Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Clouser Minnow (Herring) (Extended Hook)

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Every year, during the month of May, a highly anticipated event in Puget Sound triggers a feeding frenzy among the resident coho.  This frenzy last all the way up until the time the fish start staging at the estuaries and/or mouths of rivers and creeks.  As the weather warm with the new season the fish turn the majority of their attention to baitfish. During the next 4 to 5 months these coho will gorge themselves on small herring, sandlance and smelt.  Many will put on as much as two pounds per month!  By the end of August the big ocean returning coho will be in the mix, too!  It is an exciting time for Puget Sound fly anglers as the fish love larger baitfish patterns retrieved fast.

The world renowned Clouser Minnow is a staple for many Puget Sound fly anglers.  It is tied in numerous variations from thick to imitate herring and smelt, thin for sandlance and even a stubby version for shrimp patterns.  Color combinations are numerous, but usually bright fluorescent colors dominate the fly boxes.  

There's no subtle take from a coho chasing a fleeing baitfish patterns.   Frankly, it is heart-stopping followed by a 3-foot leap into the air before you gain your senses.  With a fast or an extremely quick retrieve short strikes are very common.  To help alleviate this a small section of Fireline is doubled and tied to the shank after the eyes have been secure to the shank.  Once the fly is completed the hook shank  is cut with wire cutters just behind the area securing the Fireline.  Then a standard octopus style of hook is added by lining the Fireline through the eye of the hook and the loop is brought over the hook and drawn tight.   This will definitely improve your hook up ratio anytime a fast retrieve is utilized.

One tying note...  Leave the underfur intact!  It will help build a nice profile to your herring and smelt patterns.


Hook:  Mustad 34007DT, (or choice) (The cheaper the better) Size is not too important as the hook will be cut.   A small section of Fireline in doubled and tied in.  Length is dictated the size of the fly.  Any octopus style hook is inserted into the loop.
Thread:  Lagartun XX-strong, 100D
Eyes:  Real Eyes, 5/16"
Belly:  Arctic fox or craft fur, white.  Once belly is tied in the hook is removed and placed upside down.  A few strands of your favorite flash material is added.  (Pictured is a few strands of Polar Fiber in purple and a few strands of Minnow Belly
Wing:  Arctic fox or craft fur (white) tied in two separate bunches with strands of flash between the bunches. (Same as above.)
Overwing:  Fish Scale, light olive

Clouser Minnow, Saltwater Salmon Patterns, Fish Scale, Craft Fur