom does NOT retrieve when fishing chironomids, his reasoning being that why would he do that, it moves the fly out of the zone(?), while I have seen all KINDS of retrieves turn the fish on. Everything from static, a twitch here and there, to 5 or 6 good full arm length YANKS.
Sometimes mechanics and math doesn't make actual sense in a fishing situation even though 90% of the time Tom is probably right in his assessment that other 10% can really be the difference from a good day to a stellar one.
Tom sure speaks with conviction and that comes from years and years of success using what he has learned over the years.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 04:06:27 PM by Randy Paskall »
Sorry, but you weren't catching that fish anyway.....

Ron Thompson

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2013, 10:51:53 PM »
I use gills on old fashion chironomids and chironomids with black beads. The exception is when I fish a lake with a bloom I will fish black bead chironomids without a gill as it will stain, or I will fish a white bead chironomid which ever one works that day.
ron
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Mike Fourchalk

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 08:24:19 AM »
IMHO I rarely tie gills on Chironomids size 18 and will occasionally leave them off size 16 ( Daiichi 1760 hooks ).  I agree that most tie their bead heads to big.  My criteria, and it varies a little is
5/64 tungsten bead on size 16 and 18
3/32 tungsten bead on size 14 and 12. I have used 5/64 on size 14 but it depends on the profile of the pattern.  The profile of the pattern is far more important.  Keep bodies short and slender.
My experience has showed me that the smaller the natural the smaller the gills.  As they get smaller gills are hardly perceivable.  therfore I use as little as I need to.
When tying buzzer style I like to use Midge stretch floss, from Stillwater Solutions, as a wing pad.  Colors vary but I really like the look of Summer Duck. 

Ron Thompson

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2013, 05:12:05 PM »
I have also taken to not putting gills on size 18 and 16 chironomids and I also tend to use a oversized bead.
ron
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Chad Vandermolen

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2013, 05:35:01 AM »
Good topic, Todd; it's one I've also been wrestling with for a while too.  Here's some of my thoughts and musings.

--In my visual inspection of throat samples from actively feeding fish, I find that the gills/breathers are generally more visually prominent than wing buds, but of course that is visibility to the human eye and not at the same depth/light setting as trout would view.  Sometimes wing buds do feature more prominently than gills, with the latter being almost indiscernible; this tends to be when there is a very active hatch.  So I think there is a sound reason to include both pattern styles in the box and in the right conditions each may produce better.  I understand that as pupae begin to emerge, and as they rise in the water column, the 'wing buds' become more prominent. 
--Prominent wing buds on patterns, I believe, are often effective/more effective, not because they more closely imitative the natural food item, but because they constitute a hotspot or attractor feature that makes the pattern more visible, more likely to stand out from the thousands of real c-mids.
--In terms of gills on patterns and the impact on sink rate, no doubt there is an impact, but I think that if the gills are tied in proper proportions this impact is not huge.  Many guys who tie in gills tie them WAY too large--I sure learned that from Tom Lam's chironomid course.  The macro shots of chironomid naturals help but things into perspective.  I generally tie mine about hook-eye length or just slightly longer; I don't think they should ever exceed about 1.5 times the hook eye in length.  Pretty much all good chironomid tyers and fishers that I've seen keep the gills length to at or around the hook eye lenght, give or take. 
--Also regarding sink rate, I know more and more top rods around here that are using tungsten instead of brass beads on their c-mids for lakes.  I think this is helps to maximize time in the zone and ensure one stays in the zone, especially in winding conditions.  In general, it seems in the UK that bead-headed c-mids are quite rare, while on this side of the Pond they are the norm.  I think this is probably because: they can fish teams of flies (including a heavy point fly) which will take even the unweighted buzzers into the zone, whereas we are limited to a single fly; they tend to fish shallower water often focusing on the top 10 or so feet, whereas we often target water 15 feet plus.  As a very general observation, I think we tend to target pupae staging just off the bottom on this side of the Pond, whereas they are much more likely to be targeting active emergences/hatches in the UK.

I'm probably wrong on half of this, but these are just a few of my working hypotheses.  Maybe next we should tackle the UV debate?

Gordon Kalisch

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 09:12:53 AM »
Out of laziness I generally use a white beadhead for most chironomid patterns.

I do like the buzzer style for it's "attractor qualities" with the bright green, orange or yellow hot spots but again in the name of speed and ease I will just use a black bead, dab a small about of the color I prefer o nthe sides of the bead then use a little head cement or whatever clear coat I have on hand.

With my 50 year old eyes I find that the little tuft of antron near the eye just makes it a little harder to thread the tippet through the eye too.

John Kent

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2013, 06:39:13 AM »
When fishing lakes with heavy summer algae blooms I used to use white beads a lot as white gills are algae magnets. Now I rarely use white beads but, rather, a drop of white fabric paint on the head of a black or brown bead.

Chris Puchniak

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2013, 05:52:25 PM »
I have generally had more success with patterns incorporating "gills" (or white hot spots as I prefer to call them) than with those without.  And that usually involves fishing the patterns very slow.  But I often think that the white spot (whether marabou, bead, herl...) for the gills is more of a hot spot as opposed to a precise representation of 'gills'.  White can act like a very effective hot spot at times, especially on pressured fish, or in murky waters.

But I think you also have to consider if the pattern is being fished near static under an indicator, or being pulled slowly.  I think the more movement you generate, perhaps the less need for the white.

Either way, if you treat it based on the premise that it is a hot spot, I don't think it can hurt to add it.
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Jordan Bannerman

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2013, 04:03:19 PM »
I tie all of my chironomids with gills, excluding ones with white bead,  my view is you can always trim them off later for whatever reason...

Todd Oishi

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2013, 04:06:21 PM »
That's a very good point Jordan! I sometimes do the same with rubber legs on some of my nymphs.
For me, the quality of a trout is not measured in inches or pounds, but rather by the journey and circumstances that allowed our paths to cross...

Randy Gunn

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2013, 11:05:04 AM »
I know this is a 10-month old thread but I felt compelled to reply.

Since we can all agree that tying bits of material to a hook helps elicit a take from feeding fish, then the next consideration is, what to tie on the hook? After all, if tying material to the hook did not matter we could all just fish bare hooks..., fair enough?

More to the topic, my feeling is that exact imitation is not necessary, but that KEY features of any "bug" need to be imitated for the pattern to be the most productive. With that thought, I feel the gills on a Chironomid pupa are a prominent feature and should be imitated on the pattern.  To my way of thinking the gills on Chironomid pupa are as prominent as the eyes on a Damsel nymph.

Choices, and disproving logic is part of what makes flyfishing fun. Who really knows what the fish think!  ;D


Randy


Todd Oishi

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2013, 12:23:23 PM »
Very nice tying job Randy! What are you using for the wing buds?
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Randy Gunn

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Re: Thoughts on Using Gills on Chironomid/Buzzer Patterns...
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2013, 01:27:58 AM »
Todd, the wing buds are made from Steve Farrar blend of synthetics.  What I used was named, "Glacier Fine Orange".  I think it's been renamed as, "SF Blend H20".  It's similar to Lite-Brite or Angel Hair.  I used an orange Sharpy to shade it a little darker.

I like to carry the ribbed abdomen up between the buds like the actual "bug".  Some Buzzers I see tied show the buds along side an extended thorax.  Do the fish care..., probably not.  ;D


Randy


A different view showing the relationship of the abdomen to the thorax and buds.