SBS – TUSCAN BUNNY FOR LARGEMOUTH YELLOWS
Originally created by Drew Chicone for Tarpon and Snoek, this fly has wound its way through many different fisheries with great success. So it’s no surprise that we were keen to put it to the test on our very rare and often hard-to-temp Largemouth Yellowfish (a relative of the Masheer) on the remote Orange River.
The idea behind the effectiveness of the Tuscan Bunny being the hydraulics the foam head creates which imparts a very unique movement to the zonker strip tail. Especially when swung through an even current, tail-out or tongue as we so often do when fishing for Largies.
The addition of a Hot Orange tungsten bead tied ‘belly scratcher’ style assists in counter weighting and keeling the fly, as well as a perfectly located trigger considering most largemouth approaches from below its prey.
Rowan Black ties these in a variety of colours including olive, black, tan and adds a 3,5-4mm tungsten bead (the belly scratcher) to add weight and act as a hot spot.
Here Rowan takes us through the process:
Hook: Gamakatsu SL12s Short Shank 2/0 – I tie from Size 1 – 2/0
Thread: 100D Veevus GSP
Tail: Zonker strip and 20lb mono
Belly scratcher: 20lb braid and 3,5mm tungsten bead fluoro orange
Collar: SF Brush 2’’ or Crafty brush 1,5’’
Head: Chicone’s fettuccine foam
Eye: 5mm Lead dumbbell
Tie on your dumbbell eye to the underside of the hook shank and secure with super glue, leave a small gap to the eye of the hook, enough to tie in a weed guard later.
Now take a 5cm piece of 20lb braid and tie to the underside of the hook shank. Tie in from the eyes to the bend of the hook and secure with superglue, we get back to this at the end of the tie.
Prep the zonker strip, I make them about 3’’ (you can trim down later)
Pierce a hole in the zonker strip about 2cm from where we going to tie it on. Take 20lb mono and push it through the hole in the zonker strip, this will be our anti-fouling guard.
You can add some marabou or craft fur for a hot spot at this stage if you’d like. Secure the zonker and mono with some tight wraps and add a drop of superglue.
Tie in the mono and then the zonker strip, then loop the mono and tie in the mono, this ‘vertical loop’ is my favourite ant-fouling guard for zonker strips.
Tie in the brush, I’ve used a 1,5’’ Crafty brush from Fishient, you can use the 2’’ SF brushes as well. This collar is used to create a smooth transition from the tail to the foam.
Turn 2-3 wraps with the brush stroking the fibres back with each turn.
Brush out the brush fibres and secure the wraps with super glue.
I pre-prep my foam strips, I take 5 strips cut them into 1-inch sections. This step is the same as tying in Deer hair.
I take 5 strips on the top of the shank try put them in a line, take 2 soft wraps and start positioning the foam. Take 4 strips and do the same on the bottom then gradually tighten down, you see the foam splays out. Tighten with few more wraps.
Now work the thread to the front of the foam while pulling the foam strips back with your non-tying hand, wrap about 10 wraps of thread in front of the foam to secure and push up the foam. Do this step again, now use 4 strips on the top and 4 strips on the bottom.
You should be just behind the dumbbell eyes now. Tie in one more layer on the top with 3 strips, this is basically above the dumbbell eye. Your thread needs to go behind the eyes when you splay the foam. Once that is done, bring the thread to the front just behind the eyes and tie off with 2-3 half hitches.
Now its time to trim, you need to be careful here. You want a cone shaped head, but the foam still needs to have an irregular shape.
The depressions and ridges of the foam will cause turbulence and create more movement to the zonker tail. Cut the foam strips at the bottom so that they will flatten out to open the gap of the hook on an eat.
This would normally be the fly, complete, but take it to the next level by adding the belly scratcher hot spot bead and a weed guard:
- Now that the fly is trimmed to shape, put it back in the vice and invert it.
- Take the 20lb braided line you tied in right at the beginning and add the tungsten 3,5mm bead by sliding it onto the braid.
- I use fluoro orange, chartreuse or just a black nickel bead if I’m going for a natural look.
- Pull the braid tight and forward to the eye of the hook and tie down with a few loose wraps, place the bead right at the base at the end of the bend of the hook, now tighten the braid and lock down with some tight wraps.
- Finally, insert the weed guard. I like the single weed guard made with 50lb hard mono.
- I squash the ends down with pliers, put a dab of super glue on the mono then tie in just behind the eye of the hook.
- Then cut the mono just past the point the hook and flatten to cover the point.
Fish it deep and slow….