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Thread: PERFECT ZONKER - Fly of the Week - February 7, 2011

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Bothell, WA, USA
    Blog Entries

    Default PERFECT ZONKER - Fly of the Week - February 7, 2011


    The Zonker was originally designed by Dan Byford of the Unite States. It is a cousin of the matuka, which is a fly from New Zealand. They are both streamers, and what distinguishes them from other streamers is that the wing of the fly is tied in at the eye and also tied in along the hook shank, or at least at the hook bend.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    White Bear Lake MN

    Default New writer

    This is Greg Herring's first "Fly Of The Week" article for FAOL, and what a wonderful article it is. Greg gave credit, where credit is due, to the originator of the "Zonker, Dan Byford. Greg did not really show how to dress a specific "Zonker" pattern, instead he has shown how to dress all "Zonker patterns. His instruction also can be used for th "Matuka" fly patterns that he mentioned in his article

    It was mention in the beginning of the this article that the "Zonker" is related to the "Matuka", the main difference between the two fly patterns is; "Zonker" uses Rabbit strips (straight cut), while the "Matuka" uses hackle for the pattern.

    The "Matuka" got its name from the bird that hackle was originally taken from for the "Matuka" fly pattern, I do not know where the "Zonker" name came about, other than Dan Byford brain was zonked for a better name.....after dressing the pattern for the first time.

    I was interesting to read in the article about even with the use of a salmon hook, the pattern is still considered by the writer as a "Streamer" fly pattern. Many would argue otherwise, but I agree with Greg Herring on this topic. I too dress "Streamer" patterns on "Salmon hooks". And I use these "Salmon" hook for dressing "Streamer" patterns for Bass (Largemouth and Smallmouth). Salmon hook are strong, and how the eye construct is designed the eye will not open with a big fish on the hook as the tag end of the eye is over wrapped with thread along the hook's shank.

    Looking forward to more "FOTW" articles from the newest writer to the fold. ~Parnelli
    "Everyone you meet in life, give you happiness! Some by their arrival, others by their departure!" ~Parnelli

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Auckland, New Zealand



    For the historians out there, Rabbit flies (as a Rabbit matuku is called here in New Zealand) have been tied and fished here for about as long as the feather winged matukas! I believe Dan introduced them, and popularised them, in the US but I don't think the credit for their original design can be given to him. As I understand it, it's not known who tied the first one, but once matuku feathers were outlawed for flies (to protect the bird which was going extinct due to demand for the feathers) all sorts of variations were tried to find a good substitute - strips of rabbit pelt being one of them. People also use ferrel cat skin, or australian possum strips, etc as well.

    Now, after being picky about that point, the step-by-step as shown is very well done and it's a great looking fly. Thanks!

    - Jeff
    Am fear a chailleas a chanain caillidh e a shaoghal. -

    He who loses his language loses his world.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Denver, Co.


    Just a little history that I know about. I was present and accounted for at the West Denver Fly Show in the mid '70's when Dan debut the fly. I'm gonna guess this is the first time anyone had seen it other than his buddies.

    My Bud came over to me and said "Come here, I want you to see something". We were front row at Dan Byfords tying table. Dan was kinda a bashful guy and had a partner who was doing most of the talking. He say's, "OK Dan why don't you show 'em that new fly". Dan started grabbin' stuff and wrap..wrap.. clip clip he was done. I looked at my bud and said "Whew.... he's quick". Dan Byford was quicker than a speeding locomotive on the vise, that's what was impressing the folks watching him tie.

    Our little group was already using the "Rabbit Matuka" at the time and did'nt think of his new adaption as an invention, but Dan didn't go through the extra steps lashing down the wing material used when tying the Matuka. He also managed a mylar body that had a belly. I think the fly appealed to the guys who liked to tie 'em quick and easy.

    New Zealanders can not exactly toot their horn over invention of this style either. There are fly patterns described in history that will go back to native American fisherman fishing skin strips millennium ago. I will give them the fly tied with the Australasian Bittern bird feather because the bird was indigenous to the islands, and thus called a Matuka.

    So how does a fishing fly gain so much notoriety, The local outdoor writers are responsible. One article in the Denver Post or the Rocky mountain news will send a herd to the fly shops. Especially if some nationally know fly fisherman is mentioned in the story. Like "Lefty". And that's the way it is.

    Winning a one fly competition on the Snake will also catapult a flies reputation as Scott Sanchez's "Double Bunny" was able to capture the attention for it's performance at Jackson Hole's contest. The "Zonker" is now world wide terminology and is at least accepted as a style of tying by everyone.

    And Greg, excellent tying instructions on proportioning the materials relative to the length of the hook eye. I think we can all benefit from that instruction.
    "As far down the river as he could see, the trout were rising, making circles on the surface of the water, as though it were starting to rain."- E.H., The Big Two Hearted River

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Liddle ole place called Texas


    I like it cuz when it gets wet it will look alot like a minnow...Thanks for posting< I will add it to my aresonal.

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