Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clouser Fly's Success Lies in the Eyes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clouser Fly's Success Lies in the Eyes

Article excerpt

When in doubt, or when all else fails, fly fishermen reach for a Clouser Deep Minnow.

There are literally thousands of fly patterns, as varied and colorful as the imaginations of those who tie them, and new ones are being brainstormed everyday. Yet the Clouser, a relatively simple recipe of lead eyes and tuft of hair lashed to a hook, stands alone among weighted flies.

The Clouser boasts the same universal go-to acceptance among fly casters as a Zara Spook or MirroLure 52M does among conventional tackle users. You may not be able to explain why it catches fish, but you know it does.

In an article in this month's Fly Rod & Reel magazine, no less an authority than Lefty Kreh calls the Clouser "probably the most effective fly developed in the last 30 years."

Kreh, in fact, helped fine-tune the fly created by his friend Bob Clouser, the subject of the magazine article. Clouser's credentials -- smallmouth bass guide, conservationist, fly shop owner, renowned fly tier -- won him Angler of the Year honors from the national publication.

The honoree, who lives in Middletown, Pa., was in Jacksonville last night as guest speaker at the First Coast Fly Fishers annual banquet at the Morocco Shrine Temple.

Like Haley's Comet or Rubik's Cube, Clouser forever will be linked to his famous fly. In a telephone interview last week, the modest Clouser said the fly resulted from trial and error in his search for a pattern that would mimic a frightened baitfish and consistently attract smallmouths.

"We were adding weight to the hook, but you still couldn't get that fast, darting motion like a baitfish fleeing a predator," Clouser said. "Most flies would sink on a level plane instead of going head-first."

The breakthrough came in 1984 when Tom Schmuecker of Wapsi Fly Co. in Arkansas sent Clouser a sample of tiny lead barbells. Using thread, Clouser attached a barbell perpendicular to and behind the eye of a hook, then tied in a pinch of hair. …

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