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Rabbit Strip Slider
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Rabbit Strip Slider
By Deke Meyer

There are two basic styles of rabbit strip fly. One is the Dahlberg Diver style, designed to dive, with the rabbit strip wiggling in its wake. The other style is similar to a slider, slithering along, but with a long rabbit tail. The rabbit strip excites bass because it moves so well on the retrieve, yet also dangles when the fly is still.

Randy Sublett of Mountain Home, Arkansas ties his Sneaky Snake rabbit strip in dark brown with a white belly. Jack Ellis of Woodville, Texas ties his favorite, the Grinnel Fly, in natural, black or olive. Mark Sturtevant of Scotland, Pennsylvania ties his Fire Tiger in a combination of fluorescent chartreuse, fluorescent orange and black. This rabbit strip approach appeals to many creative tiers, and I'm sure it will attract you, as well.

Tying Tips

You can vary the color scheme of this fly to suit your fancy; some good colors include white, black, chartreuse, natural, olive, and others. You can add Flashabou or Crystal Flash, marabou in various colors, a hackle collar, and rubber legs.

When shopping for rabbit strips, try to get the thinnest you can find, but are still fully covered with hair. The wider strips don't attract any more bass, but because the hide soaks up water and becomes heavy, the wide strip rabbit is a hindrance to cast. The advantage to thin strips is that you still get all the bass-attracting movement, but without bulk. That's what makes fly fishing for bass so much fun - fishing with flies that simulate bulk to attract bass, but are actually light and easy to cast, especially on a light rod.


The larger the deer hair head, the more buoyant the fly will be. You can also add buoyancy with large doll eyes. If you want a fly that floats lower in the surface film, or you want to toss your fly on a light rod, make the deer head fairly small.

My favorite variation is to tie the rabbit strip fly with a foam head. You can use a hard or soft foam slider head (just as you would with a cork or foam slider), but I prefer the soft foam EdgeWater diver head. It has more slant, causing the fly to dive some on the retrieve. The EdgeWater diver head comes with eye holes already drilled out, so you can install glass eyes with stems, or lead eyes, which increase the dive rate (but also make the fly harder to cast).

Materials: Rabbit Strip Slider

    Hook:  Stinger, 3/0-10.

    Tail:   Rabbit strip.

    Hackle:   Deer hair tips as a collar.

    Rubber Legs:   Optional, various colors, round or flat.

    Body:   Deer hair.

    Eyes:   Optional, doll eyes.

    Weedguard:   Optional, matches hook size.

Tying Steps:

1. Debard hook, place in vise. Attach thread, tie in weedguard. Tie in rabbit tail securely and cement (about 3 inches long, 1/8 inch wide).

2. Clean and stack a pencil-thick bunch of deer hair. Wrap two loose turns (while holding hair), tips to the rear.

3. Release hair while pulling straight down on thread. As hair flares around hook, wrap one right turn of thread around hair. Stroke hair back to the rear, bring thread forward through hair, wrap one turn around hook shank in front of hair. Push hair back with hair pusher tool or ends of fingers. Make an overhand or granny knot (called half hitch) with thread around hook shank, push tight up against hair and tighten knot. (Add second clump of hair if necessary.) Wrap thread 1/4 inch ahead of hair.

4. Repeat Step 3 until hook shank covered, but leave room for the weedguard and whip finished head.

5. Remove fly from vise. Trim hair (except collar tips) to cone shape. With scissors or wood burning tool, make indentations in hair for doll eyes. Use silicone adhesive to attach eyes.

6. Install fly in vise, re-attach thread. Adjust weedguard loop, tie down securely, clip excess monofilament. Whip finish and cement.

Fishing Tips

The Rabbit Strip Slider is meant to be fished in and around cover, fairly slowly, to give the rabbit a chance to undulate in front of the bass. We can speculate that the long tail mimics worms or snakes, both of which bass eat. This design is particularly effective on hard-fished water where bass often see poppers, in clear water where bass can see the rabbit strip from a long ways off, and in windy conditions where a popper is less effective.

One of my favorite tactics is the rabbit strip 'Hang Down.' I glide the fly up alongside or in bass cover, then just let the fly sit. The water-soaked rabbit will hang down below the surface, dangling and slightly wiggling, looking very much alive to the hungry bass. Be sure to mount a stout tippet - the Rabbit Strip Slider will strip bass of any doubt - they will lance out of cover and attack your fly. ~ Deke Meyer

Credits: From Tying Bass Flies by Deke Meyer. Published by Frank Amato Publications. We appreciate use permission.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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