Repairing a broken Zonk

This comes from an article I originally posted on the Whitby Sea Anglers Forum.  Maybe it has a very limited audience, but I thought I'd post it again in more detail. You never know, it might come in useful to someone somewhere.

For those of us who have forked out their hard earned cash on a Zonk Gataride, you will know the feeling of doom when they get a snag, or after a few fish you find the hinged diving vane in the wrong position or even already broken off. You can try the adjustments suggested by Graham Hill on his blog. But at some point, the bib / diving vane is likely to break because it's frankly weak and not strong enough. When it does, your Zonk Gataride will look like this:

Even if you were lucky (as I was, the bib broke off in my hand as I lifted a fish on the end of the plug into my kayak) and found the bib, trying to fix it so that it still hinges and behaves just as it did is pretty much impossible.

But that doesn't mean your £20 plug is destined for the bin. Standard Zonks don't have a hinged bib, instead they have a more traditional fixed one made out of some fancy carbon fibre (or so they claim).

And if you look closely, you can see the angle that this standard bib would lie as presumably the moulds for both bibs are just adapted slightly. There's a diagonal lip which looks like if it was a slot, would take a solid diving vane. Therefore we can cut one out of plastic:
If you have your old vane, you can use that as a template for size and shape. Now, where did I find something perfect for making a diving vane from?

With a bit of care and a hacksaw, you can cut a groove following the diagonal lip I mentioned earlier.

With a bit of sandpaper, you can shape the vane to get it something like the one you had. Keep trying it for size and shape.

You might need to thin it ever so slightly to get in the slot you cut. I'd be a bit careful with this stage. Don't cut your slot too deep, and don't apply too much pressure to get it to fit. We know how fragile that bib is!

So now your ready to get your araldite out and glue it. I roughened up the surface of the vane to give it a good key. Leave it 24 hours, and with any luck bob's your uncle, here's the finished article:

Check it's flat and your slot wasn't skewiff.
And now all you got to do is test it. I think if you've found it's not quite right, you should be able to bend and set the angle a bit using steam out of the kettle to soften the vane.  And don't forget to put that CD holder back in its case. With any luck, it won't be discovered until you're out of the house.

Hope no one else throws their Zonk Gatarides away when the bibs break. You can convert them into a standard Zonk pretty easily in an hour or so.

As an update on this, I thought I'd best mention that the araldite I used did go soft eventually and the vane came out after a fish or two. So a change of glue is in order: the waterproof cement used by plumbers to join plastic waste pipes is a better option.

However, to be really sure, I now cut two little v-shaped nicks in the vane and the plastic mount, line them up and whip the vane on with braid.

You can then seal the whipping with nail varnish or similar if you wish, though it's not necessary.  In fact, I don't even glue them at all with this method.  Whipping is certainly the best fixing method for the vane, you can't pull it out now with a pair of pliers - it's good forever (or until you lose it!).  :-)

Now will someone tell me how I can replace those rubbish hooks?


  1. Good stuff, ive also had success using fibreglass plectrums from the guitar shop, cheap and avail in lots of diff thicknesses. Hooks wise dump the 3 rubbish hooks that come with it and put on 2 size 4`s one front, one back.

  2. That's a good idea.

    Must admit I don't use Gatarides any longer. In fact I'm barely using hard plugs at all these days - I just find they've got too many treble hooks for safety in a kayak! Single hook soft plastics are my preferred lure types these days; easier, safer cheaper, just as effective.

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