Zonker Rabbit Strip

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Zonker Rabbit Strip
Tying The Zonker
Steelhead School
Deer Creek Rod Test
All pictures are Mouse-over.

...wild steelhead. Photo by Ken Anderson.
I haven't been able to get out fishing much since late October, and don't have any fresh fish pictures from my own camera. We always like to start your week with a picture of a nice fish to remind you why you work so hard, hopefully a picture to make your day more peasant. Low and behold Ken Anderson must have known my plight because he emailed us pictures of a couple of chromers he had just caught from one of the local rivers. Life ain't so bad when you got fish like this in your comnunity.

Zonker Rabbit Strips
Cut with grain of the hair in 1/8 in. wide strips. Choice, no thin-outs. These economical packs contain (4) rabbit strips in a width for Zonkers or Bunny Buggers. (about 4 linear feet).
Zonker Rabbit Strips
This is the most popular type of rabbit strip for tying Zonkers, Hare Matukas and Bunny Buggers.  Straight Cut Rabbit Strips are also the most popular material for tying Steelhead Bunnies such as "Big Black" and "Big Red"
You can find more information on them here:   The Evolution of Big Black       Color Chart - 5
Item Description Price To Top
HLRS 1 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, White $2.30
HLRS 2 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Charcoal $2.30
HLRS 3 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Light Brown $2.30
HLRS 4 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Grizzly $2.30
HLRS 5 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Chinchilla $2.30
HLRS 6 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Black $2.30
HLRS 7 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Purple $2.30
HLRS 8 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Red $2.30
HLRS 9 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Olive $2.30
HLRS 10 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Yellow $2.30
HLRS 11 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Chartreuse $2.30
HLRS 12 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Dark Olive $2.30
HLRS 13 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Dark Brown $2.30
HLRS 14 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Golden Olive $2.30
HLRS 15 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Burgundy $2.30
HLRS 16 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Fl. Pink $2.30
HLRS 17 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Fl. Orange $2.30
HLRS 18 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Fl. Yellow Chartreuse $2.30
HLRS 19 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Crawfish Orange  $2.30
HLRS 20 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Rust $2.30
HLRS 21 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Gold Variant $2.30
HLRS 22 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Navy Blue $2.30
HLRS 23 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Fl. Fuchsia $2.30
HLRS 24 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Salmon Pink $2.30
HLRS 25 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Olive Variant $2.30
HLRS 26 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Silver Gray $2.30
HLRS 27 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Fl. Flame $2.30
HLRS 28 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Sand Variant $2.30
HLRS 29 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Hot Orange $2.30
HLRS 31 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Dark Grass Green $2.30
HLRS 32  Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Flesh $2.30
HLRS 33 Packaged Straight Cut Rabbit Strip, Peach $2.30

HLRS 34 Straight Cut Stripped  Rabbit Hides, Chartreuse Varient $2.30

HLRS 35 Straight Cut Stripped  Rabbit Hides, Fl. Red $2.30

HLRS 36 Straight Cut Stripped  Rabbit Hides, Fl. Fire Orange $2.30

Tying The Zonker Fly                                                                         Zonker Patterns
The Zonker as first tied by Dan Byford in the early 1970's is one of the best fresh water bait fish patterns ever devised. It has changed through the years with the improvements added by other tiers, as materials have been become available or gone away. It is our understanding that the first Zonkers used a wooden match stick for filler under the Mylar tubing to shape the body. Then sticky-back lead tape folded over the hook and trimmed to shape became the preferred material. Lead tape is now difficult to obtain in the proper width. Aluminum sticky-back tape is available, but is so thin that it takes several layers to provide a body that is structurally strong enough to stand up to the rigors of assembling the fly and to take the abuse of fishing. The proportion diagrams shown here are for the most popular Mylar tubing widths.
Zonker Dimention Chart
Hook A B C Tape Tubing Type Fur Strip
2 3/16" 5/16" 5/16" 1" 1/4" dia. Flashabou 2"
2 3/16" 1/4" 1/4" 1" 3/16" dia Mylar 2"
4 5/32" 3/16" 3/16" 7/8" 1/8" dia Mylar 1 3/4"
6 1/8" 5/32" 1/8" 3/4" 1/8" dia Mylar 1 1/2"

Flashabou Minnow Body in size medium is about 5/16" wide. Medium Mylar tubing is 1/4" and small Mylar and Flashabou Minnow Body are 1/8".


To construct a Zonker body over sticky-back tape fold one or several layers over the hook shank and and trim to the shape of a fish belly.


Insert the body in a length of tubing and tie the ends shut with thread molding the tubing into the shape of the body.


