This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is Buz’s Old Gray Mare.

Old Grey Mare | www.johnkreft.com
Photo credit – Wayne Luallen

This is another Buz Buszek fly pattern. If you are a regular here at RiverKeeper Flies, you’ve seen several TBT flies I’ve highlighted on these pages and you might be familiar with his story. If not, read on…

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. 

I’ve presented other of Buz’s flies in previous Throw Back Thursday post. They include Kings River CaddisWestern Coachman, and Buz’s Float N Fool Multi-Color.

Materials

Hook:

Daiichi 1180 or TMC 100

Thread:

Brown

Tail:

Scarlet red hackle barbs

Butt:

Peacock herl

Body:

Red floss

Wing:

Coarse white deer hair tied over the body and extending half the length of the tail. The deer hair is tied in after the hackle.

I’m grateful to my friend Wayne Luallen who provided much of the history and image seen above. If you read his Comment below, this fly was tied by Buz.

Enjoy…go fish!

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2 Comments

  1. John – That fly came from Buz’s fly box now in the possession of Buz’s (and my) friend, 101 year old Don Lieb. It is the only one I have held in hand that was his tie. For those interested in more information about Buz, Mike Valla’s book, “The Founding Flies,” has an excellent chapter including photos of patterns Buz developed that were tied by Don for the book. Don, now closing in on 102, continues to tie and teach.

  2. Nice fly John, his flies are always good looking and interesting. This fly is one of those where you wonder “how did it get that name?” – there’s nothing gray or equine in it, but I guess it is “old”. Keep ’em coming John, always a pleasure to read your posts!

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