Library Step by Step Zonker Variation

Zonker Variation

The Zonker Variation is a particular streamer that was created by Dan Byford from Steamboat Springs in the 80s. It has resisted time with only some slight modifications in its original style and design. We have used it for catching various kinds of fish, from colossal tarpons to sophisticated trout, View more...
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Zonker Variation
List of materials
Tying MaterialsHook: straight-eye Daiichi 1750, from 14 to 2, (straight-eye Mustad 9674 in the original Zonker).Thread: 6/0, black for the head. 3/0, red Monocord for the back.Underbody: Zonker Tape, Lead Tape or adhesive aluminum tape.Body: silver Mylar tube, or golden or pearled (silver or golden on the original Zonker).Collar: mallard duck feather (grizzly rooster on the original Zonker).Wing: fine rabbit strap (grey on the original Zonker).Cheeks: Jungle Cock, optional. View more...

Step 1

To shape the under body we will use an adhesive lead sheet, known as Zonker Tape. Cut a section as wide as the hook shank and leave space for the hackle, the tail and the head.

Fly tying - Zonker Variation - Step 1

Step 2

Carefully let go the paper of the adhesive tape and turn it over the hook shank, cutting it as seen on the picture.

Fly tying - Zonker Variation - Step 2

Step 3

Once we have made the first cut, round up the lower part to resemble the shape of a minnow. Be careful not to cover the hook gap.

Fly tying - Zonker Variation - Step 3

Step 4

Cut a section of Mylar tube long enough to cover the lead body and also to tie at each end.

Fly tying - Zonker Variation - Step 4

Step 5

With the black thread, tie the front section making sure the Mylar tube is closed evenly. There is a little trick to do this: first, tie the thread on your index finger so it does not slip away. Then, place the thread on the Mylar tube where we will tie it, and make a loose turn so our index finger remains close to our chest and the bobbin on the opposite side. Then, pull in opposite directions with our finger and the bobbin, so that the thread makes an even circle and starts closing, avoiding a View more...

Fly tying - Zonker Variation - Step 5

Step 6

Closing the front section and cutting the thread, change the thread and use the red one to tie the tail section as we did before, but let some tube overhanging to make a tail. Tie and trim. It’s time to cover the body with epoxy and let it dry.

Fly tying - Zonker Variation - Step 6

Step 7

Tie a duck or partridge (or similar) feather by its tip, combing the barbells towards the tail of the fly.

Fly tying - Zonker Variation - Step 7

Step 8

Keeping the barbells towards the back, wrap the feather to make the collar of the fly.

Fly tying - Zonker Variation - Step 8

Step 9

Pick a nicely barred rabbit strap, as fine as possible so it does not lose transparency in the water, and tie it firmly right before the collar, but without touching it so it does not ruin it.

Fly tying - Zonker Variation - Step 9

Step 10

You can add some Jungle Cock or similar feathers at the sides. It makes the Zonker more elegant and also more effective. Finish a neat conic head.

Fly tying - Zonker Variation - Step 10

Step 11

Finished fly. Ready to have the rabbit strap tied at the back.

Fly tying - Zonker Variation - Step 11

Step 12

Carefully lift the rabbit strap and re-connect the red thread. Wet the strap, open it up with a needle and tie the red thread until you make sure that it will stay firm. Tie and then cut the thread. Carefully comb the rabbit strap towards the tail.

Fly tying - Zonker Variation - Step 12

Step 13

Finished fly.

Fly tying - Zonker Variation - Step 13


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Marcelo Morales

Marcelo MoralesSilver Profile

Guide, Fly Tying instructor, Casting instructor - Argentina