Ordinarily I would use white 6/0 Uni to tie off the ends of the tubing. Black was used here to give better illustration of thread placement. Also the thread at the front of the body was not fully exploited as more bulk could have been canted to form the large over the top of.


We used an epoxy technique like this back in the mid-eighties. But instead of using wire, we used stiff mono to create many fly body shapes by filling the frame with epoxy then placing the wet body on a motorized turner until it hardened.


When thick sticky-back tape became unavailable, we worked out a frame of lead wire, which was fastened to the hook with tying thread and super glued in place.


The wire frame is filled with epoxy and then placed on a turner to harden. Any kind of epoxy can be used from the five minute kind to 8-hour epoxy used for rod finish. Figure on letting your body forms to harden for at least eight hours before the Mylar tubing is added to them.


Add the Mylar tubing and then coat the body with a layer of epoxy for dur ability and a high gloss finish.


Add a rabbit strip for the back of the fly. Attach it at the rear of the body. Do not attach it to the front of the body until a hackle is added.


Add a drop of Zap-A-Gap super glue to hold the thread wraps in place.


Add a hackle to simulate fins, gill plates,etc.


Tie off the front of the rabbit strip and trim so that the head can be formed with tying thread. Remember that a large head will provide a foundation for painted eyes.


Turing the fly up side down will help with the addition of more Zap-A-Gap to further secure the rear of the rabbit strip. becareful not to get any glue in the fur.


The fly should look like this before the final coat of epoxy is added to the head. This coat should be heavy enough to cover any imperfections in the thread surface. Slow drying epoxy gives the best finish as the slow drying time allows air bubbles to escape from the liquid finish.


There are many shapes of baitfish, and the Zonker can be custom tied to match most of them. Model airplane enamel is the easiest paint to use for eyes unless another coat of epoxy is to be applied over them. Wet epoxy tends to melt enamel finishes. Use Acrylic artist paint if you intend to coat the eyes with epoxy.


Zonkers

Zonker, Black & Silver
Hook: TMC 9394 #2
Thread: black flat waxed
Under Body: lead sticky-back tape folded over hook and trimmed to fish-belly shape
Over Body: silver Mylar tubing pulled over lead tape form, tied at both ends and coated            with head cement
Hackle: red
Back: black rabbit strip

Zonker, Blue & Silver
Hook: TMC 9394 #2
Thread: Blue flat waxed
Under Body: lead sticky-back tape folded over hook and trimmed to fish-belly shape
Over Body: silver Mylar tubing pulled over lead tape form, tied at both ends and coated            with head cement
Hackle: blue
Back: blue rabbit strip

Zonker, Chartreuse & Silver
Hook: TMC 9394 #2
Thread: chartreuse flat waxed
Under Body: lead sticky-back tape folded over hook and trimmed to fish-belly shape
Over Body: silver Mylar tubing pulled over lead tape form, tied at both ends and coated            with head cement
Hackle: chartreuse
Back: chartreuse rabbit strip

Zonker, Juvenile Shad
Hook: TMC 9394 #2
Thread: gray 3/0
Under Body: lead sticky-back tape folded over hook and trimmed to fish-belly shape
Over Body: silver Mylar tubing pulled over lead tape form, tied at both ends and coated            with head cement.  Paint three black dots on each side. 
Hackle: gray
Back: gray rabbit strip

Zonker, Juvenile Sucker
Hook: TMC 9394 #2
Thread: olive 3/0
Under Body: lead sticky-back tape folded over hook and trimmed to fish-belly shape
Over Body: gold Mylar tubing pulled over lead tape form, tied at both ends and coated            with head cement
Hackle: yellow
Back: dark olive rabbit strip

Zonker, White & Silver
Hook: TMC 9394 #2
Thread: white 3/0
Under Body: lead sticky-back tape folded over hook and trimmed to fish-belly shape
Over Body: silver Mylar tubing pulled over lead tape form, tied at both ends and coated            with head cement
Hackle: white
Back: white rabbit strip

Zonker, Juvenile White Fish
Hook: TMC 9394 #2
Thread: olive 3/0
Under Body: lead sticky-back tape folded over hook and trimmed to fish-belly shape
Over Body: silver Mylar tubing pulled over lead tape form, tied at both ends and coated            with head cement
Hackle: olive
Back: olive rabbit strip


Winter Steelhead Finishing Schools                 Three instructors for the price of one.
Take a drift boat ride down a Local River with: 
Mark Bachmann, Josh Linn and Mike Kinney

