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On 4/26/2019 at 9:13 AM, Pitcherofnectar said:

I keep losing the dumbbell eyes on my clouser minnows. It is driving me nuts. Not sure if it’s a casting problem or if I’m tying wrong or if I’m using a bad batch of dumbbells but I swear nothing is more frustrating than pulling in a weightless clouser after less than 10 minutes of casting, and then to have it happen again ten minutes later. I am relatively new to shore fishing big rods on the ocean, mostly a 2wt for Brookies kinda angler, and lots of my flies have lasted me 15 years so far... but maybe this is just an aspect of the surf game? Anyone else experience this? How often do you blow through flies? 

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this could be multiple things but my recommendation is that if you aren't already doing it make sure that when you tie them in you wrap more times than you think you need from all directions and at the end wrap the thread in circles under the whole dumbbell.  This will lock in the thread that is there and it shouldn't work loose if that's what is happening.  I also like to put a couple drops of super glue right on top of the eyes and underneath where the thread meets the material because this will will keep the hair from slipping out too.  Before I started doing both of these things the flies would come apart midway through one day but now they last all day even with multiple takes on them.  In my opinion though a clouser only lasts longer than one day out if you are getting skunked.  I usually still have a fly left at the end of the day but it's mangled on most fishy days. hope this helps

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Greta thoughts here folks.

 

I agree with several thoughts, and I really like the idea that you can’t tie a clouser ‘wrong’.

 

If your back cast is hitting rocks or sand, nothing will take that abuse. Same with having your forward cast hit the jetty or the bridge piling.

 

With all that being said, I still follow Bob’s directions: i just use tuffleye now instead of epoxy. 

 

Bob always use super glue on the eyes, then epoxied the belly wraps, eyes and thread head. He also filled in the visor between the eyes and the hook eye. I still do that too.

 

cheers

 

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15 hours ago, Pitcherofnectar said:

Generally I use hard as hull or sometimes the Wapsi stuff... do you coat around the dumbell too?

 

Yeah, I definitely make sure to coat the threads over top of the dumbbell, because once they start fraying, you're a lot more likely to loose the dumbbell.   I add a bit of head cement behind the dumbbell, as well as between the dumbbell and hook eye.  

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People when first starting making clousers usually make the same mistakes.

 

the first question I have is are you loosing your eyes just as quickly if they are lead or stainless, if the answer is yes then I would say you are not using enough wraps of thread and are using the buck tail to hold the eyes in places. Because the bucktail is so soft it just breaks and the eyes disappear. This is a big problem with commercial ties.

 

when I do my eyes I make a bed of thread with two small pillows with a indent to cradle the eyes and then figure eight the eyes and then wrap under the eyes post style to cinch in the figure eight wraps. Once this is done then I tie in my bucktail behind the eyes and then wrap the bucktail in front of the eyes. At this point I do about 4 post wraps under the eyes.

 

I make all my clousers with synthetics which allows me to use more tensions.

 

hope this helps

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Another thing to remember, using lots of thread wraps isn’t what makes a fly durable. It’s knowing where to make them and how strong to make them that really matter.

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Salt water trashes gear and flies especially. Bad casts and fish teeth do the rest.

 

We don’t expect long life from our flies..

 

If you  can be arsed you can reclaim your hook. I find a craft knife is pretty quick.

I use Tiemco hooks  which are not the cheapest so it’s worth salvaging decent hooks.

 

It is worth tying in natural materials and also in all synthetic. I do some with a mixture of both.

 

Natural Bucktails,will,support limp synthetics. The synthetics will add translucency.

 

I find all synthetic tend to get gnarled and tangly  after a while.

 

Worth  tying slim medium and very full.

 

My most successful main colours have been White and Olive. Second is white and chartreuse. About 4 to 6 strands of pearl Krystal flash and its job done.

 

I like Clousers but  I think it is an over used go to fly. If I could only have one pattern give me a Deceiver.

 

mike

 

 

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Posted (edited)

On 4/29/2019 at 8:29 AM, Mike Oliver said:

Salt water trashes gear and flies especially. Bad casts and fish teeth do the rest.

 

You are right tho in the case of clousers and similar flies such as jiggies, it's the sand at the bottom of the water (or swirling around in the surf) that does the most damage.  Coating the wraps around the eye helps - tho most of the coating will be gone pretty quickly, especially the UV-cured material - and tying all of the wing material on top, as you mentioned, helps to make the fly last a little longer as well.

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If you  can be arsed you can reclaim your hook. I find a craft knife is pretty quick.

I use Tiemco hooks  which are not the cheapest so it’s worth salvaging decent hooks.

 

I've been doing that for years: I save all of my worn-out clousers in a box and once a year I strip them down to save the hooks and eyes that are still in decent shape.  It can be a bit trying to do this if you've used super glue, epoxy or UV-cured plastic in tying the fly, but I think it's still worth it.  If nothing else, you're recycling something that is actually useful to you.

