Rabbit Matuka

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During a winter fishing trip with fellow club members Bill Armon and Jerry Jarosik, I was introduced to this fly. Bill showed me the fly and I think he got the idea from Jerry. Where Jerry got the idea, I do not know. My philosophy is often big fly, big fish, so this fly fit me well. The biggest brown trout I have caught have been on this fly or a muddler variation. Several species, including rainbow trout, brown trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, green Sunfish and even bluegill, have been landed on this fly. Once another club member, David Barron, accused me of having a wad of moss on my fly when I thought I had a hit. When I pulled in the olive version and it was clean he agreed that it was a hit but was astounded at the size of the fly. Don't try to cast this matuka with those lightweight rods unless you like getting clumped......Jerry Clark, Ozark Fly Fishers, deceased.


Mustad 79580, or other four XL hook, size 4-10
3/0 mono, color to match
Sized to hook diameter
24 gauge gold wire
Rabbit fur and yarn mixture, approximately 50-50, colors, olive, ginger, white or black or ?
Rabbit strip to match body or contrast, your choice, I usually match on colors other than white and sometimes contrast with white
Rabbit fur to match wing, hackle is simpler but I don't believe as effective

Tying Instructions

  1. Smash the barb of the hook. Cover the hook shank with thread and wrap the middle third with appropriate sized lead.
  2. Tie in heavy gauge gold wire. The heavy wire adds weight and never breaks. And leave a three to 4 in. dubbing loop at the rear tie in point.
  3. The dubbing should be the same color or lighter than the rabbit strip wing and made on a mixture of rabbit and sparkle yarn. Use Polly Rosborough method of rolling the dubbing in a noodle and placing in the dubbing loop. Twist the loop and noodle together until firm and wrap noodle toward the hook eye stopping about one fourth shank length short of the hook eye.
  4. Cut a rabbit strip wing at least one half to two times the hook shank length. Taper the last half-inch and the front quarter-inch of the strip. Save the hair portion for dubbing, I am cheap. Tie in the short front taper at the front of the dubbing. Lightly stretch the wing to the rear and begin ribbing with the gold wire separating the hair on the skin at each rib as you go up to the tie in point of the wing. Tie in the wire and cut off excess, I use side cutters to cut the heavy wire, and to mash down the cut end, and cover the cut end well with thread.
  5. Form and select that a two 1/2 inch dubbing loop and narrow the loop at the hook by making a wrap or two around the loop right at the hook. Use a very fine wire dubbing loop tool to help keep the loop narrow. This is important to help hold the rabbit fur securely while it is arranged and twisted. The collar can be made from either a strip or a pinch of fur from the edges of the skin. If the pinch of fur is too thick at the butt ends pull out some of the insulating hair leading mostly guard hair. Some people use a clipboard type paperclip to hold the hair while putting it in the loop. If you use a strip then insert the skin first. Twist the dubbing loop to form fur chenille and wrap in close wraps to the hook eye pulling the hair back as you go. Tie off, cut off excess and whip finish. Grizzly or dyed grizzly hackle may be used for the collar also but doesn't provide the same bulk as the rabbit fur.
  6. With a dubbing needle or hooked dental tool picked out that trapped hair from ribbing the wing. Tie on leader and catch fish.


The best color seems to be olive, but ginger is also effective.