Thursday, June 18, 2009

Clouser Minnow v2.0: The Supreme Clouser

The Clouser Minnow is by far the best all-around fly ever invented. Originally created for the smallmouth bass of my old homewaters on Pennsylvania's Susquehanna River, Bob Clouser's simple little streamer has landed more different species in both fresh and salt water than any other pattern.

The Clouser has traditionally been tied using bucktail which gives the fly just enough bouyancy to slow the sink rate of the dumbell eyes. This combination of materials is what gives the fly its highly effective, bouncing retrieve. The only problem with the bucktail Clouser is that it's not especially durable. It only takes a couple of whacks by hard mouthed species like tarpon or snook to mess up the natural hairs and make the fly unusable.

If you tie your own flies this isn't much of a problem. The Clouser is one of the easiest patterns and can be tied properly in about two minutes. You can spend an hour at the vice and have all you'll need for a trip to Vieques or anywhere else. Even if you're not a tyer, Clousers are usually one of the least expensive patterns at your local fly shop and you can find them online for as little as $2 a piece.

One thing I like to do is tie several Clousers using synthetic Supreme Hair instead of the natural bucktail. This material is inexpensive, easy to work with, and makes the fly very durable. Their action is nearly the same but they sink quicker, which makes them a great choice for blind casting over the reefs and deeper flats. I've had Supreme Clousers stand up to multiple barracuda hits in the Keys and all over the Caribbean. When I'm up in Southwest Florida I use this fly as soon as I find a big school of ladyfish or small sea trout. When the strikes are coming one after the other, a Supreme Clouser will keep you in the action much longer than a natural version.