Zonker streamers are known as "big fish catching flies". Dan Byford is
credited with coming up with the fly. Until Dan came up with the Zonker,
most streamers used feathers and bucktails for the wing fly tying material.
He used the rabbit strips (skin and hair). This gave the fly a natural
swimming movement because of the movement or action of the fur. It was
also much more durable than feathers and bucktail. His original fly used
metal foil wrapped over the hook to imitate the shinny belly of baitfish.
Later that was changed to mylar. Both our copper and pearl mylar bellies
look identical to many baitfish. The dark rabbit strips imitate the back of
most all of the baitfish very well. The weave on the mylar even imitates the
scales of the baitfish.
You don't want to attempt to fish the streamer towards a fish. This usually
spooks them because they are used to just the opposite. They are used to
seeing baitfish fleeing from them. You want the streamer to appear it is
fleeing from the fish. Baitfish are scared of any large fish and always flee
away as fast as they can. Try to do the same thing with your Zonker. When
you think the fly is in the area of a trout or other gamefish, strip the fly
away from the area fast. Make it appear scared and trying to get away. Of
course you don't always know where a fish is holding. In many cases you
have to make an assumption one is holding in a certain area and then strip
the fly away from the area fast. If it happens to pass by a large trout, it will
most likely be attacked. The biggest mistake you can make fishing a
Zonker is just to fish it dead drift. Put some action in it with your rod and
your stripping motions. The action should be made with short jerks in a
very erratic manner. Vary the timing between strips.
Copyright 2014 James Marsh
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Perfect Fly Natural and Pearl Zonker