The Slumpbuster is an great baitfish  imitation created by no other that John Barr who has introduced many innovative techniques and flies to fly fishing.  This pattern although simple is no exception.  The Slumpbuster has a diamond braid body for flash, a squirrel zonker strip for the wing tail and collar, and copper wire rib for durability.  Barr designed this pattern trying to really imitate baitfish instead of adding attractors that looked unrealistic such as rubberlegs.  This pattern can be tied to your fishing preferences you can weight this fly however you like… only conehead or with additional weight (and your choice of material), as well as your color and size preference.  Give this fly a shot when you hit a slump in fishing and remember big fish eat little fish.


  • Hook: Dai-Riki 730 Size 4-10
  • Thread: Danville’s 3/0
  • Cone: Your choice to size
  • Weight: Lead or non toxic wire if desired
  • Rib: Copper wire
  • Body: Diamond braid / Sparkle braid
  • Tail/Wing/Collar: Pine squirrel zonker strip

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Start by sliding the cone onto the hook and then secure it in your vice.

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If you are adding additional weight wrap it onto the shank of the hook and then slide the wrapped weight so that it is touching the conehead as shown.

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Start your thread base just behind the cone and advance your thread to the hook bend.

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Tie in your copper wire and advance your thread forward stopping approximately one hook eye behind the cone as shown.

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Next tie in the diamond braid and secure it with a few tight wraps.

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Wrap the diamond braid back to the hook bend making one full wrap behind the copper wire you tied in. Bring it back to the tie in point where you will capture it and secure with a few tight wraps then trim the excess.

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Next your will tie in the pine squirrel zonker on to of the point you tied off the diamond braid.  Make sure not to leave too long of a tail to prevent fouling the hook.

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Wrap the copper wire up the body, securing the rest of the squirrel, until it is in front of the zonker strip.  Make sure to not trap and of the hairs down with the rib.  Secure the wire with a few tight wraps and then cut or break off the excess.

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Taking the loose end of the zonker strip that is hanging over the eye and palmer it twice behind the cone.  While wrapping the zonker strip make sure to brush the hairs towards the tail to not trap any hairs.  Secure the hide with a few tight wraps and cut off the excess.

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Whip finish and trim your thread and that is it.  Now tie it on to some stout leader and hold on.