Stillwater go-to’s part 3

Stillwater go-to’s part 3

Viking Lars | Saturday, 30 October 2021

Part 2 of my still water go-to flies was about the Gammarus, because it’s literally everywhere. Something that’s literally everywhere is of course small fish. If there are trout, there are also small trout, stand to reason, and trout do eat small trout. Another bait fish is stickleback and they are also very common together with a few other species of small, silvery fish (of which I don’t know the English name).

So a general bait fish imitation is important to have. Bait fish imitations have evolved immensely over the last few decades and I really enjoy tying the more complicated ones, but I though I’d stick with this simple one for this series. It’s really quite an excellent fly and I’ve loads of fish on it, mostly browns, but rainbows will also take the smaller ones.

It’s a pattern of my own, as far as you can call a general tying style like a zonker “your own”. So let’s just stick to the colour combination as my own. I call it the W/B-Zonker (White/Beige - ingenious name, eh?).

Mobility is the key word. Unfortunately it’s not easily seen in the picture, but the zonker strip is from a Norwegian company called Bonehead, sadly now closed. They had excellent quality skins, but more importantly, they were able to consistently cut very narrow strip and the one used in this is is just a millimeter with. This ensure excellent mobility and a translucency that most zonkers don’t have. Coupled with the spun hackle of white rabbit, it shimmers and vibrates even when held static.

I tie them unweighted and with a bead and rarely larger than a #6 hook, the largest being about 2 inches long, but you can easily go bigger. The very narrow strip has another important advantage. The hide on a rabbit strip is often quite thick and soaks up water, so zonkers are often quite heavy to cast. This one isnt - the hide is tanned very well and is very thin and the narrow strip makes this fly easy to cast, even on a 4-wt rod.

Unweighted over the shallows on a floating line or weighted on a fast sinker for the big leviathans of the deep, this truly is a go-to fly. I might even be the one I would never be without on still water for browns and rainbows.

A tail of a few strands of pearl flash, white dubbing body, a zonker strip with a flash fibre on each side and a spun rabbit hackle - that’s all. Simple, relative fast to tie and very durable. Durable enough that the one in the PoD is actually showing a bit of rust through the hackle. I may just cut it up in the interest of seeing how rusted the hook really is. I also made a video on how to tie it, which you can find here.

Have a great weekend,


Next weekend #4 (there are no #4s, so I’ll have to think of a solution - or maybe the mystery writer, let’s see which comes first).