How to Stop Streamer Tails from Fouling

Written by: Evan Jones

Tom Rosenbauer ties a long schnarzel while creating a Dragon Tail.

When you’re casting larger flies with long tails (like Zonkers), it’s not uncommon for the tail to become wrapped around the hook bend. Even expert anglers occasionally suffer from fouled flies. Having to constantly readjust your fly is not only frustrating, but it’s counterproductive, too. Flies that frequently foul simply cannot be relied on to act naturally in the water when it counts, which could lead to missed fish and wasted time.

Fortunately, there is a simple remedy for those who tie their own flies: the addition of a folded bit of monofilament at the rear of the fly known as an anti-fouling loop, or schnarzel, that helps discourage the tail from wrapping. Here’s how I make this helpful loop, along with a variant for use with larger magnum rabbit strips.

1. Cut a 1-inch to 2-inch piece of stiff monofilament line (here 30-pound Mason Hard Mono), and fold it half to make a loop.
2. Attach the loop to the top of the hook shank so that about 1/4-inch of the loop sticks out beyond the bend of the hook.
3. Attach the rabbit strip (or similar) tail material on top so that the loop is between the tail and the bend of the hook.
A thinner-diameter schnarzel can also be placed parallel to the hook bend, threaded through a hole in the center of a wider rabbit strip, as shown. This design is more reliable while it lasts, but is much less durable.

Evan Jones is the assistant editor of the Orvis Fly Fishing blog. He lives in Colorado.

One thought on “How to Stop Streamer Tails from Fouling”

  1. One other variation that works for me is to use a strip of 2mm foam. Once cut to width of the tailing material, I tie it in from front to back extending to just beyond the bend of the hook. I tie many hair flies like zonkers or slumpbusters and all I do when finished tying the fly is to put a dab of super glue on the foam. I then press the hide onto the glue and foam. With the variety of foam colors available, it is easy to match foam and hair color and not have to worry about the tail winding around the hook when casting.

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