Bass fishing in Australia has spurned the need for new patterns, however, several generic patterns previously used for the American largemouth bass have shown merit on our waters. One such pattern is the Bass Bunny.
The Bass Bunny gets its moniker from the fact it is predominately tied from Zonker, which are thin strips of rabbit fur. This pattern possesses a lot of action in the water, even with the most subtle twitch, and it has shown merit on all manner of Australian natives, including golden perch, cod, silver perch saratoga, sooty grunter and of course bass. As you will see, it is a fairly easy pattern to tie and is hardy enough to withstand the many strikes it will receive.
With the huge amount of anglers who fish our dams and impoundments, the traditional Bass Bunny has been altered somewhat to enable it to be fished productively in deeper waters. Extra large weighted eyes are used to override the natural floatation properties of the Zonker strip, allowing it to sink quite quickly.
With fish out on the flats often in over 10m of water in some waterways, this pattern will get down where required and can be kept in the strike zone for longer periods due to its great action with even the subtlest movement. When stripped it will dart upwards and will then swim downwards during the pause, which will get it back down into the strike zone quickly. Even when stationary on the bottom, the slightest twitch on the fly line will make the Zonker strip fibres dance enticingly and the Deep Bunny will often get sucked up off the bottom by a hungry bass or other species.
The Deep Bunny can be tied in slightly larger sizes, which makes it an ideal pattern for large cod in the gorge country and western rivers or for impoundment barramundi.
For river fishing, the weighted properties allow it to stay down in the strike zone. When fished in current the fly can be worked slowly as the flowing water will increase the activity of the fur fibres, making the Deep Bunny look very lifelike all the time. For Murray and Mary river cod, the tail can be kept fairly long. This will make the Deep Bunny appear to swim snake-like as it is stripped.
The deep Bunny has a minimum of materials in its construction, yet these can be altered in size, length and colouration to create different effects for different species and situations.
Zonker strips come in many different colours, hair lengths and types, which also opens up possibilities. Some Zonker strips, such as chinchilla and variegated, already have a multi-toned effect, however different coloured wing and belly sections of Zonker can create a two-toned effect as well.
High contrast and bright colouration are often desirable for cod flies to provide greater visibility in the water. Often, bright colours can also catalyse an aggressive predatory strike.
The weighting of the eyes can be altered to suit your specific situation and a weed guard could be added to make this pattern increasingly snag-free in heavy structure. Different colours, types and lengths of flash materials may also be used to create individuality.
If using this fly to target barramundi and cod then you would be advised to tie it on a heavy patterned hook such as a Gamakatsu SL12S or Mustad 34007.
(1) Place the hook in the vice and lay down a bed of thread to around 10mm behind the eye of the hook. Attach the weighted eye with a series of figure-of-eight wraps around 5-6mm behind the eye of the hook. Advance the thread along the hook shank and tie in 10-15 strands of Shimmerflash, roughly opposite the barb of the hook.
(2) Take the end of your copper wire, fold over about 5mm on the end, place this over the thread and then slide down to the tie in point. Secure this with a few wraps, again roughly opposite the hook barb, whip finish and add a little vinyl cement but do not remove the remaining thread.
Take the fly out of the vice. Cut a section of Zonker strip that is at least twice as long as the entire hook. When cutting natural skins, like Zonker, part the fibres and just cut the skin section and not the hair fibres, to maintain a natural appearance. Position the Zonker strip beside the hook and use a pen to mark the point on the skin where the hook point will penetrate it. This will be roughly half way along its length. Push the hook point through the skin and re-position the hook into the vice as shown.
(3) Cut another strip of Zonker that is at least two thirds the length of the first. Lay it along the back of the hook and part the fur at a point that coincides with where the thread is (roughly opposite the hook barb). Do a couple of wraps at this point before lifting the remaining Zonker strip to allow you to advance the thread along the hook shank to just behind the weighted eye. Again part the fur to allow you to tie down the skin without interfering with the fibres.
Position the Zonker strip over the middle of the eye, pass the thread under the eye and then secure the Zonker in the gap between the eye of the hook and the eye of the fly. You may need to trim a little of the excess Zonker away if it is too long. Whip finish but do not remove the remaining thread.
(4) Pull the lower section of Zonker strip taught and secure this in the same position between the eye of the fly and the eye of the hook as shown. Cut away any excess and then taper the nose section as shown. Whip finish but do not remove the remaining thread.
(5) Mix a small portion of epoxy. Using a tooth pick or bodkin, apply a small amount between the hook shank and Zonker skins. Do this carefully so as to avoid getting any on the fur. Start winding the copper wire forward, parting the hair fibres at each position so you are only securing the skin and are not impeding with the fibres natural stance. You will get to wrap the copper wire around 4-6 times by the time you reach the nose of the fly. Secure the end of the wire with a series of wraps, whip finish and trim the remaining thread. Add a little vinyl cement to the entire nose cone region.
(6) Take the Deep Bunny out of the vice, turn over and set down. It should look fairly streamlined as shown. If not, adjust the lengths of the Zonker strips until it is uniform. Your Deep Zonker is now ready to catch you some great Aussie natives.
|HOOK:||Mustad C52S BLN 1/0|
|THREAD:||Flat-waxed nylon black|
|EYE:||Real Eyes Plus – large nickel chartreuse|
|TAIL:||Shimmerflash – metallics fine 210 peacock|
|BACK:||Zonker Strips variegated olive|
|BELLY:||Zonker Strips variegated olive|
|RIBBING:||Copper wire – medium|
|ADHESIVE:||Devcon 5-minute epoxy|