As many favorite fly patterns are, Major Bunker was the
result of a frustrating day of fishing. I was pursuing bluefish
and striped bass at the beach near my home. I found a large
school of bunker (menhaden) trapped by the larger primary fish in the
corner where a jetty met the beach. Although I had numerous
flies up to five inches in length, I had nothing that was as large
as the bait before me. That night I developed a pattern that had
features I believed would best imitate the large bunker on the beach.
Major Bunker has a long saddle hackle tail to provide wiggling
action and the impression of great size. Genetic saddle hackle
provides the greatest length. White or cream colored saddles
seemed most appropriate to match the natural in its rear end.
Gray bucktail was used to mimic the silvery sheen of the bunker
while forming the collars which prevent the saddles from fouling
in the hook. Trimming with pearl Flashabou accentuates the
desired sheen. Brown and black streamer hair, used in the production
pattern, is a good substitute for the bear hair with which I
originally tied the pattern.
These colors were chosen to match those of the natural bait.
Pearl braided mylar was used to cover the area between collars
which is wrapped with lead wire. Again, the pearl is used for its
iridescence. The large eyes were used to mimic the real thing.
The epoxy head was a desirable feature that I developed from
an earlier pattern, Reef Demon. This provides durability to the
head wrappings and maintains the fly's bulk as it is stripped
through the water.
Major Bunker was designed with two major design features.
The first idea was to utilize a double collar design to provide
anti-fouling characteristics as well as maximize the pattern's
body size. The second concept was that of density compensation.
The use of lead wire and the epoxy head offset the effects of
the buoyant bucktail both in the water and out. In the water
the fly sinks better, staying deeper where I observed the real
bunker on that frustrating day. While casting, the density
compensation ensures that the bulky fly will not constantly
lag the casting loop, but will build up sufficient momentum of
its own to properly roll over even in a stout wind. In essence,
the fly is more cooperative with the lead wire than without it.
These features produced a very successful bunker pattern that
I have throughly enjoyed fishing.
Hooks: Tiemco 811s size 4/0.
Tail: Long white/cream saddle hackle.
First Collar: Gray bucktail, pearl Flashabou, brown
streamer hair topping.
Underbody: Approx. 8 in. of .032 in. lead wire.
Body: Pearl braided mylar- wrapped.
Second Collar: Same as first.
Topping: Black streamer hair.
Head: 12 mm Doll Eyes set into 5-min. epoxy.