Published Sep 30. 2007 - 13 years ago
Updated or edited Aug 8. 2015

Zonker feast, served upstream.


I was first aquinted with this odd kind of fly, in the 1980 Jul/Sept issue of fly Fisherman, when Gary Borger’s Strip Leech was the first Zonker alike pattern I ever tied.

In the years to come I carried it around in my fly box, but I never used it. I simply
could not imagine a trout eating something as digusting as a leach!(as a kid I believed in many things, like exact-imitation theories). Casting a Conehead Zonker to a brown or a sea run, might be mainstream to most fly fishermen of today, but not to me, until I saw The Trout Bum diaries for the 5'th time ;), so in an attempt to be a cool and succesfull fly fisherman again, I felt I needed some beasty black coneheaded Zonkers.

After a heawy rainfall the day before yesterday, the river ran fast an colored through the fields, the conditions was met for trying my Zonker on sea runs. The river had been visited quite often lately, so I thougt that I might try the hot spots fished uptream instead of down.

Unfortunatly the sea runs was not cooperative that day, but I took two nice brown trouts, one being 46 cm(one kilo maybe), not a trophy, but nice to meet
after all (the browns seems to disappear? when the sea runs appears in larger numbers).

The technique I used to fish the Zonker is more or less the same as the one used for heawy nymphing, and that day the brown trout was very more responsive to this way of fishing a big fly, mutch more than to anything else I have tried lately down "my" local river. So this way of fishing the Conehead Zonkers obviously works very well, with the biggest pro,,being approaching the spooky trouts from behind, and the biggest con, being that the fish is differcult to hook(I guess due to the size of the fly, the trout can't just suck it in, like with a smaller fly?).

I would be happy to hear if anyone has experiences from anywhere, with Zonkers(or other big lures), fishes upstream in deep unclear water, especially for sea run browns.

If anyone should feel inspired to use my Conehead Zonker, you can find the pattern below.



I like the "hot head" on the...

I like the "hot head" on the fly, it adds that extra touch for murky waters.

since I'm a part of the new school, if that's an ok expression i fish the zonker type of flies quite much. Main method in moving water is to fish upstreams and then fish the fly home a tiny bit faster than the current. Work's a treat.

Do you fish it static upstreams or more like in front of your feet style?

Morten2's picture



Mostly I fish it classic upsteam, and sometimes close with just the leader touching the water. I allso strip it in like you described, but the two Browns took the Zonker in a dead drift, just like in nymph fishing.

The river I fish in is quite small, and slow running compared to "swedish standards" Its my way getting down in the holes where the Sea runs are hiding during the daytime, especially when the river runs high. Also it is convenient using a fly that fishes equally god, no matter if fished up, down and accross or downstream. Have you used upstream Zonkers on Sea runs(Havsörring)


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