Bunker Fly

A classic striper pattern tied by Steve Farrar.



  • Varivas hook 4/0
  • Slinky hair white-pink-lavendar-olive
  • Angel hair polar white-white-olive
  • Pink flashabou
  • Ultra fine mono thread
  • Plastic dip
  • Stick on eyes



This is a relatively simple pattern that’s quick to tie and provides a realistic imitation of a peanut bunker. It’s tied using six clumps of material all tied close to the eye of the hook alternating between the top and bottom of the shank. No material is attached to the side of the hook. I’m using a blend of Unique Hair and Angel Hair for this pattern (see “Flash Blending” on the last page of the Oct, 2001 High Flyer or on the ASWF web site). I’ve also used a short shank hook and made the short shank even shorter using a pair of round nose pliers to bend the hook. Here’s why. (see Step 0)


Step 0

0.1. In any wide body pattern, the hook acts as a keel so the fly tracts properly. The bending exaggerates the keel and ensures optimum tracking.

0.2. Bending the hook this way moves the hook point significantly closer to the eye without sacrificing the gap between the eye and the point. I believe this helps to minimize fouling. It also creates an exaggerated bend below the hook point, so when fishing this pattern it’s less likely to get caught on bottom structure (or in my case beach structure since my back cast tends to find a clam shell now and then).

0.3. This pattern requires less then ¼ inch of shank for tying, so I’ve put the rest of the shank to better use. Some say the bending weakens the hook but after bending with the round nose pliers, I’ve tested these hooks (eagle claw and varivas) with 20lb mono with both sharp jerks to simulate strip strike and by applying slow pressure till the mono breaks. Tests were done with a non-slip loop knot. No hook failures were observed.



All tying takes place in a ¼” space behind hook eye.

1. Blend hairs make light layers of polar angel hair & white slinky hair alternating approx. 3 times.


2. Place hook in vise, tie a batch of blended hair. ¼” behind hook eye make 3 wraps in center of material using the Ultra fine mono thread.


3. Fold the forward hair back with a hollow stacker (an empty ball point pen tube works well) & make 3 to 4 wraps with your thread. Split hairs around hook.


4. Repeat this step on top of the fly.


5. Place a little less hair on bottom (white blend) folding the forward facing hairs towards the back.


Steps 6 through 10 – Rotate the hook and attach the blend the same way for each step alternating between top and bottom of the shank. I use a light blend for the lower part of the fly and darker for the top. I also highlight the fly with a few strands of just angel hair such as yellow in the middle and pink on the throat. Whip finish and cut the thread.


6. Use polar white blend on top.


7. Add a touch of yellow blend on bottom.


8. Add a touch of lavendar blend on top.


9. Add a small amount of pink flashabou at throat.


10. Add some olive blend to top & complete head.


11. Remove the fly from the vise, comb and trim with long bladed scissors. Try to achieve a rounded belly. I prefer to leave my fly long and keep the trimming mostly to the belly. Then, after I’ve fished the fly for an outing, I’ll comb and trim top and belly, thus keeping the fly neat and symetric but slightly smaller. I’ll repeat this after the next outing and next, and next. Thus, I make full advantage of the material to imitate the larger peanut when the fly is first tied but in subsequent outings, the fly is smaller and smaller. I always have a range of bunker sizes from large(new) to small(older) which allows me to match the hatch in size and profile on any day the bass are feeding on peanuts.


12. Make black dots on sides. ( a popsicle stick with a hole drilled can be used as a template)


13. Add stick on eyes (green) high & to the front.


14. Inject clear plastic dip between eyes to secure eyes & head.