Clouser Deep Minnow
Hook: Standard wet fly or saltwater, sizes 3/0 to 8
Eyes: Lead dumbbell weights
Belly: White bucktail
Wing: Natural brown or dyed bucktail, over six strands of Krystal Flash
If there’s a fly that works in a wider range of sizes than a Clouser Deep Minnow, I can’t imagine what it might be. Among my various fly boxes, I have at least 50 Clousers, ranging from two to eight inches in length. Along with natural brown, time-tested wing colours include green, yellow, blue, grey and, my favourite, chartreuse. Flies with all-white or all-black bellies and wings are also popular. All season long, the Clouser is my go-to fly for pike and subsurface bass, or any time I want to fish something deeper or bigger than a standard bucktail.
Tying a Clouser is not difficult, but it’s easy to screw up. There are two trouble areas, which are common even in commercially produced flies. For one, be sure not to place the lead eyes too far forward, which disrupts the fly’s sleek profile and crowds the head. And the bucktail must be sparse—so sparse that the fly almost looks unfinished. When compressed, the bucktail clumps should be about the diameter of a wooden match. Use too much, and the wing loses its tantalizing, flowy action.