The other day I received an order from J. Stockard that included a zonked golden variant rabbit hide. Not that I needed any more zonker strips, but sometimes you just have to give in to the urge to add another color to your quiver. As I looked over the hide, I immediately knew I’d need to fashion up a few Sculpzillas with the new color.
Sculpzillas are one of my favorite streamers. They’re one of those patterns I wish that I had invented and hope that, if someone hadn’t already beaten me to the punch, one of my creative sessions at the vise would have arrived at the same result. They’re one of my confidence flies and have brought steelhead, rainbows, cutthroat, and dollies to the net.
As with many patterns, how I tie this pattern has evolved over time. The way I tie my Sculpzillas is a bit different than the standard pattern offered by Solitude Fly Company. I use a shorter rabbit strip, threaded with braid, allowing me to switch out stinger hooks (to change size or replace dull hooks). I’ve forgone the marabou altogether and rely on three layers of soft hackle for the collar. In the end, it’s a shorter pattern that still maintains the front-heavy sculpin profile. Stubby Sculpzilla.
Sculpzilla is one of those patterns that takes a while to tie if you’re only going to sit down and wrap up a single fly. As with many flies, the bulk of the time is wrapped up in material prep… putting cones on hooks, cutting and threading wrapping strips, sorting and prepping hackle. It’s a pattern I only tie in batches. If I get my act together and prep the materials beforehand, it’s pretty easy to sit down at my desk and crank out several.
Shank: Any old hook will do. I like a hook with a large enough eye to hold the cone in place without wraps at the front (one less step). I have a pile of O’Shaughnessy hooks I use for this purpose (Mustad 3406 or Eagle Claw 253).
Cone: 3/8″ brass cone with eyes, backed with a half dozen wraps of lead wire to hold in place.
Eyes: 3/16″ eyes to fit the cone. For this batch I used Hareline red/black oval eyes.
Thread: UTC 140 Ultra Thread
Tail/Wing: 1″ long rabbit zonker threaded with 30# braid (I’m currently using Cabela’s Ripcord Pro, but anything similar will do… Fireline, PowerPro, Ugly Braid). Use a needle to thread the braid through the rabbit strip prior to tying in.
Body: Ice dub, either silver minnow or olive depending on the color being tied. Tie in the braid, then dub the body up within 1/4″ of the cone and then tie in the front of the zonker strip.
Flash: Ice Dub Shimmer Fringe, black pearl, over the top. I don’t use a lot.
Collar 1: Red grizzly soft hackle.
Collar 2: Barred feather of your choice. Mallard, wood duck, gadwall, grouse, etc. For this batch I used ptarmigan feathers – they’re a beautiful barred brown of varying shades with soft webby fibers and a strong, supple stem.
Collar 3: Grizzly soft hackle, color to match the fly (natural, olive, or brown). Brown for this batch.
Stinger hook: #4 octopus from your favorite brand. For these I used Allen hooks.
Tie off. Cut off the big hook. Slip on the stinger hook. Tie on leader. Cast. Catch fish.