There are a large numbers of bream entering our estuaries during the coming months, so having a few good bream flies in your box would be a wise decision. This month’s pattern is an oldie and a goody, but is tied with a few modern day alterations.
Bream will respond well to a broad array of flies most of the time. The Bream Bunny is one pattern that you want to possess for those times when the bream are being a little fussy, as it will solicit strikes from hesitant fish when many other flies fail to get a response.
On occasion, bream will eat almost anything that you put in front of them yet at other times they can be wary, finicky and cautious. The Bream Bunny possesses plenty of movement during stripping yet is also enticing when it’s slowly sinking.
The pattern gets its name from the rabbit fur strip or zonker which forms the back. Like most furs, this material possesses plenty of movement in the water and appears to pulse and waft during the retrieve, making the fly look very alive. I have previously tied this pattern in numerous colours including tan, olive, red, black, claret, pink and white. They all worked well at different times and as a basic guide I generally use darker colours in the canals, around bridges, pontoons and other structure and the brighter colours around the sand flats and shallow bay reefs. You may discover a particular colour combination that works a treat in your chosen waters.
In addition to bream, this fly has accounted for species including trevally, tarpon, flathead, bass, spangled perch, pike, whiting, cod and others. It could even be tied in slightly larger sizes for specifically targeting these species if you wished.
Generally the Bass Bunny is fished with a series or short, sharp strips with pauses between, however you may find that you need to try different combinations to solicit strikes on any given day.
Apart from the zonker strip used for the back, there are several other materials that you need for this pattern.
Initially the body was formed with standard 5-minute epoxy, which is time consuming as you had to keep moving the pattern by hand to stop the epoxy sagging to one side as it was curing. UV epoxy makes the task of tying this pattern a lot easier and quicker as it can be instantly set the second you shine a UV light on it.
We use a frame of monofilament to form the epoxy over but the Midge Sparkle Braid (a thinner form of diamond braid) adds some extra flash and colour to the pattern. This product is available in a huge array of different colours that adds to the degree of variation that can be applied to this pattern.
The tail on my pattern is simply a small amount of krystal flash, however substitute tail materials could include marabou, furs, polar fibre, rubber strips, or a host of other materials that add flash or movement.
I have used bead chain for the eyes. More heavily weighted eyes, such as dumbbell eyes, round-end eyes, I-Balz and real eyes, could also be used but you may find it more difficult to keep the sparkle braid rigid against them while epoxying.
As we are using epoxy to coat the eyes and body, I prefer to use a monofilament thread as it virtually becomes invisible when covered with the epoxy. Most O’shaughnessy pattern hooks will work for the Bream Bunny however you will find an increased hookup rate when using chemically sharpened hooks with micro-barbs, such as the Mustad C70S D.
(1) Place the hook securely in the vice and attach the thread with a jamb knot approximately halfway along the shank. Lay down a bed of thread for a few millimetres either side of this point and then attach the bead chain eye with a figure-of-eight wrap until it is secure.
(2) Wrap the thread back to the bend of the hook. Cut around 6-8 strands of krystal flash at differing lengths yet roughly as long as the hook shank and tie in at this point.
(3) Tie in the end of the midge sparkle braid at this same point and then whip finish but do not cut away the thread. Pass the midge sparkle braid across the centre of the bead chain eye and then wrap once around the hook shank a few millimetres in front of the eyes. Next pass it across the centre of the other eye and then back to the starting point. Hold the sparkle braid taut while you secure the end with your thread.
(4) (view from above) Whip finish once the sparkle braid is taut and securely in place and then cut away the remaining thread. Your framework for the epoxy should look similar to this.
(5) Fill in the between the sparkle braid framework with UV epoxy and then set instantly with your light. You may need to do this step in a couple stages and you will find the task easier if you take the hook out of the vice then hold the hook bend between your thumb and forefinger.
(6) Cut a thin strip of zonker strip that is roughly the same length as the hook shank, between 1-2mm wide. Cut the skin at the front into a point. The natural lie of the hair should be facing backwards, away from this point. Attach the thread just in front of the epoxy body and then secure the point of the zonker strip with a series of wraps before whip finishing and cutting away the remaining thread. Trim the zonker so that it is just long enough to reach the tie in point for the tail.
(7) Put a little UV epoxy on the underside of the zonker skin and then press it flat against the epoxy body, directly on top of the hook shank, before applying the UV light to set the epoxy. Your Bream Bunny is now ready to entice some of those big, hungry winter bream.
|HOOK:||Mustad C70S D #6|
|EYE:||Bead chain, medium gold|
|TAIL:||Krystal flash, UV Shrimp|
|BODY FRAME:||Sparkle Braid Midge, Fl.||pink|
|WING:||Zonker strip, pink|