Illawarra Flyfishers Club

Clouser Minnow

Text and Photos by Andrew Susani and Andrew Wheeler

Hook Mustad 34007 size 1
Thread 3/0 Danvilles or Uni Thread
Body Bucktail or Kinky Fibre
Eyes Dumbbell eyes
Wing Bucktail or Kinky Fibre

Bob Clouser originally designed this fly, hence the name. The pattern was originally tied to catch smallmouth bass but now has become one of the fundamental patterns for saltwater fly fishers. Used primarily for searching deep water, this fly is very successful here in Australia when fished over a dropoff or sandflat for bream and flathead. Tied in translucent, flashy synthetics, it is also an excellent choice for targeting schooling pelagics feeding on small baitfish.

Tying Procedure

1. Start the thread at the eye of the hook. Lay a base of thread for 10mm behind the hook eye, then tie a pair of lead or machined dumbbell eyes about 7mm behind the hook eye. It is very important that you leave a good space between the dumbell eyes and the hook eye, as this is where the bucktail will be secured.

2. Tie a length of flash material in front of the eyes and tie it back over the eyes so that it hangs out the back of the fly. Tie bucktail down behind the eye, leaving a fairly long tag end.

3. Bring the thread back over the eyes and tie down the tag ends.

4. Rotate the fly so that the hook point is pointing upwards. Take a second small bunch of bucktail in a contrasting colour and tie this down in front of the eyes.
5. Form a small, neat head - be careful not to clog up the hook eye. Whip finish the thread and the fly is complete.  


For a much more durable fly, this pattern can be tied with a range of synthetic materials, such as KinkyFibre, Polafibre, Angel Hair and Supreme Hair.  To put it in perspective, I have caught over 10 flatties in one session on the one fly (and it is still intact) whereas the traditional bucktail alternative usually only last one or two fish before the hollow bucktail strands get broken.

The other advantage with using synthetic materials is their inherent translucency when wet, which can only improve the similarities to a baitfish.

Many people choose to use this as their No. 1 flathead fly, and they are extremely successful as they get down to the bottom quickly and will stay there so long as you retrieve them with short, sharp strips. One modification I like to make is to bypass the first step and simply tie in a wing of kinkyfibre and flash in front of the dumbbell eyes. This makes them a bit easier to cast due to their slimmer profile and reduced air resistance. They will also sink quicker due to the slimmer profile and I like this when fishing deeper water.