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Clouser Hook v. Eye Weight v. Bucktail Rule of Thumb

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Anybody have a rule of thumb on how to select your materials to get a nice jigging action on your clouser where the head will turn down and head to the deep? I guess have to consider the tippet you using. But just curious if anyone has some advice.

 

I haven't really tied many clousers. 

 

I was thinking something along the lines of your eyes need to be such and such percentage by weight of your hook. 

 

Thanks. 

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Not to state the obvious, but the heavier the eyes, the faster it will sink. 

 

If you're focused on the water column, things like heavy flies, flourocarbon tippet and a sinking line will help you get down deep and stay down.  If you're focused on getting the fly down quickly (in a river or whatever), I've read that using a heavy fly on a floating line (with a long tippet) will get down faster than the same fly on a sinking line - but obviously it will come up in the water column as you strip.

 

If you're focused on movement, I think the key is where you place those eyes.  The further forward, the better nose-down jigging action you'll get.  The clouser was designed to sink while horizontal - it's why the eyes are placed so far back.  Other patterns like the guitar minnow or the jiggy will get that action you like.

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Posted (edited)

I would not look at it by hook size but rather what you’re trying to get the fly to do. Lots of current and you want to be deep fast - use big eyes. Less current but you might hang on the bottom if you go too deep - smaller eyes, etc. 

Edited by Drew C.

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Posted (edited)

To see if Bob Clouser had addressed these questions, I looked at two different videos of him tying the Deep Minnow and reviewed his book "Clouser's Flies". In short, he doesn't.

 

But as far as the weight (and size ) of the eyes is concerned, he writes this (page 6): "The flies in the Clouser Minnow series are so effective because you can change their weight to fish them at different depth.... Heavy eyes get the fly down to or near the bottom, and it swims along the bottom on the retrieve rather than at middepth or near the surface." He adds: "Small eyes are not just for small hooks. You can add small eyes to large flies when you want a pattern that descends slowly in the water or lands with less splash than a fly with larger eyes". So JCH is right in his comment above about weight.

 

As to size of the eyes, Clouser writes this (also on page 6): I don't recommend putting large eyes on small hooks. The width of the eye should not exceed the width of the hook gap. If the width of the eye is larger than the hook gap, it reduces the fly's hooking ability".

 

The hooks that Clouser prefers for his Deep Minnows are regular shank or 1XL hooks like the Mustad 3366 for freshwater and the Mustad S71S for the salt.

 

For example, in his step-by-step of the Deep  Minnow in his book, he lists a #2 M. 3366 or M. S71S (or Tiemco 811S   paired with 6/32" diameter eyes weighing 1/30 ounce. And he ties his Minnows sparse generally sparse than what you see everywhere.

 

Finally as far as action in the water, here's what he writes (page 6 again): "The forward weight in the fly causes it to continually dart forward and drop with every pull and pause in the retrieve".  Nowhere does he mention a jigging action although he writes (page 28) when discussing dead-drifting the Minnow in a river or in a saltwater current: "The weighted part of the fly  noses it down to the bottom". And JCH is also right in that, if  the eyes are positioned correctly at 1/3 the hook lenght behind the eyes, the minnow will not dive down as a jig does when you make a stop in your retrieve but will rather plane down.

Edited by Suave
Typo

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 My advise would be to not overthink it. Placing the eyes at the 1/3 mark for jigging action. Use any size eye you want on any hook you want as current and depth will dictate the weight. Clousers are super simple to tie and very effective. eye placement is the most important part of tying clousers. Also tie them sparse. I like white and natural brown bucktail. 

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Folks, Thanks a lot for all the detailed responses. I checked out some of the vids on youtube of Bob Clouser tying the fly. Very helpful stuff. Thanks Suave for relaying the information from Clouser's book. 

 

This is sort of amusing...I usually fish the clousers with a loop knot b/c that's what I was told to do. Well, when I was testing another tie I remembered the loop knot thing and boy does it make a difference. A non-loop knot to the clouser does a great job at subduing its action and decreasing the degree of jigging action--just talking about the way the fly rotates tail up after you strip it and it starts to sink.  

