Tying the Inverted Zonker – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Category_Vintage -

Tying the Inverted Zonker

Fly Recipe
Hook: Either 3x or 4x long are good. Just depends how long you want the belly to be.
Thread: 6/0 or 140 UTC
Underbody frame: Lead wire at least .030 or .035
Body: Mylar tubing
Overbody: Rabbit strip
Throat: Rabbit fur

Start by taking a length of lead wire (the thinker the better) and tie it in facing forward. Secure it with thread up to about ¼ of the shank length behind the eye. Take the thread to the back of the fly and pull the lead wire back on form it into the desired shape. Make sure you don’t make the belly too deep so that the mylar tubing won’t fit over it. Now secure the wire down at the back end of the fly.


Cut a length of mylar tubing about one and half times the length of the body. Carefully, so it doesn’t unravel, pull out the core of the tubing. Now carefully slide the tubing of the lead wire frame and secure down at the back. You want to tie off the thread here with a few good knots. Try to cinch the knot tight on the inside of the hook bend, so that you can pull the thread forward over the back of the belly, so that ultimately it will be out of sight. Now start the thread again at the front of the belly and secure the front of the mylar tubing down to form the belly. Also add some head cement to the knots at the back of the fly to make sure they don’t come undone.


Turn the fly in the vise, so that the belly’s pointing down. Poke the hook through the center of the leather side of the rabbit strip. Now remove the hook from the vise and slide the rabbit strip around the hook bend. Put the hook back in the vise, making sure not to catch any errant hairs from the rabbit strip. Pull the rabbit strip forward over the back of the fly. You don’t want to stretch the leather, but you want it to be snug. Try and judge where to tie down the rabbit strip and pull the hair in front of that spot forward, so you are tying down the leather of the strip and not the hair as well. You don’t want to cut the excess rabbit strip straight off, but rather forward and down so that it is easier to taper the head of the fly.


Now lastly cut some hair off of a piece of rabbit strip and tease out and long guard hairs, so you’re left with a tuft of soft under fur. Tie this in as a throat. Using to same color as I did here works, but try some with a red throat. The red imitates the flared gills for a scared baitfish and can trigger some very aggressive strikes. Tie the fly off. You can add painted eyes, but I usually don’t bother.