This fly pattern has proven to work on both the Orange and Vaal River, for both Large and Smallmouth Yellowish. The natural materials work particularly well in cleaner water, and the fly incorporates triggers such as the orange hot spot below the yellow eyes, slight flash in the tail and the bars from the grizzly hackle which help to add contrast. The zonker tail and rabbit belly add incredible lifelike movement as the fly is swung through currents or stripped across deeper pools. The lead eyes help to sink the fly and counteract against the buoyancy of the deer belly hair. This pattern should work well for most fresh water predatory fish in SA.




Hook: Gamakatsu B10s #4 

Thread: Veevus GSP 100D black

Eyes: Hareline double pupil lead eyes size medium black and yellow

50lb mono filament 

Macro Zonker - olive with black bar

Macro Zonker - white or grey

White marabou

Gold flash

Olive dyed Jackal tail or olive streamer brush

Grizzly hackle

Deer belly hair: olive, white and range


1. Invert the hook and build a thick thread base. 


2. Tie in the lead eyes on top of the thread base, making sure to leave sufficient space before the hook eye for a weed guard to be attached at the end.


3. Turn the hook the right way up again. Take 45mm of mono filament to tie a loop off the back off the hook: 


4. Tie in one end of the filament on one side of the hook, then bend the filament to form loop and tie in the other end on the opposite side of the hook.


5. Take a clump of white marabou, stripped off the quill, and tie in on top of the mono loop.


6. Add 4 pieces of gold flash. I use one strand of flash cut in half, and then folded around the thread to form quarters. Make sure to extend slightly past the marabou.


7. Take a strip of olive Zonker, slightly longer than the length of the hook and tie in above and in front of the white marabou. You can double secure with a dab of super glue. Note the marabou til can be cut shorter when finishing the fly.


8. Take a pencil widths clump of Jackal tail fibres and tie in above and in front of the Zonker. You can substitute the jackal tail with brush fibre. If you do then cut the fibres off the wire and attach the clump in place of the jackal tail.


9. Invert the hook. Take a clump of white or grey Zonker cut off the skin, and tie in underneath the jackal tail/brush, with the tips pointing back towards the hook bend. Its ok if they tend past the hook bend. Just make sure to remove the extra fluffy guard hairs from the base of the fibres before tying in.


10. Turn hook right way up and tie in a thin tip piece of black and white grizzly hackle on each side of the hook, extending to the length of the flash.



11. Take a pencil clump of olive Zonker. Remove the guard hairs with a brush or with your fingers, and then use a hair stacker to evenly stack the hair. Once you’ve removed the hair from the stacker, grab the uneven end of the hairs and pull out the shorter hairs. You want to achieve even length hairs in the clump. Stack the deer hair on top of the hook. Make 2 loose loops around the hook and hair and then pull down tight to secure the hair. Make sure you hold the sides of the hair and hook while securing so that the hair does not spin around hook shank. 


12. Take another clump of deer hair and repeat the stacking process. Secure on top of the first clump of deer hair, making sure all the tips are facing towards the back of the hook and all the blunt ends are facing towards the front of the hook. 


13. Invert the hook and add a pencil width clump of orange deer hair, again making sure it’s stacked and does not spin. There is no need to use a hair stacker for this as the hairs will be cut and shaved very short. 


14. Turn hook right way up, push the olive deer hair back with your fingers and then start the stacking process again. Again, no need to use a hair stacker as these hairs will be cut shorter. Stack 3 clumps of deer hair on top of each other.


15. Invert the hook and tie in a clump of white deer belly hair behind the lead eyes.


16. Turn the hook the right way up, walk the thread through the olive deer hair, and make a few thread wraps behind the lead eyes around the hook shank to secure. Bring your thread over the top of the lead eyes to behind the hook eye and whip finish. Tip: If the hairs are in the way and u cant use your whip tool then you can wrap your thread twice over an empty pen tube and slide it off the tube and over the hook eye.


17. Now take the fly and steam it over a boiling kettle to loosen any trapped deer hairs and so that they splay evenly.


18. Next step is to cut, shape and shave to deer hair to form a tapered head. I prefer to start with the belly of the fly. Using a double sided blade (side 1 or 2) shave the hair on the belly flat. A flat belly helps to avoid over clumping which could compromise the space needed for the hook gape. Be careful to not cut the white/grey rabbit Zonker behind the orange hair. You can use a pair of scissors for more precision to cut the orange deer hair shorter so that you are not left with long strands pointing towards the hook bend.


19. Shaping steps. You can use the lead eyes to guide your blade and start slowly shaving the head evenly to form a symmetrical taper in the hair. Ideally you want to keep the longer pointy hairs from your first stack that point towards the back of the hook as these form part of the collar. 


20. Once you have finished giving your fly a haircut you can trim the zonker tail to the appropriate length and cut a triangular shape to the tip to give it a slight taper. 


21. The final fly before weed guard is added and hook is debarbed.

Return to News