Squirrel Zonker

Published Aug 6th 2012

A simple and small zonker.



This is an update to one of the first patterns ever featured on one of the forefathers of the Global FlyFisher - Fishing Denmark. The old article about this fly is more than 16 years old at the present time, and has been out there with its scanned B/W fly picture since then.

Now I have retied the fly in connection with an upcoming article series on zonkers and zonker strips, and done a step-by-step series of photos. I've tied the fly many times during the many years that have passed, but just never photographed it.

The fly is an excellent, small and generic baitfish imitation, which has caught numerous seatrout in its time, and is bound to be able to work on brownies, stripers, bass, snook and many other predatory fish. I fish it on a floating line and simply retrieve it in small jerks to make it act like a swimming fish. I tie small flies like this onto my tippet using a loop knot, allowing them to move more freely.

Squirrel Zonker
TypeWet fly
Martin Joergensen
Year of origin
Target species
Sea trout (sea run)

HookKamasan B175 size 6
ThreadBlack 8/0
RibFine oval tinsel
BodyMedium silver tinsel
WingZonker strip, natural squirrel, tanned
HackleHair hackle, same as wing
HeadTying thread

Step 1 - thread - Start the thread in the front of the hook shank leaving some space for a hair hackle
Step 1 - thread
Step 2 - rib - Tie in the ribbing in the front of the hook shank
Step 2 - rib
Step 3 - to the rear - Cover the rib with a smooth layer of thread all the way to the hook bend
Step 3 - to the rear
Step 4 - to the front - Take the thread back to the tie-in spot in even, touching turns, making a smooth foundation for the tinsel body
Step 4 - to the front
Step 5 - tinsel - Tie in the tinsel
Step 5 - tinsel
Step 6 - first layer - Wind the tinsel to the rear of the hook shank in touching turns
Step 6 - first layer
Step 7 - body done - Wind the tinsel back to the front, creating a smooth tinsel body
Step 7 - body done
Step 8 - trim tinsel - Tie down the tinsel and trim the remains
Step 8 - trim tinsel
Step 9 - zonker strip - Tie in the zonker strip right over the front of the tinsel body
Step 9 - zonker strip
Step 10 - rib - Start ribbing by pulling up the rib on the back of the fly and taking one perpendicular turn through the zonker strip
Step 10 - rib
Step 11 - ribbing - Continue ribbing in 4-5 turns of rib, being careful not to squash down the fur
Step 11 - ribbing
Step 12 - rib done - Tie down the rib on the underside of the body
Step 12 - rib done
Step 13 - trim rib - Cut off the surplus ribbing. Keep the number of thread turns on top of the skin at a minimum
Step 13 - trim rib
Step 14 - dubbing loop - Create a dubbing loop from tying thread and insert a dubbing spinner
Step 14 - dubbing loop
Step 15 - hackle strip - Insert a small piece of zonker strip with the skin still attached into the loop
Step 15 - hackle strip
Step 16 - spin hackle - Cut off the skin strip and spin the dubbing twister to form a hair hackle
Step 16 - spin hackle
Step 17 - wind hackle - Wind the hair hackle 2-3 times over the front of the fly, tie down and trim off surplus thread loop
Step 17 - wind hackle
Step 18 - trim zonker strip - Cut the strip off to a suitable length. Leaving the skin at two times shank length usually results in a nice fly.
Step 18 - trim zonker strip


Sea run brown trout

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