Tying the Clouser Minnow
Bob Clouser at Conclave 2007
At this year’s 2007 FFF Conclave I attended Bob Clouser’s small group presentation on the proper way to tie a Clouser Minnow. Following are the instructions that Bob gave us.
1. Tying on the eyes. At the 1/3 point on the shank behind the hook eye, tie on the thread with the usual jam knot. Just behind these thread wraps, tie the eyes on the top of the hook. Use X-wraps—not figure-8 wraps. To straighten out the eyes after tying them on, alternate your X-wraps; this will have the effect of pulling the eyes back into proper alignment. After finishing with the X-wraps (about a dozen in each direction), wrap beneath the eyes, between them and the top of the hook. This has the effect of pulling together all of the X-wraps and cinching them down tight. Apply glue to the underside of the hook to secure the wraps.
2. Tying on the white belly. Advance the thread to the hook eye with spiral wraps—not tightly spaced wraps, and then wrap back to a point ½ way between the hook eye and the eyes. Here are Bob’s guidelines for selecting good buck tail, cutting it off the hide, cleaning it, and tying it on:
3. Tying on the flash. Rotate the hook so that the eyes are on the bottom (this is how the fly will ride). Advance the thread to a point just behind the hook eye. Take 13 or 14 strands and double them around the thread. Tie the flash down and wrap back to a point behind the eyes. Part the flash equally on both sides of the hook point. Trim it longer than the buck tail (about ½ to ¾ “ longer)—this adds more movement and gives the fly a “flash tail” look.
4. Tying on the “back”. The white belly on a bait fish is smaller than the back; i.e., most of the baitfish is darker. Therefore, use a little more hair for the back (not a lot more, just a small increment). The length should be the same length as the belly, so as to not interfere with the flash’s movement. Cut and measure a bunch of the chartreuse buck tail. Trim the butts and lay them on the shank just a bit on your side of the hook. Use the “45-degree” technique to make the hair roll up on top. The tie-in point is the same as the belly. Keep all of the dark hair on top.
5. Forming the head. To form the head, wrap forward from the eyes to the eye of the hook. The head should not be too large. Coat the head with a thin coat of epoxy.