This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Buz’s Float N Fool Multi-Color.
The Float N Fool Multi-Color (AKA – Flot’N Fool Multi-Color, Float-n-Fool, Float N Fool, even Flot-N-Fool) is a parachute fly tied with calf tail for the tail and wing post, a peacock herl body, and a hackle that varied in color from Adams (brown and grizzly), to brown, or dun.
Who is Buz, you may ask?
Buz Buszek (1912 – 1965) opened Buz’s Fly and Tackle Shop in 1947 at his home in Visalia, CA, close to the Kings River in the Sierra Nevadas.
Never heard of Buz? Unfortunately, history has a way of fading people’s memories of those who came before us. It’s a major reason I write my weekly Throw Back Thursday post.
To learn more about Buz, here is information provided by his son-in-law Mickey Powell many years ago in the form of a newsletter article to their customers – History of the Buz Buszek Fly Shop Excellence in the Art of Fly Tying 1947-1997. Mickey ran the shop with Virginia, Buz’s wife, after Buz’s death.
In 1970, the International Federation of Fly Fishers (now called Fly Fisher’s International) named its annual fly tyer award for Buz Buszek. It’s a coveted award and there have been some great fly tyers who were fortunate enough to win it. I’m blessed to know some of them personally – Al & Gretchen Beatty, Wayne Luallen, Steven Fernandez, and Jim Ferguson.
Here is some information provided by Wayne Luallen. Wayne describes where the calftail was sourced as well as Buz’s tying directions for the fly.
“Central California is farm country which includes a huge dairy industry. Through friends with access to a dairy, Buz was able to acquire calf tails from aborted calves. This hair was perfect for several flies he designed and fished, including a series of patterns he referred to collectively as the Floatin’ Fool, a style of dry fly that uses the hair tips for the tail with the trimmed ends tied upright for a parachute wing post, varying one pattern from the other in body material and hackle.
I do not know when Buz produced them, but for a few years after Buz died Mickey Powell and Virginia Buszek sold some color “plates” along with typed descriptions of flies that the shop sold. Attached are photos from “Plate A” I took of the F-n-F as well as his Western and KRC. The description of the “Float N Fool Multi Color” is (spelling, spacing as typed):
11. FLOAT N FOOL MULTI COLOR
HOOK: 94838 1 x short shank.
TAIL AND SPIKE: White calf tail; natural ends to back.
BODY: Peacock herl. Optional – I reverse wrap with fine gold wire for durable bodies.
HACKLE: Grizzly and Brown. Same procedure as #10 except not necessary to wind stems into white peg as is stiff enough as base. These flies light upright every cast; float well and in many streams have singular appear to trout. Blue Dun on Michigan’s Au Sauble will take smart brown trout in mid-day.
In Buz’s Fly and Tackle Shop Catalog No. 15 the fly description reads (spelling as typed):
Float-N-Fool is the name coined by Buz for this series which he developed. They all have white calftail pegs and tails for high visibility. Bodies are all peacock herl. Hackle is wound around peg horizontally. They’ll float down to the water softly and land properly every cast. The multi-color (Adams) is the original version and still the most effective.
Brown, Blue Dun, Black, Ginger, Furnace Badger ….. .70 each
Multi-Color ……… .80 each
Grizzly …….. .80 each”
Lastly, Wayne provided information about tying Buz’s Float N Fool Multi-Color. He took up fly tying after Buz had passed away and tied flies for the shop.
“The approach Mickey had me tie the pattern was with the tail being the tips of the calf tail and the wing post made of the butts from the tail. I also recall variations in how it was tied such as just a brown hackle instead of the original mix of grizzly and brown. I think there was a dun version, and the body would change at times. His idea was a high floating fly, easily tied, simple materials, and that could be varied by materials used to provide a different silhouette and color to match a specific insect – sort of an all-around parachute pattern. Obviously I never heard that from Buz, but that was my impression of his intent – a style of fly more than just a pattern, though the “standard” was the white calf, Adams hackle, and herl body.”
I’m grateful to my friend Wayne Luallen who provided much of the history and images I’ve been able to use in this post.