Without a doubt, the Clouser Minnow is a legendary fly. Not only can it be fished in different ways, but it's effective for a dizzying array of species. Clousers can be tied in practically endless variations, but mastering a simple version is a smart way to start. Join me and learn how to tie one!
Hook: Size 1 Mustad O' Shaughnessy Stainless Steel (34007-SS)
Eyes: Medium Dumbbell
Cement: Backcountry Laboratories Hard as Hull
Start by wrapping a quick thread base on about half of the hook shank. Next, tie in your dumbbell eyes by evenly and firmly crisscrossing the thread over the thin center portion of the eyes. You'll want to tie-in the eyes towards the front of the hook for the best swimming action, but make sure to leave a bit of space between the eyes and the hook eye for tying the bucktail later. Also, make sure they sit nice and straight. With the eyes tied-in firmly, position your thread to just behind the eyes as shown in the picture.
Snip off a small amount of bucktail and secure it behind the eyes so that the uneven pointy ends act as the tail. Although the material is on top of the fly now, this is actually also forming part of the belly since the fly rides with the hook-point up. I like to keep the belly quite sparse to help the fly swim better.
After the bucktail is secured, simply bring your thread in front of the dumbbell eyes, but not all the way to the hook eye. Once here, take the excess fiber ends and pull them over the center of the dumbbell eyes. Secure these fibers with several wraps immediately in front of the eyes—but don't go right up against the hook eye. This makes trimming the leftovers poking out over the hook eye much easier. Now, just snip off any little ends poking out.
Swivel your vise around so the hook point is now on top, or, if using a non-rotary vise, take the hook out and put it back in upside down. Now, I like to tie-in more of the same color bucktail as the belly—but use whatever color you want. The amount of fibers on top will be thicker, but still relatively on the sparse side. Line up the tips to what's already tied-in, and simply wrap them down on top of the hook just behind the hook eye but not up against it. Again, this makes trimming the leftovers easier. If after tying-in these fibers you find you'd like this area to be a little thicker, just repeat this step again until the desired look is achieved.
Now, take another color of bucktail (to be used for the back) and again tie it in closer to the dumbbell eyes than the hook eye. When these fibers are secured with a few wraps, snip off the ends to keep the hook eye free and clear.
With all fibers secured and excess fiber ends cut off, wrap the thread a bunch of times to form a nice, neat, tapered thread head. To finish off the fly, whip finish and apply some type of glue/head cement in front of and between the eyes, as well as to the bit of thread behind the dumbbell eyes. Done! Nothin' to it, right?!