 

Edited by GregPavlov

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I agree with dropping the backcast and hitting rocks,etc. I stopped using lead eyes for closures a while back. There are choices of steel eyes on the market, Spirit River being one. It’s the brand that I use.

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The way you are tying your clousers is fine. 

The problem is your backcast and leader length.

The damage shown to the fly (after just 10' of use) is not from expected "wear", it is from hitting the ground on your backcast.  

I should know, I'm an expert at bad backcasts and ruined clousers.

 

This is what happens to me and I suspect you are doing something similar.

Like most bad casters I have a tendency to throw my backcast backwards rather than upwards, and with a vague rather than sharp stop.  When the rod  finally does stop the tip counterflex then directs the line downward. It also opens the backcast loop and the large loop then redirects the momentum of the weighted fly up, over, and downward as the loop turns over.  With a long leader the fly  ends up well below the already too low line as it starts forward.  It ticks the ground and the eye's lead stem, already bent by thread tension, bends more and breaks.

 

So in addition to using brass eyes instead of lead, watch your backcast. Try to throw it more upward, and stop the rod sharply to generate a tight loop before starting to drift the rod back and down (while maintaining line tension).  To give yourself a bigger margin for error,  shorten your leader as much as fishing conditions allow.  

Timing also plays a role.  Start forward too early and the backward traveling loop will accelerate and snap the leader and fly over and down more forcefully.  Too late (i.e., by the time you feel a tug) and the line/leader/fly system will be dropping fast.  Easier said than done, however. 

 

 

 

 

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We all have tied thousands of clousers, or at least me and a few others.

 

Yes led one will break. Brass one will break also. They all disappear sooner or later.  It happens.

 

Most of the time its your tying technique. Extra wraps don't make it extra strong.

Drop of Zap on your thread wraps before you put the eye on while it's wet is a plus. Solid X-wraps with firm tension and good placement is a plus. Three sets of x-wraps is sufficient. A few flat warps to post up the eyes is even better. A drop of Zap in the thread warps when you are done securing the eyes is a must. Also, thread size is also important. Don't expect it to hold up is you are using very thin tread.

 

Do some testing and see what works for you

 

Brad

 

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Posted (edited)

Here's a typical pile of used clousers after a Florida trip. You can see the small proportion that had eye issues, after an otherwise pretty hard life. I see one or two out 50 or so that have actually lost their eyes (a few bucktails were tied without eyes). Most of those that came loose and twisted around the shank were the victims of over-vigorous forceps use during release. Fish were mostly ladyfish and Spanish mackerel.

 

I recently read in his book that Mr. Clouser does NOT recommend  using X wraps to fasten eyes.

 

In my experience, Softex is best.

 

 

9c - Pink Wonder residues.jpg

Edited by Steve Schullery

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In drop some zap a gap between tying the top and bottom.  Never have any problems regardless of the other tying factors on barbells or beadchain.  Keep the wraps tight!

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On 5/29/2019 at 9:25 AM, Steve Schullery said:

Here's a typical pile of used clousers after a Florida trip. You can see the small proportion that had eye issues, after an otherwise pretty hard life. I see one or two out 50 or so that have actually lost their eyes (a few bucktails were tied without eyes). Most of those that came loose and twisted around the shank were the victims of over-vigorous forceps use during release. Fish were mostly ladyfish and Spanish mackerel.

 

I recently read in his book that Mr. Clouser does NOT recommend  using X wraps to fasten eyes.

 

In my experience, Softex is best.

 

 

9c - Pink Wonder residues.jpg

 

 

Hope Steve is still doing okay..

 

Just started tying a batch of small ( 4's and 1's)   "Pink Wonders"  by Steve and the thread by him makes mention of  "Mr. Clouser does NOT recommend using X wraps to fasten eyes,  In my experience, Softex is best"  

 

How do you tie on Lead Eyes if you don't "X wrap" your flie ?  Also if other than "X" wraps how is the Softex is better?    Are you just bunching up a pile around the Eye to hold it in place ?

 

HT

 

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HT

In his book "Clouser's Flies", Clouser has a sbs (with pictures) on how to tie barbell eyes. The section of the sbs is titled "Cross -Wrap Mounts" where he makes all wraps from the near side to the far side, beginning with five to eight wraps of thread from the rear to the front of the eyes and then the same number of wraps from the front to the rear, repeating the same sequence three more times (to me those are x-wraps) and then he brings the thread under the eyes but over the shank and circles the cross wraps about five times to tighten them.

 

That's what I do with mine but then I soak  the thread wraps in crazy glue and let dry before tying the fly. Never had a problem with moving eyes.

 

I've used Softex a lot for my Sand Eel pattern but from what I read it's not safe health wise so I'd stay away from it.

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Lots of great suggestions.  I'll add one more.  Build a very small cushion of dubbing to place your eyes on.  I find that helps keep them in place.

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