Found a new material from Spirit River at The Northern Angler in Traverse City to play with on these cold Northern MI days and nights. It’s called Swamp Rat Zonker strips(SRZ). This material comes in Natural, Hot Pink, King Fisher Blue, Orange and Purple. I have been experimenting with the blue and orange for steelhead tubes. There is a sexy translucency to the fur that makes it shimmer in and out of the water.
When the weather breaks I will put in some more on the water R&D, but I fished these flies on the Big River with Jon Ray and Erik Rambo back when the weather co-operated in January and had 2 grabs on the swing, so the fish seem to like them too!
These flies are kind of a hybrid of old school streamer and “scandi style” tubes with few little twists. The first twist is that the SRZ has a hole punched into it and then is slid onto the tube so that it stands up nicely against the hackles as opposed to being lashed down flat on the tube. The other technique is that the front collar(s) are the SRZ spun in a dubbing loop with the skin cut away. It is then picked out with a needle. Speaking of the skin, it’s very thin and holds very little water making these flies very easy to cast. The wing also undulates, shimmies and shakes very freely.
This material is perfect for substituting in any fly that uses rabbit strips- Zuddlers, strip leaches etc.