Zonker Black Ghost


Active Member
Nice fly. Your use of the mallard dyed woodduck and the bit of red in the throat are interesting variations of the original.

Unfortunately, the problem is the BLACK GHOST doesn't have any red in it, its tail is yellow hackle fibers tied short, and the hackle is yellow wound as a throat. I am aware that many will think I'm being nitpicky, but your changes to the original change the color scheme of the fly, so it is no longer a BLACK GHOST. And when we (myself included) call a fly by a classic name, that has a different color scheme than the classic fly, it is no longer that classic fly. To call it such, leads to confusion and miscommunication. We tyers have a responsibility to keep the color scheme the same if we call a fly by a classic, well-known, standard fly's name.

An analogy: Someone buys an old VW Beetle that was made in the early 1970's, takes the body off, and puts on a fiberglass body he custom built along the lines of a Ferrari, and then calls it a Ferrari. It is not a Ferrari, nor is it a VW Beetle. It is something different, but not either of them.

I've tied and fished a BLACK GHOST ZONKER since the late 1970's. I tie it with the yellow hackle fiber tail, black mylar tubing body, yellow hackle throat, and white bunny strip wing that is tied down at the rear of the body with black 210 denier flat waxed nylon. Sometimes I even add a short jungle cock side to it as per the original white hackle feather wing used.


Active Member
So true ! So true !

I sure do know what a original black ghost streamer is ... being from Maine.
I clearly remember my first trout fooled with it.
The marabou variation has fooled a lot of salmon for me over the years.
One day on the East Outlet of the Kennebec here on Moosehead Lake Maine ... I fooled salmon on every cast no shit until I lost that marabou BG... and then I fooled nothing the rest of the day.
It was surreal.
That one was tied with a red throat too.
Going back there this coming Fathers Day weekend .... for a week with my brother.

I will post picts of other Black Ghost variations later.
Fact is .... the variations fool fish better and quicker !

But yes my friend ... you are 100% correct about the pattern !

Reminds me that the Classic Rangeley Maine Streamers .... especially the Carrie Stevens patterns ...
.....as beautiful as they are .... really dont fool fish as well as the variations !

The posted fly here was tied by Tom Gagnon out of Montana ,,,, and damn he does a great job at the vise !