Fly Tying - The all-mighty Buford!?

Fly Tying a streamer for pike fishing - Danica Dudes flyfishing blog
The Buford streamer design is living from the huge head and pressure, that this fly makes underwater

The second month of the new pike season is nearly over and I thought it is about time for a little resumee...

Unfortunately, I did not get out on the water as often as I wanted to, but that´s how life as a student can be at times. With the high temperatures we´re experiencing here in Germany for several weeks now it is at least not too sad, since catching the toothy critters would probably have been bad anyway...

The few times I did wet a line were also not very good in terms of catching (watch my "A day with a dude"-episode), I landed two small pike in six fishing days, had lots of followers and strikes though, but these conditions were really helpful in terms of testing out new stuff.

As I´ve posted earlier this year, I´ve been doing some research about tying techniques for musky patterns and how I can use them for my pike flies. After reading the fantastic book "Hunting Musky With A Fly " by Rick Kustich and scrolling through several instagram feeds of well known musky guys such as David O´Sullivan aka @Sullytuna or Brad Bohen from @Primotail I kinda fell in love with a deerhair head style, called Buford, which was first developed by Brad Bohen for his Wisconsin waters.

So I tied a few over the last couple of months and fished them more or less exclusively.


Here are a few things I like about that style of fly, which is actually a lot, but also some negative aspects I discovered in that design:

Fly Tying a streamer for pike fishing - Danica Dudes flyfishing blog
The Buford streamer design in different colors.
Fly Tying a streamer for pike fishing - Danica Dudes flyfishing blog
This streamer design make very much noise and therefore attracts pike a lot.

Starting off with the pros:

  • Fantastic movement - the big head pushes some serious water which makes the flash and feathers behind wiggle and swirl really attractive, even at a steady retrieve or when just facing the current. When stripped hard, the fly will dart and jerk like crazy.
  • The pressure this head creates makes for a perfect choice when fishing heavily stained waters where visibility is limited.
  • Topwater action - when the deerhair is packed a little tighter, the Buford can be fished similar to a diver or popper since it will come up to the water surface when the retrieve is stopped --> we experienced one crazy surface eat just before closing season on it!
  • Weed resistence: when you tie this pattern with a little wider head and more bucktail, it will push several small weeds aside and won´t get tangled too often! So you do not need to change your pattern when coming to spot with a little thicker underwater vegetation.

Now the cons:

  • Limited depth - when fishing with an intermediate line, the deerhair won´t allow the fly to sink as fast as others would, even if the head isn´t packed tight. Of course, pike in general tend to look up to the surface and sure will come up a few feet for a little snack, but not allways. In the small rivers that I fish, it´s sometimes necessary for the fly to dive a few feet into a certain spot, such as a sunken log, before you start the retrieve - and the  current won´t allow you to wait until the intermediate line pulls the fly down. If you don´t wanna change lines for one single spot, a fly that sinks a little faster will definitely do a better job in certain situations. BUT if you´re fishing a faster sinking line, this fly will fish above both bottom and the flyline and therefore won´t get stuck too often, unlike weighted patterns such as clousers.
  • This fly design doesn´t include eyes. You can glue some on for sure, but this will in general disturb the round, disk-like head profile. Eyes on a streamer are no dogma, but I do know a lot of folks who are strong believers of the trigger eyes display for predatory fish. I´m not totally sure about that since I´ve caught fish on flies with and without eyes, but I do see their point.


Fly Tying a streamer for pike fishing - Danica Dudes flyfishing blog
This fly has eyes, but does it catch more?

I plan on testing my little Buford collection on my upcoming trip to the South of Sweden in August to see what the Scandinavian pike think about them.


I`ll let you know about the results!


Tight lines,


Lukas Kirchgäßner