Martin's Mundane Zonker Worm
Published Jan 19th 2012
An easy to tie clam worm imitation with very few materials
The clam worms or rag worms (Latin: Nereididae or formerly Nereidae) are stable food for our Scandinavian sea trout in the spring, and for many saltwater anglers the term "worm hatch" has a magical ring to it. When the polychaete worms swim freely to spawn, the fish usually go berserk, be it trout, stripers, tarpon or a number of other species. As one writer puts it: It's like yelling "free lunch" to a high school football team.
The worms usually live in or near the bottom, but during a short period, typically in the early spring and in connection with a certain moon phase, the worms will rise from the bottom and swim freely in the water.
The amount of food in the water makes fish as well as birds start feeding frantically. You see birds hovering over the water and diving for the worms, which can be found in the thousands. As anglers we see the worms in the water in large numbers, which is normally quite uncommon.
And the fish of course dive into this orgy with very little reluctance. So for these few days every year where the worms are prolific, we need a worm pattern.
I have seen lots of these patterns in my time, most of them large and complex like "The Real Borsteorm", the MOAL or a large number of more or less innovative, but always very complex patterns, spotted at fly tying shows or in fly shops.
Most of these are far too cumbersome to tie for my taste, and having them in the box for the once every second-or-third-year occasion that I need them, feels like a waste of flybox space and tying time.
For many saltwater anglers the term "worm hatch" has a magical ring to it
My personal best clam worm imitation has been a simple, long winged zonker. I tied a handful a couple of years ago using a black cone head, a plain black rabbit zonker strip and was tied on a heavy black hook.
That particular fly forms the base for this Mundane Clam Worm. I originally used the black Tiemco TMC 700 hook, but you can change the hook to the Mundane Fly Project's Kamasan B175 or any short shank saltwater hook, which is easier to find. The black or blue cone can be replaced by an easier accessible brass bead or cone. Dye it black or any color with a marker, or varnish it in the color you desire. The fur can be any zonker strip. Rabbit is very common and easy to find, but I just got hold of some really long haired Eumer zonker strips cut from Finn Racoon, and that only makes the worm longer and more mobile. The commonly available rabbit will do just fine.
Martin's Mundane Zonker Worm
|Type||Cold saltwater fly|
|Year of origin||2010|
|Hook||Kamasan B175 Size 6 (or a black Tiemco TMC 700)|
|Cone||Black or dark blue medium size (4 millimeters)|
|Wing||Black or dark blue zonker strip|
|Sides (optional)||Blue smooth flash|
- Make a small fountation for the cone by covering the hook shank right behind the hook eye with a bit of thread. Don't make it too thick or long. The cone must fit snugly over it.
- Cut the tying thread, dap a drop of super glue on the thread and slide the cone over it.
- Let dry.
- Tie in the zonker strip right behind the cone. Just in the front and not too tight.
- Add a drop of glue right in front of the strip and push the whole tie-in and the front fur part of the strip into the cone with your fingers or a set of fine pliers.
- Let dry.
This pattern is a part of The Mundane Fly Project, which aims to create really simple patterns with few common materials.
There will be more on the project as more patterns get published.
These are the articles in the Mundane series:
- Martin's Mundane Fly Project in Patterns. Published February 9th 2012
- Martin's Mundane Sand Eel in Patterns. Published February 9th 2012
- Martin's Mundane Shrimp in Patterns. Published April 7th 2012
- Martin's Mundane Crane Fly in Patterns. Published October 13th 2012
- Martin's Mundane Crazy Dane in Patterns. Published October 18th 2012
- One Mallard Shrimp in Patterns. Published June 1st 2013
- Martin's Mundane Sculpin in Patterns not scheduled for publishing yet.