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How sparse should a clouser minnow be?


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Poll: How many "toothpicks" worth of bucktail on your clousers?

How many "toothpicks" worth of bucktail on your clousers?

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#31 Houdini

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 10:21 AM

I have two flies that Bob Clouser tied. In both, the belly is sparse - about one and a half whilest the "top" dressing is about 2 or two and one half. (Toothpicks, that is) What does vary significantly is the amount of crystal flash. In one it is about one and the other about two. Bob seems to tie in different amounts of flash depending on the day. Length is about three to three and a half inches. These were tied for small mouth on the Susquahanna on two different days. Both caught lots of fish.
As for the "correct" amount, I've seen and tied and used them in short lengths, with bead heads, the original barbell heads (painted black with a red eye) and just about every variation. The only thing Bob ever said was "tie them sparse". The inovation has obviously outgrown the creator and I keep trying to come up with new variations. I'm not alone, I see.
Thing is, I haven't found to many that don't work.

#32 kschu

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 09:17 PM

QUOTE (siestafred @ Feb 21 2005, 01:23 PM)
This is a great post to read. I've been away for a bit and just got back and read it from front to back for the first time.
I have about 200 Clousers in my saltwater box(es) now. Been using them here in FL for about 3 years. Started out 'fat'. Sure, they worked some. But the fish here are very toothy, and after a few hookups I began noticing that they still caught fish even with a few strands left....like about 5 strands or less! Hard to go with that, but I'm now tying with only a couple of toothpicks worth, and getting great action. I may start out a bit heavier, because I want them to last more than a couple of fish. But for sure, sparse is the way to go.
Here's one I was playing with a while ago. The dark blue color is a wonder down here right now. Don't know why, it just works.
The red is calf tail. Meant to look like gills and just be an additional attractor.

http://hipwader.com/...20Clouser25.jpg

Hi Fred,

That touch of Red really adds a nice touch. That is a mighty fine fly.

I'm curious what hook you tied that on. Most of my clousers are on a straight eye hook or even a bent down eye. Yours is on a bent up eye.

Now I am a fresh water fisherman. I so rarely get near enough to salt water that I can fish it. My one great day of saltwater fishing was down in Sarasota. We like to stay on Siesta Key. The guide I hired worked out of a little merina off Longboat Key, just across the road from Mote Marina (sp?). I think that guide has moved on as I can no longer find his web page. His name was Brian and he went by Low-Key charters. I think that was back in 2001.

My wife and I are trying to determine where we might go for a vacation this year. Sarasota is on the "short list". So is Yellowstone. Either way I'll get to use my fly rod.

I'm glad you enjoyed the thread. It got much more activity than I expected when I posted the question. It has been fun to watch.

Thanks to all who joined in the discussion.

More later,
Ken S.

Owner: SmallieFishing.com
Member of the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance
Rivers: Fox, DuPage, Kishwaukee, Kankakee
Ponds: Fermilab Ponds, Blackwell Forest Preserve
Fishing primarily DuPage and Kane counties in NE Illinois

#33 FlyFisher09

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 09:38 PM

In response to siestafred's clouser with red gills: It looks awesome. I've got to tie something like that to try.

#34 siestafred

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Posted 22 February 2005 - 10:09 PM

Hey Ken..

This is tooooo unreal. You will never guess where I am, at least for 6 months every winter !!
Yup, SIESTA KEY !!
How about that ?? Is the world small or what !! headbang.gif
That particular Clouser was tied on a Mustad 36890 #2 Salmon hook. I'm going up to Alaska in June, and I was making up some to use.
For here, Sarasota Bay area, I normally use Mustad 34011 #4 (or #6) Saltwater hooks. That's the 2XL version. We like the longer version because it seems to minimize short hits.
If you decide to come here for your holiday, let me know. If I'm still here, maybe we could hook up for a day on the Bay.
Cheers....Fred

#35 Sawcat

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 05:17 PM

Sparse is better, The way I was taught to tie them in two colors is to snip off a small bunch, the hair when fanned out flat should equal one half of the hook gap. I never thought of it in terms of toothpicks before. This works out well for me because I tie them from # 8- 3/0 and I'd then have to vary the amount of toothpics for each size. The one half hook gap is easy for me to remember. Also if I happen to snip off too much hair I simply place the extra in a material clip and use it on the next one. Have fun and good luck with the most productive fly ever tied, IMHO.

#36 kschu

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 11:33 AM

Thanks Sawcat,

This whole discussion started because I wanted to see how others determined the proper amount of material to use when tying a Clouser. I had been taught the "toothpick method". I did not know what others might be out there. Yours is the first method I've heard that measured the amount based on a size relative to the hook being used. I like using that kind of measurement.

It seems that one of the basic rules (or maybe I should say goals) of fly tying is to make sure everything about the fly is proportional. Whenever I have a pattern that I would classify as "one I need to work on", it seems the work I need is getting proportions right.

Now I have to try your measurement once and see how that compares to the proportions I have been using. I'm trying to picture how much hair I'll have when measured against the gape. This will be interesting.

