The mercury is rising and my mind has been distracted with thoughts of toothy critters. This has to be one of my favorite times to fish, prespawn pike season, the ice has melted and the fish start moving into the shallows to find a spot to reproduce. At this time pike are hungry from the long winter chill and are looking to feed before the spawn, the closer it gets, the more aggressive they tend to be. This is a updated version of a zonker pattern I’ve been tying for the past 2 seasons and have had tremendous luck with, really simple and fun to tie. I’m not sure I can take full credit but I’ve never seen another pattern done exactly this way, because of the simplicity it wouldn’t surprised me if someone has tied this bug up before but until proven differently I don’t mind calling it my own.
Pike Zonker Recipe
- Hook: Umpqua U502 2/0 or Umpqua Tiemco 600SP 2/0
- Thread: Veevus G.S.P. 150D white (ideally) or 3/0 dark thread
- Tail: Flashabou and Magnum Rabbit Strips
- Body: Polar Chenille
- Hackles: Grizzly Bugger Pack Hackles
- Head: Bucktail, Dark for top, light for bottom
- Eyes: Hareline 3/8 in 3-D Big Fish Eyes or Clear Goo 8mm eyes
- Head: Loon UV Clear Fly Fishing Thick
- Special Tools: Loon UV Light, dark colored Sharpe if you’re using white thread
Step 1: Wrap your thread around the shank of the hook, wrap down to where the shank starts to bend and back to the eye a few times to build up a nice base ending at the back of the hook.
Step 2: Next grab the flashabou and measure out 3 hook shank lengths, tie it in tightly at this point. Fold the flashabou over the thread and make a few tight wraps around the fold. Cut the longer pieces of flashabou evenly.
Step 3: Tie in the UV polar chenille
Step 4: Take your rabbit strip, using the hook shank measure out 2 1/2 shank lengths worth of rabbit strip and split the fur, water or saliva tends to help keep the fur separated. Tie it in tightly at this point making sure the fur flows naturally towards the back. Once tied in pull the remainder of the rabbit strip back getting it out of the way for later. Now work the tread ¾ of the way up the shank of the hook.
Step 6: Pick out 4 hackles (2 for each side) from your bugger pack, from your thread measure two of them evenly to the tips of the flashabou down the side of the fly and tie them in at this point. Repeat this process for the other side of the fly. If the feathers move, just maneuver them into place once you’ve got a few wraps around them. Once secured cut the stems free.
Step 7: Now fold over the remaining rabbit strip over the chenille, split the fur and tie it in towards the back of the thread. Once tied in tightly cut of the remaining strip.
Step 8: Grab your light colored bucktail and snip off a pinch of hair, grab the tips of the fiber and flick or pull out the underhair from the clump. Separate the bucktail as evenly as possible between the bend of the hook and tie it in on the bottom of the fly firmly but not so tight the hair starts to flare too much.
Step 10: Next, color your thread with the sharpe unless you used dark thread, place your fish eyes in place and apply a small amount of UV finish around the eyes and thread. Hit it with the UV light for half a minute. Repeat this process until you’ve built up an epoxy head around the eyes securing them, once secured hit the epoxy with the light until hard.
Step 11: Once the epoxy is dryish I like to add a thin layer of head cement around it to get rid of the tackiness, try to avoid getting it on the eyes because the cement may create a hazy residue.
The example I tied for this tutorial is my perch imitation but I’ve tied them in a multitude of colors to imitate bass, carp, crappie and trout depending on where I’m fishing. Try it out, change up the colors and see what works best for the waters near you.
Stay tuned for more fly patterns from the Fishwest staff, if you have any questions or patterns you’d like to request feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org