What is the use of rabbit strips in fly tying

What is the use of rabbit strips in fly tying

In this blog I will be discussing about rabbit strips use in fly tying and difference in the cut.  Various rabbit strips colours and dye patterns are available for tying a wide variety of flies.  A Rabbit strip is the skin and hair cut from a tanned rabbit hide cut in a vertical strips of  standard (1/8″) and cross-cut strips used in creation of fly or jig lures in fishing. 

Cross cut rabbit stripsCross cut rabbit strips


A rabbit strip in the water is a great fly tying material that gives a fly a natural swimming movement or pulsating action of the fur in the water. The rabbit strip is also much more durable than feathers and bucktail on a lure and combined with color and strip width options you will soon understand why we love to tying fishing lures with them. 


Standard or Zonkers Rabbit Strips



Standard and Cross-cut

Rabbit strips are vertical or horizontal cuts made in rabbit hide with the hair still on. We cut Rabbit strips in different cuts:  Standard and Crosscut. Lay a hide on then table and visually locate the head and tail. From the head to the tail direction is the vertical direction of the hair growth on the skin and hairs lay down pointed toward the tail of the rabbit. 

Standard strips are made by cutting the hide in vertical strips from the head to the tail different widths. Standard or Zonker – cut strips are approximately 1/8” wide and the hairs are in line with the hide. Straight means cut in the hair direction. The straight cut strips are for the zonker type of flies and wings on pike or salmon flies 

Cross Cut strips are made by cutting across the hide for skin  with is visually from shoulder to shoulder. The hairs lie perpendicular to the skin strip.  Cross cut strips are approximately  1/8 inch ″ wide and cut across the hide the cross cut are for bunny leeches, MOAL's etc.

Both freshwater and saltwater flies are tied using rabbit strip to imitate forage like various baitfish and leeches. Once flies and jigs tied with rabbit strips get in water get very soft and  the hairs move a lot.  The length of the hair on rabbit strips will always vary a bit depending on the animal. The difference between cross-cut and zonker is how they are cut on the hide, zonkers are cut the long way down the hide, cross-cut is exactly what it sounds like. For fly-tying, this determines the direction in which the hair will lay on the fly. 

Two Tone Rabbit Strips