Ken S.
Owner: SmallieFishing.com
Member of the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance
Rivers: Fox, DuPage, Kishwaukee, Kankakee
Ponds: Fermilab Ponds, Blackwell Forest Preserve
Fishing primarily DuPage and Kane counties in NE Illinois

#37 Sawcat

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Posted 01 March 2005 - 10:08 AM

Hey no problem there Kschu, I have used this method for years and it works out well for me from small to large, good luck with it. I see in your post that you fish the Kankakee, my Grandparents used to live in Momence, Il and some of my best memories as a youth were fishing with them both for smallmouth bass.
Have fun, Eric

#38 Big Will

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 12:22 AM

Look at the size of your local bait fish. Here in the cheaspeake bay we have a lot of sliver sides which are about the size of a pin minnow. So i will tie a clouser small and very sparse, but when the finger mullet come in I 'll make them bigger like 1/0-2/0 and two to three toothpicks of hair on each size so that it will have the same profile as the baitfish.

#39 Slinger

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 10:25 PM

I`m sure Big Will has it right. The amount of hair isn`t set in stone, it depends what your imitating. Certainly someone trying to match a pinhead in a freshwater stream is going to use a lot less than I would trying to match a six inch long, one inch wide silverside here in NE. For a reasonable answer to how much you also have to ask What are you imitating.
Slinger

#40 BowFish

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Posted 28 October 2005 - 09:57 AM

Reading back over this old thread inspired me to tie some closures. 3 were made with polar fibre, the nearest one has polar fibre belly, but Pinfish 3D EP fiber for back. All have black chain bead eyes. I like the effect of the EP fibers.

Attached Files



#41 luvinbluegills

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 10:01 AM

Those look good to me!
~Only be concerned with that which lasts, then go deep into the backing!
Adventures with Fish!

#42 Lionus

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 09:13 PM

resurrecting this threat.

this is exactly why i love this website. years and years of knowledge all pooled into one place by experts and novice(me) for the benefit of everyone.

i have a question about clouser minnows. i am trying to surprise some friends in florida who fish mainly saltwater and for bass. I just tied one up and am having trouble figuring out my thoughts on it, so i am turning to the experts. any helpful hints?

my first thoughts are that it is way too dense. i am using congo hair and cannot figure out the correct proportions. thanks again for your thoughts.

http://www.flickr.co...N02/5451943755/

#43 gaeronf

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 09:25 PM

Just as a tip, if you don't have a cautorizer thingy to clean the eye out, and instead of scrapping the hole thing entirely:
Put on a layer of head cement
Take a hat pin and heat it with a lighter till almost cherry red
Stick it in the covered eye
Put another layer of head cement

#44 Lionus

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 11:17 PM

thanks for the tip. tried it and it worked great.

noticed ive been using less and less material on each fly. and they come out looking better and better.

#45 tidewaterfly

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 11:51 PM

Lionus, IMO you do have them over dressed. Take a look at the pictures of Clousers tied with bucktail & use the same proportions. It also appears that you're using a down eye hook. They're fine for Clousers, but you might do better with a straight eye hook, particularly since you said these were for friends who fish saltwater & bass. Try a hook like the Mustad 34011(old designation)/ S74S (Signature Series) which are stainless & have a longer shank. Very popular with saltwater tiers, and work equally well for bass. I tie a lot of my bass & Striper flies on this hook. If you need an inexpensive hook for bass flies, try the Mustad 3366, but it's not a good hook for salt.

In a previous post in this thread, it was mentioned to use the Mustad Signature popper hook, which is a much better hook than the 3366, and with the kinked shank, provides a nice way to securely attach the barbell eyes. I tie a lot of my bigger bass flies on straight shank worm hooks, like those made by Gamakatsu or Owner. More expensive, but much better quality hooks.

I tie a saltwater Clouser version with some synthetic hair similar to Congo hair, except I also use Polar Flash in it. I like it better than Flashabou for this type fly, although I do tie a lot with Flashabou. The belly is just a wisp of synthetic hair & equal part Polar Flash, the top is the same proportions, with the Polar Flash sandwiched between the belly & a wisp of darker synthetic. Makes a very nice looking Silver sides imitation, or could be a Glass Minnow imitation for Florida.

The idea is to create the impression of translucence & profile. If you look at pictures of either type baitfish, they both appear almost transparent in parts of their bodies. That should be what you're trying to achieve when tying Clousers.

Looks like you're also using the wider "Saltwater Flashabou", try the regular type. It makes a much nicer looking fly, and is easier to use on smaller flies. I tie a lot of saltwater flies and rarely use the bigger stuff.

I don't always follow my own advise & I sometimes tie bucktail versions heavier, especially when tying for saltwater species. If you feel you need tie a Clouser "heavier" dressed, then consider a different version, like a Half & Half. They're tied the same as a regular Clouser, but utilize a tail of hackle, like a Lefty's Deceiver. I like to use thin saddle hackle for this type fly. The saddle hackle adds more substance to them, but still keeps the profile thin.

Hope this helps!