Rabbit Fur (Strips and Crosscut Pieces) How To Use

This is info to provide you the basics on how to use a valuable fly tying material for streamers. The flies tied with Rabbit Fur are used for many species of fish, so learn how to use rabbit. With new varigated or barred fur on the market, even more interesting patterns are emerging. For purposes of imparting the info about rabbit, I will highlight two different posts that demonstrated the material in the tying of the Lithuanian Bat.  

First, what is meant by strips and crosscut pieces? From Fly Anglers On Line: “There is one requirement in tying this fly, the rabbit strips used to construct it must be of the types specified. This fly utilizes both “Zonker” (straight cut strip), and “Crosscut” rabbit strips. For those of you who have not worked with rabbit strips before we will explain the difference between the two. Picture a rabbit, heading to your right, running very fast. The hairs on his back are all swept back in the wind. This also coincidentally is the way the hair grows, the grain if you will.  Now a “Zonker Strip” is cut from the rabbit from front to back, or your right to your left as you watch the rabbit run. A “crosscut Strip” is cut from side to side. This is important, which you will see as we construct the fly.”

Barred Affect in Rabbit Strips
Barred Affect in Rabbit Strips

 A good tutorial on how to tie the Lithuanian Bat and use the rabbit materials (straight cut and crosscut) is provided by Fly Fish Ohio.  The straight cut strips are for tails or Zonker bodies and the Crosscut strips are wrapped around the shank. By virtue of how the rabbit is cut (as stated above) the fur either is swept back (straight cut) or leans to the side (crosscut). Check out the tutorial at the FFO link.

Lithuanian Bat
Lithuanian Bat

 Always A Heretic (and part  of the fun of tying): This tyer (Wills Mullis) at Hatches Magazine  suggests only using the straight strips (forgoing the crosscut) for the tail and the wrapped body. Check out Mullis’ version of the Bunny Leech.   

Bunny Leech by Wills Mullis
Bunny Leech by Wills Mullis

 This baitfish pattern (below) is a production tie that Tony got at his shop (NWFFO). The point of showing it is the rabbit fur top is a straight cut (very narrow slice). It is tied in at the rear once the mylar body is formed. Then an application of adhesive is usually put down across the top of the body, the rabbit strip is pulled down onto the adhesive and then the strip is tied off at the front of the hook at the eye. Some would call this Zonker style. There are a couple of ways to afix the rabbit strip onto the shank, with progressive  wraps up through the parted hairs to secure the strip to the top of the shank. Or, fore and aft, or is it aft and fore?  


Baitfish Imitation w/ Zonker Style Rabbit Strip

Tie In Point. At Rear of Shank for Rabbit Strip

Tie In Point. At Rear of Shank for Rabbit Strip



Tied Down at Head. Nice Finished Head

Tied Down at Head. Nice Finished Head

What is particularly nice about this pattern is the mylar tube body, hackle and rabbit fur strip have all been tied down at the eye, yet the tyer as a very small and neat head without the bulk and often encountered. Some good adhesive helps secure the materials with less thread wraps. Also, try to move toward strong, thinner threads such as 8/0 or smaller. Tying larger patterns with 3/0 or 6/0 usually results in clunky-chunky flies. There are newer, stronger threads out there…find them and use them.  

2 Responses to “Rabbit Fur (Strips and Crosscut Pieces) How To Use”

  1. January 23, 2010 at 02:12

    It’s really nice product fur rabbit.


    • 2 SwittersB
      January 23, 2010 at 09:07

      All things raising rabbits in Jakarta….use Google Translate and Indonesian to review anything here related to raising rabbits/kelinci.


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