Will's Comments and Tying Instructions
Length of finished fly, 2 to 3 inches. I usually tie this for
smallmouth, in the larger sizes (we have fabulous smallmouth fishing in the lower
Penobscot River & the lakes of downeast Maine).
Mount hook upright in vice. Start thread 1/4 shank length back from eye
and build a small bead with several wraps. Move back and build a
similar bead to leave a "saddle" for the eyes. Mount the eyes on top the hook
and bind with several figure-8 wraps, then several square lashing wraps
(over one side of eye, under hook behind eyes, over other side of eye, under
hook ahead of eyes, etc.); then several "fraps" (circular wraps around the
square lashings - under eye, over hook, under eye, over hook, etc.) to
tighten everything up. Finish with 2 half-hitches. Glue these wraps
with a drop of zap-a-gap or flex-gap gap-filling super glue and allow to dry
(try not to become one with your fly at this stage).
With hook still upright, tie in the belly; make this just a tad shorter
than the desired wing length. Don't stack the white bucktail - the
naturally staggered tips help give the fly its shape. I prefer for the
belly and brown wing to use fine hair with good kink - this makes a more
ragged-looking fly, but one that has more transluscency and better
action in the water. Tie bucktail in in front of eyes, then cross under hook
to behind eyes and wrap gently back (so as not to flare the hair) for 5-6
wraps, then forward again & cross back under hook to front of eyes.
Now remove from vice and re-mount with hook upside-down for the
remainder of the fly.
Cut 2-4 strands of pearl crystal flash just over twice the desired wing
length. Tie in at the middle just ahead of eyes, then wrap about 1/16"
forward. Double back the ends sticking forward, and bind these down
heading backwards, again just ahead of eyes. Trim unevenly, so that the
longest strands are only slightly longer than the white belly. Don't
worry if they stick out like a porcupine at this stage.
Cut a small section of yellow Icelandic sheep hair close to the skin.
Pull out the short fluff and discard; pull out the long hairs & save for
striper flies; cut a length of the intermediate length stuff (which will have
hairs of varying length) about 2/3 the length of the desired wing. Tie in
just ahead of eyes. This is to give just a hint of yellow transluscency to
the fly, so don't go overboard.
Now cross over hook to behind the eyes & bind gently with 1 or 2 wraps
(this keeps the crystal flash from flaring & keeps the wool close to the
hook), then cross over hook to front of eyes again.
If you wish to add the gills, tie in a very short piece of red antron
dubbing (less than 1/4" long) just ahead of the eyes & tease back over
I stack the black bucktail for the wing as I want a very narrow, rather
uniform band of black the length of the fly. If you have some hair with
less kink, this will make a more uniform lateral stripe. Make this
wing-length, slightly longer than the white belly, and tie in just ahead
of the underwing wraps.
The brown bucktail is left unstacked, so the naturally-staggered ends
leave the fly less dense at the tail. Although still sparse for transluscency
and action in the water, this wing section is denser than the belly or
black band. Tie in just ahead of the wraps for the black band. Cutting
the butt-ends on a slight taper makes it easier to get a decent head.
Dave Clouser suggests putting a drop of penetrating cement on the
bucktail butt-ends as you tie them in. This makes for a wicked durable fly, but
I usually get by without.
Wrap a uniformly tapered head and whip-finish.
Saturate the head and the hairs just behind it with clear fingernail
polish thinned to penetrate the thread and wing materials. This should render
the pale yellow Flymaster thread transparent, so the wing materials will
show through; the lateral black band should be visible through the head right
to the eye of the hook, the dorsal head will be brown and the ventral head
Clousers sink nicely in deep & moving water, and have a very nice
bobbing action on a stripped retrieve. The inverted hook prevents snags when
fishing bottom, but may result in more eye- & roof-of-mouth hookups in
salmonids (although I'm cautioned that this might be the case, my
limited experience suggests it may not be so much a problem). I use this fly
mostly for smallmouth fishing, but have had success with some large
brookies as well. It's a great chub fly ;^) . These are good flies,
along with bead-head buggers, for late-season drifting with a sinking
line over springholes in lakes.