Clouser Minnow - Tying Instructions

The Clouser Minnow, named after Bob Clouser who originally developed it, is one of my workhorse flies for stripers and I've caught dozens of other species on it as well. It's also pretty easy to tie which is good as I'm no master flytyer!

Clouser Minnow, step one

Step 1: Wind some thread on the hook.

Cover approximately the first quarter or third of the hook shank from the head on down.

I primarily use Mustad 34007 hooks - that's a size 1/0 hook in the picture, and I like a fairly thick thread, for example a 3/0 size UNI-thread. I also use tying floss sometimes - anything reasonably strong to hold the Clouser together.

Step 2: Attach Weighted Metal Eyes.

A quick look through my tying stuff reveals I've got sizes 5/32", 3/16", 7/32", and 1/4". Some I bought locally and some from Cabelas.

I like the bigger sizes, and use 3/16" and 7/32" the most. Don't stress out over eye size! The bigger the eyes the faster the fly sinks but the harder it is to cast.

Clouser Minnow, tying eyes on, II

I wind 3-5 turns of thread crisscrossing in the same direction over the eyes to attach them to the hook. Then I make a whole mess of turns alternating how I crisscross them and occasionally winding only on the hook shank in order to fasten the eyes securely to the hook.

Tie the thread down and add a drop or two of head cement for added strength. That's a bodkin in the picture I've dipped in head cement that I'm using to apply head cement - a paper clip works well too.

Clouser Minnow, tying on bucktail I

Step 3: Tie a bunch of bucktail to the top of the hook in front on the eyes.

I pull most of the shorter hairs out of each bunch before I use it. I don't want all the hairs to be the same length, but don't want lots of short hairs either.

I also like the bucktail to be fairly straight. Sometimes some of the bucktail may have a permanent bend to it - I don't use that part.

Also the bucktail getting down near the base of the tail often will have a larger base diameter and "flair" when you tie it on. I tend to use these bucktail hairs for tying heads, for example for snake flies, instead of for Clousers.

Clouser Minnow, tying on bucktail II

Step 4: Tie down the bunch of bucktail behind the eyes as well and bring the thread back to in front of the eyes.

Cut the excess bucktail in front at an angle so when you wind a head, it'll be neat and tapered. Don't obsess over this - the fish don't care how nice and tapered your head is, although the fly will look better to fisherman and i also feel that a nice tapered head makes a fly somewhat more durable.

Clouser Minnow, tying on bucktail III

Step 5: Tie a bunch of bucktail on the other side.

Take another bunch of bucktail, removing the shorter hairs as with the first one, and tie it to the bottom of the hook.

This bunch we'll only tie to the front of the hook.

Clouser Minnow, tying on flash

Step 5: Tie in some flashy material (optional).

I'm using Pearl Krystal Flash because it looks good and I had some handy - I don't think it matters much what you use or what color it is, but I do like a few stands, maybe 6-20, of flash.

I also trim the flash so it's not all the same length. That seems to make it flash in the water better.

Clouser Minnow

Step 6: Trim material, wind head, and cement.

Just as in step 4, trim the excess bucktail and any flash at an angle.

Wind a head using the thread, tie off, and apply head cement.

Clouser Minnow, go fish it!

The completed fly -- it doesn't need to be pretty to work! Now go fish it - it won't catch any fish while you're admiring it :)

The fly rides upside down when you fish it, meaning with the hook point on top. This helps it avoid snagging on bottom junk.

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