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I just finished tying up a bunch of Clousers.  Some for my own use, the rest for my club to use at various shows for fund raising.  What I try to do when tying them is keep them sparse, make sure the dumbbell eyes are tied in 1/3 of the shank length, or at least as close as I can get.  If you move the eyes closer to the hook eye you end up tying a buck tail jig.  I don't wrap down what becomes the belly hair the whole length of the hook.  In a pamphlet I brought from Clouser when he did a presentation at my fly fishing club several years ago, on how to tie them.  He was specific about the length of that wrap as he was the placement of the eyes.  It ends at 2/3 the length of the hook shank.   I use hooks with various shank lengths.   What that does is make the nose wrap look weird, it will be longer than what people are use to on Clousers tied on a standard hook

These are the ones I tied for myself.  They're tied on a Daiichi 2461, size 6

61fecf9f742fb_PanfishClousersBR1.jpg.294efc590774a0b584815a80354de2b8.jpg

 

These are tied on some long shank Varivas hooks I had lying around size 1 or 2

DSCF1015_2.jpg.6ef59a11d9383ebbc91b60f5f35e5d4a.jpg

This one of a half dozen I tied on the old TMC saltwater streamer hook.  I think they're 3/0. The club president said we could use some Sand Eel clousers.  Tied with tungsten dumbbells.  You can see the nose looks too long but its in proportion to the eyes being tied in at the 1/3 point on the shank.  I would not want to get hit in the back of the head with one of these.

DSCF1050.JPG.4896b0b83f87acd77e257cf423f8c8eb.JPG

 

Just some idea of what they look like tied on longer shank hooks.

 

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Posted (edited)

21 hours ago, Philly said:

 

.  You can see the nose looks too long but its in proportion to the eyes being tied in at the 1/3 point on the shank.  I would not want to get hit in the back of the head with one of these.

DSCF1050.JPG.4896b0b83f87acd77e257cf423f8c8eb.JPG

 

Just some idea of what they look like tied on longer shank hooks.

 

Clouser designed the Deep Minnow to imitate  rather small and slim baitfish (and the Half and Half to iimitate bigger ones). In both case, if the fly is tied as Clouser does, it has the profile of a baitfish without a pronounced pointed nose. But to achieve that, you need to position the dumbbell eyes properly, i.e. 1/3 the hook lenght behind the eye as Philly points out and, most importantly, when tying a material in front of the eyes, it has to be tied with the minimum number of wraps to secure it solidly and as close as possible to the eye of the hook (i.e. you should never wrap the thread back to the dumbbell eyes). If it is done that way, the pointed nose, if any, will be the same whether you use a standard hook or a 4XL one.

 

These pictures from the cover of "Clouser's Flies" show how Bob Clouser does it. 

20220206_114253.jpg.efea32cc913c893391e12403c6e31ddf.jpg

 

20220206_114329.jpg.690fa00afae5957a778fe35d25e3a9c1.jpg

 

Most Deep Minnows I see posted on SOL have the material tied in front wrapped all the way back to the eyes and they thus have a pronounced pointed-nose look that is generally not in the profile of a baitfish. And yet, I'm quite sure they catch... 

Edited by Suave
Mistake

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One of the things Clouser pointed out in a tying demo on the Tube was when he ties in the belly hair(the tail) he holds the bucktail at a 45 degree or so angle to the hook then does a wrap with the thread and secures and that puts the bucktail on the hook in a cone shape that looks pretty nice. You can see that angle in the photos in Suave's post. 

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3 hours ago, Suave said:

Most Deep Minnows I see posted on SOL have the material tied in front wrapped all the way back to the eyes and they thus have a pronounced pointed-nose look that is generally not in the profile of a baitfish

Guilty as charged.  Not sure when I got into the habit of wrapping the nose all the way back to eyes.  I found some Clousers I tied a few years ago and I wasn't doing it then.  Next time I tie up some I'll keep that in mind.  The ones I tied for myself will have to do.  The ones I tied for the club, maybe they won't notice. 

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Posted (edited)

I think a common mistake is overweighting clousers. I generally use the following as a guide:

 

Size 4 hook - small or xsmall lead dumbbell

Size 2 hook - small lead dumbbell

Size 1 hook - small or medium lead dumbbell

Size 1/0 hook - medium or large lead dumbbell

Size 2/0 hook - large lead dumbbell

 

These days I tend to tie all materials on top, especially if I am using synthetics as opposed to bucktail.

Edited by JRT

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I use brass eyes, less dense then lead but generally use 3/16 for #2 hooks (AHREX NS110 current favorite) and 5/32 for #4. Rarely use anything larger or smaller in either hook or eye size.  I do use clousers mostly with intermediate lines, so that may help with the the sink rate and lighter eyes. There are times, like fishing the trough between bar and shore in the surf that a beadchain eye clouser does best - moves more like a baitfish in the wash than a heavily weighted fly

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Great thread folks. I have clousers book and have found his specifics have purpose. I refer to it regularly to make sure I tie them as close to his style as possible.

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Another question about eyes weight: is there a ratio of eyes weight to hook weight to insure a Clouser Deep Minnow swims properly, i.e. hook point up? If youre interested in finding out more about why I'm asking, please read my post of a few minutes ago on "Clouser eyes" in the Fly Fishing Forum.

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Lashing the belly hair fore and aft of the dumbbell eyes is the most common mistake made when tying Clouser’s. 
Done properly there is a gap both fore and aft of the eyes. Large enough to easily slide your bodkin needle thru. 

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