A shadow cruised just under the turquoise surface.  Could it be? The shape suggested a small Mangar.  It accelerated towards the small white zonker that landed ahead of it…  This trip to Iran showed the effectiveness of a simple white zonker over pearl body. Even carp ate it. Since then, this version of zonker has become a firm favourite and accounted for perch, pike, trout and various barbus.  Another excellent colour combination is dark olive over gold.


I first saw the method of doubling over the zonker strip to create a tail on a Danish sea trout pattern.  Superglue secures it well.  I prefer the additional security of thread and the flexibility to add hot spots or embellishments like jungle cock feathers.


There is nothing more frustrating than a zonker tail wrapping around the bend of the hook every few casts.  Wrapping can be countered in various ways, such as adding stiff materials underneath the tail,  supergluing the zonker strip near base of the hook to stiffen it,  tying monofilament along the zonker tail, or anchoring a piece of mono through the zonker strip.  My preferred method is to tie in a small fluorocarbon (0.4-0.6mm) loop. Secure this  to the sides of the hook so it does not interfere with the bucktail or push it down.  The zonker can move freely and it is rare that the tail wraps.


After securing the bucktail and loop, tie in the zonker strip with a few wraps.  I prefer a slightly longer tail 1.5 – 2x the shank length.

Mylar tubing, brushes and stacking are often used for zonker bodies. I have a quick and lazy method using fine flash such as angel hair, or ice dub.  This body is a mix of Sybai pearl angel hair (90%), Hareline silver ice dub (8%) and a few strands of gold hairline icedub.

Mix it in the palm of your hand, create a dubbing noodle and dub a thick body.   These fibres tease out very well and and metal toothbrush is superb for this.   I try level out the top of the body by brushing and teasing these fibers downwards.  This creates a level profile for the zonker strip, rather than a rugby ball shape.  Once you have brushed out the dubbing, tie down the zonker strip and secure with superglue.


To finish off the head, dub a blob of ice dubbing (different to ice dub) and also tease this out with the metal toothbrush. Polar fibre (see feature image) or other soft synthetics are also great for finishing off the head. Beads and eyes are optional.


To improve the overall profile of the fly, trim the rabbit zonker. Wetting the fibres helps hair management.   Trim the body if needed. It is usually pretty wild to start.  You can always tease out more if needed.



  1. Hook:  Gamakatus F314 (EU),  B10S (Rest of World) #4
  2. Bead: Optional. Tungsten 3mm pictured
  3. Zonker:  Rabbit Barred Zonker.  Yellow and Tan markers for highlights
  4. Body Materials:  Sybai Angel Hair and Hareline Ice dub
  5. Head dubbing:  Ice dubbing (brand unknown)
  6. Tail Loop:  0.45 mm Seaguar fluorocarbon

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