The Fly Fishing Shop has a long history of collaboration with the best Spey Casting Instructors in the world. In the past we have sponsored very successful schools with such elite instructors as George Gook, Simon Gawesworth, Brian Silvey , Andy Murray and Dec Hogan. We sponsor the biggest two-day Spey Casting School in the world...
Sponsored By Temple Fork Outfitters
the Sandy River Spey Clave. As such it has always been a goal of ours to offer the widest array of finishing schools for the spey casting aficionado.  That is why we have teamed with Mike Kinney for a couple of special schools aimed at taking you, the accomplished angler to the next skill level. Mark, Mike and Josh are the kind of guides that fish on their days off. They live for steelhead fly fishing. Mike Kinney is a special casting coach who has developed unique teaching methods that will enhance your personal skills. Mike helped develop the Temple Fork Outfitters' popular Deer Creek series of Spey rods. There will be a couple of full sets available for students to try. Mike and Mark have been in pursuit of steelhead with two-hand rods about as long as anyone in the game. Josh adds a youthful touch. Combined with our unique class room and PowerPoint presentations, we believe that this class offers benefits available nowhere else.
These classes will be a lot of fun and a memorable experience for all involved.
Mark Bachmann Winter Steelhead fly fishing is very practical if you know how.  Being able to find fish and being able to present the fly properly are key factors. We have all heard from clients that catching fish comes easy for guides. This is especially true of certain guides. They are the kind of guides that fish on their days off. They are constantly refining their skills. We are those kind of guides. We find that this kind of guide also makes the best teacher. They just have more to offer. In this class you will  refine skills
in understanding steelhead water and how to approach it. Emphasis will be on refining casting and fishing skills. We want to give you maximum advantage by having as many fish hooked during this class as possible. Nothing teaches you more about fishing than being where fish are being hooked and landed.  Emphasis will be on spey rod use and sinking-tip line fishing. Students should have solid rudimentary casting skills. This is a fishing class. Josh Linn
This is the third level offered this season. In preparation for this class we suggest you start with the  then the December 19 Winter Steelhead 101 Class.
Catch winter steelhead with flies... What you need to bring:
Bring your own waders and rain gear.  Bring your own rod/reel set up if you want to.  
A variety of premium quality 2-hand rod/reel set-ups will be available for you to use at no extra charge. Flies are supplied.
A hot lunch will be served on the river.  
There will be a very short rest period after lunch.  
Meet at The Fly Fishing Shop at 6:30am for half-hour orientation.  Coffee and donuts will be served.

Watch an expert guide as he fishes and discloses the secrets and proven methods that put fish on the beach. Get a lot of hands-on help so that you too can be productive.
Arrive back at The Fly Fishing Shop at 6:00pm.

First come, first served.
Deposits are payments in full.
Deposits are non-refundable unless water/weather conditions prohibit class. 

SEE CLASS POLICY

There will be winter steelhead available for you...

WST-CLASS-013009 Winter Steelhead Finishing School
January 30, Clackamas River, 2-students per boat, 6-students maximum
Sold Out!

WST-CLASS-013109 Winter Steelhead Finishing School
January 31, Clackamas River, 2-students per boat, 6-students maximum
Sold Out!


Deer Creek Spey Test Report
Last Monday I played extensively with a 13' 7/8 Dear Creek spey rod. It is a very fast European action type rod. For its price, it is exceptionally crisp, kind of like a downsized version of a Sage 8129-4 ZAXIS.  It rocks with both a 480-grain or a 510-grain Skagit Compact and 150-grain Rio sink tip. I liked the 510 better. This outfit threw 4" flies as far as I could control the shooting line...easy...wham bam. There are a number of distinguishing features to the Deer creek Series of rods. After inspecting the flawless deep maroon finish, tasteful appointments and banded cork work, you will no doubt realize that the handle is unusually small in diameter. At first it felt alien. It was only after experimenting and analyzing a variety of casting strokes, that became apparent that to drive this vehicle you need only finger tip control. This rod has an action that demands that the caster conserves energy.  If line speed is the measure of worth, this rod at $339.95 it is a bargain!
   

TF 7/8 130 4 DC

Length: 13'        Sections: 4       Line Weight in Grains: 450-700

A very fine rod for medium size flies and steelhead. Can be useful in winter as well as summer.
Comes with Cordura covered hard case & sock.
Skagit:
500/550 with tips to 200 grains
Rio Skagit 500/550, Airflo Skagit 7/8
Short Belly Spey with tips:
Airflo Delta Spey 7/8
Mid Length Spey with tips:
Airflo 7/8 Delta Long , Rio Power Spey 7/8, CND GP 7/8 or 8/9 for deep loading
Scandi:
450 to 500 grains <> Head length 32 to 34 feet

Rod Weight: 8.7 ounces

Item Series Line Wt. Action Handle Price To Top
TF 7/8 130 4 DC Deer Creek 7/8 Med Deer Creek $339.95


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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty