By Gerald Penkler
“My flies are all way too big!” After two hard days working the turquoise waters, we had concluded that perhaps the King Barbus and Shirbot were in the mood for smaller flies. Throughout the day we saw clouds of small pale baitfish being harassed with everything apparently tucking into the spring bounty.
That evening the fly tying vice came out, and although I did not have any grey or white rabbit zonker, a local fly tying shop had instead given me some white opossum zonker strips to try. Possum fur looks very fishy, being sparser and much longer than rabbit fur. The fibres also have a stunning lustre and sheen to them.
And so the Possum Strip Minnow was born. Super simple, by no means novel, but my goodness – effective. This single fly in size 6 -8 caught every species we saw, including mangar, shirbot, chisel mouth, carp, some spotted barbus species and chub. The big surprises were the carp and chisel mouth species that gobbled them up with gusto.
The long fibres look great in the water, although there is a downside as they occasionally wrap around the hook bend. I am sure there is a way to avoid this, although we did not crack it. If you know of a way – please post it in the comments section below:
Step 1: Tie in a few bucktail fibres at the base to form a guard on a hook dressed with a 3-4 mm black tungsten bead. The bucktail helps prevent the possum strip from wrapping around the hook bend. Hook size 2 – 6 Gamakatsu B10S or equivalent.
Step 2: Build up the minnow shape. Rather than use expensive dubbing to form the entire bulk, I use cheap wool, or in this case some synthetic fibre to create the base shape. Leave some space just behind the bead for later.
Step 3: Secure the possum strip with a few tight wraps and a dab or two of superglue. I love the few long stray strands that are scattered throughout the possum fur.
Step 4: Dub the body and tease out some fibres for added movement. A pearl ice dubbing matched the little fry exceptionally well.
Step 5: Coat the underside of the possum strip with superglue and then tie it off behind the bead. To finish it, dub lightly behind the bead. I find that you can superglue a thin dubbing noodle in place.