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Forgotten '52

Is the '52 Buick better than a Doc Spratley?

52 BuickLet me put it this way:  If you are planning a mid-summer fishing trip to any of the Kamloops area lakes, don't forget to pack your 52 Buicks!  Sound like a memorable quote from the 1980's?  I mean, when was the last time anyone ever recommended that ancient fly?  Well, when asked by another angler on a Kamloops lake last summer about what fly to use, that was the the first fly on my list.

It's hard to believe that the 52 Buick is sometimes referred to as a useless Doc Spratley without a wing.  In my experience, the 52 Buick has out-fished the good ol' Doc Spratley at least three to one.  I never liked that overwing anyways.  I'll give it some credit, you can imitate many insects or invertebrates with a Doc Spratley in certain sizes or colors.  So if I was to tell the Spratley to rest in peace, and retire from my fly box, many anglers would probably call me crazy; but, these are the people who I would badly out-fish with the much more practical 52 Buick.

Andy Tchir float tubingOkay, the Doc Spratley has paid its dues, caught fish throughout the years, but why not have ten 52 Buicks tied up in your box instead of tying up five or six doc spratleys?  The 52 Buick is easy to tie, using only four materials, which most people have in their fly tying box.  The use of lemon died mallard flank, olive dubbing, peacock herl, and most importantly, oval tinsel to tie up the 52 Buick, creates one fly to be reckoned with. 

Do not tie this fly without oval tinsel, unless tying to specifically represent a caddis pupa, because one of the most noticeable features of this fly in the water is the oval tinsel ribbing.  Hold it up to a dragonfly nymph, and you will notice the oval tinsel gives it an ultra-realistic profile in the water.

Last summer, when nothing else worked (including the doc spratley), this fly came through.  Even during the warmest, sunniest days. 

During one trip, Tim and I would make a loop in our pontoon boats while trolling the 52 Buick on an intermediate sink line, and the second we would hit a certain spot, it was an automatic hook-up. This included a nice 21" Kamloops rainbow which broke in Tim's reel nicely.

To conclude, I am going to say the opposite of a New York mobster about the 52 Buick: "DON'T forget about it."

Andy Tchir, WesternSportfishing.ca

Written by: Andy Tchir

Email: andy@westernsportfishing.ca