TYING A MACKEREL ZONKER
Dan Blayford invented the Zonker-style flies during the 1970s. The soft rabbit fur added a lot of movement to the flies tied this way, and because of its ability to catch fish, it soon became popular. The fly can be tied in several sizes and colors, imitating any baitfish. Now we are going to tie the Mackerel Zonker.
Materials for Mackerel Zonker
|Zonker:||Zonker Strip||Blue/Black Over White|
|Eyes:||Fish Skull||Living Eyes 4 mm Fire|
|Head:||UV Resin||Medium Clear|
Video Instructions on How to Tie a Mackerel ZonkerVideo coming soon.
Slideshow on How To Tie a Mackerel Zonker
Step 1 – Tie In the Mylar Tube and Zonker Strip
Zonkers are easy to tie but can be tricky if you have not done it before. The first step to tying this Zonker is to tie in your tying thread close to the hook’s bend and build up a small thread base. Prepare a piece of Mylar Tube by snipping off the loose ends and removing the cotton thread from the tubes inside. Take a piece of tube that is slightly longer than the hook shank. Slide the Mylar Tube over the hook, but be careful so it will not unravel. Tie in the Mylar Tube at the thread base close to the hook’s bend.
Prepare the Zonker strip. You do this by taping the part that will be the tail of the fly. Snip off a small piece on each side of the Zonker strip’s end to create a pointed end. Moisten the rabbit fur and put a needle straight through the rabbit fur. Slide the needle against the fur to get a clean tie-in point. You can also remove some of the skin from the underside of the strip before you tie it in, to get an even cleaner tie-in. Make a few wraps to tie in the Zonker strip to the hook. Make a few half-hitches and add some varnish to secure the thread before snipping it off.
Step 2 – Tie Off the Mylar Tube and Zonker Strip
You can stretch the Mylar Tube before you tie in your tying thread if you want a slimmer body. Tie in your tying thread on top of the Mylar Tube. You want to leave a good space to tie down the Zonker strip and make the fly’s head. Once you have tied in the Mylar Tube, snip off the excess and secure it with a few thread wraps onto the bare hook shank close to the eye.
Fold the Zonker strip over the fly’s body and tie it down. Again, you can remove some of the skin from the underside of the Zonker strip to get a cleaner tie-in. Build up the head, secure with a whip finish or a few half-hitches and some varnish.
Step 3 – Attach Eyes and Make the Head
You can add eyes to the fly as I have done on the Mackerel Zonker to get a more life-like baitfish imitation. Put one eye to each side of the head. Build up the head with UV Resin and set it with the UV torch. To secure the eyes and prevent them from falling off the fly, ensure that the UV resin is overlapping the eyes.
How to Fish the Mackerel Zonker
Even if the Mackerel is a saltwater fish, you can use this fly in any water with predators. In still water, try stripping it at different speeds. Take smaller brakes to let the fly sink before you start stripping again. In rivers, you can cast it upstream or across and strip it, or present it across the river downstream and let the water flow do its job to swing the fly over to your side of the river.