What is the Best Saltwater Fishing Fly?
What is the best saltwater fishing fly? The best saltwater fishing fly is the Clouser Minnow. It is a very versatile fly. It can be tied in any size or color pattern. Clouser Minnow flies can be tied to mimic bait fish and crustaceans. Capt Jim Klopfer is a fishing guide in Florida and uses the Clouser Minnow on all of hish fly fishing trips.
The Clouser Minnow was invented by Bob Clouser as a smallmouth bass fly. Bob fished the Susquehanna River. It was not long before saltwater anglers discovered how effective this fly was on a wide variety of species. It will catch just about every saltwater game fish species.
Versatility is what makes the Clouser Deep Minnow the best saltwater fishing fly. It can be tied on any hook size. The weight of the eyes can be varied for multiple applications. Every color combination imaginable can be utilized to mimic any type of forage.
Clouser Minnow details
The Clouser Minnow consists of a hook, weighted eyes, and some dressing. If this sounds familiar, it should. That is basically the description of a buck tail jig, which is a very effective saltwater fishing lure.
The fly is usually tied with two different colors. In most cases, anglers use white on the bottom and a contrasting color on the top. White and chartreuse is a very popular color pattern. Dark natural colors such as green and olive work well, too. Anglers can certainly use two dark colors as well as one color. All white Clouser Minnows are extremely effective in clear water.
Most anglers add a bunch of some type of flashy material between the two colors. This really imitates bait fish species such as silver sides, anchovies, and glass minnows. Crystal Flash works well and comes in a good variety of colors.
Clouser Minnow flies can be tied with both buck tail and synthetic material. Many anglers feel that buck tail provides more action. Synthetic material is deemed by most to be more durable. As in many situations, there is a trade off.
Weighted eyes on the Clouser Minnow
The key to the success of the Clouser Minnow is the weighted eyes. They get the fly down in the water column. The weighted eyes also provide the “jigging” action that makes the fly rise and fall when retrieved.
Eyes come in a variety of weights and colors. This certainly adds to the productivity of the Clouser Minnow. Anglers can tailor the fly to the conditions that they will be fishing. Heavy eyes tied on a larger hook and used on a sinking line will allow anglers to fish the fly fairly deep. Conversely, light eyes fished on a floating or sink tip line will work much shallower.
Another great aspect of the Clouser Minnow is that it rides with the hook up. This results in the fly being fairly weedless. It can be worked through shallow grass fairly easily.
Fishing the Clouser Minnow fly
The Clouser Minnow fly is fished like most streamer patterns. It is cast out, allowed to sink, then retrieved back in using short, sharp strips. As with all saltwater fly fishing, anglers should vary the retrieve until a productive pattern emerges. The fly should be a good imitation of the locally available forage. However, flashy flies will often produce as well.
Tying the Clouser Minnow
The Clouser Minnow is an easy fly to tie. With the hook in the vice in the upright position, the eyes are tied on. The eyes need to sit back a bit to allow room for material to be tied on the front of the hook. It is a good idea to add a drop of glue here to help keep the eyes in place.
A strip of material is then tied onto the top of the hook. Since the fly rides hook up, this will be the bottom or belly of the pattern. Most anglers use white for this strip. Here is a link to an excellent video and article on tying a Clouser Minnow fly.
The hook is then turned over on the vice. This is usually where the flash is tied in. After that, the other colored material (unless one solid color is used) is tied on top. Anglers can get creative and add a peacock strip or something to outline the top. A whip finish or half hitches finishes off the fly.
More excellent saltwater fishing flies
While the Clouser Minnow is his favorite fly, Capt Jim also uses several other patterns. These include the Lefty’s Deceiver, Crystal Minnow, and D.T. Special. We will briefly cover each fly.
The Lefty’s Deceiver was created by legendary fly tier and fisher Lefty Kreh. It is a definitive bait fish pattern. It is unweighted and can be tied in any size or color. Anglers can keep it simple or get creative!
The Deceiver is white on the bottom with a little red under the throat. The back is usually darker, with green being a popular color. It has some flash mixed in. It usually has a few feathers splayed. This gives the fly great action in the water.
The Crystal Minnow is a variation of the Clouser Minnow. It is a very good snook fly here in Sarasota. It can be tied to imitate both bait fish and shrimp and other crustaceans. White and pink are popular colors patters.
The fly has bead chain eyes. These are not heavy enough to turn the fly over. Therefore, it sits upright. The shank has some type of body material to add bulk and color. A tail extends to the rear. This is a very easy fly to tie and is extremely effective.
The D.T. Special is a very good bait fish pattern. It works very well for schooling fish such as Spanish mackerel and false albacore. It has the shank of the hook wrapped in thread, splayed feathers on the tail with a touch of buck tail and flash. Bead chain eyes can be added.
We tie a variation of this fly on a long shank hook for Spanish mackerel and bluefish. This really reduces cut-offs and eliminates the need for a steel leader. This in turn drastically increases strikes.
In conclusion, this article on the best saltwater fishing fly will help fly anglers catch more fish!