Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Flashy Butt Clouser

The Clouser Deep Minnow, or as it is more commonly known "the Clouser" is one of the finest Saltwater flies of all time. Even though Bob Clouser originally designed it for Smallmouth Bass, I think it's safe to say the Clouser is used more in the Ocean then in Freshwater.

We Southern California Surf Flyfishers have been using the Clouser for a long time. It's considered a standard for the beaches, plenty of us carry them in Olive, Chartreuse and Tan over White and in sizes #2 thru #6. They imitate various baitfish and will imitate Grass and Ghost Shrimp in a pinch.

I carry Clousers with me on the beaches, They worked well, but what always annoyed me was how the Bucktail in the tail would be ground off from simply being stripped across the sand. The Sand acts as little razors and would neatly cut off each hair , often leaving short stubble and the need to tye on another fly.
I started using synthetic hair and that improved the longevity of the tail and the overall fly. I used Super Hair, Craft Hair, Fishair, etc.. each worked well but I kept playing with new synthetics as they became available. Some I liked, others I didn't ...

DNA HOLO FUSION  is an interesting Synthetic winging material, it consists of fine, straight fibers known as "Frosty Fish Fibers" that is  mixed with fine strands of mylar, known as "Holo Chromosome". It has it's own built in flash and because the synthetic fibers are straight, not crinkled, you can make slimmer profiled patterns.. I started using the DNA Holo Fusion in my Clousers and liked the resulting pattern very much..

KRINKLE MIRROR FLASH is a Flash material marketed by Pat Dunlap's Cascade Crest Tools.  As described on the Cascade Crest Wedsite it's a 'Mirror Flash with a slight crimp, that mimics falling scales". This stuff is a lot brighter then Krystal Flash, so a small amount goes a long way.

By combining these new materials into the classic Clouser pattern, i was able to produce a sleek Baitfish pattern with a Ton O Flash in it...

The name Flashy Butt Clouser came about because in the Southern California surf we flyfishers can target the California Halibut  ( Paralichthys Californicus).. It's related to Flounders and grows to 40 lbs.  It spends a good amount of time in the Surfzone and the observant Flyfisher can have lots of fun fishing for them.  Halibut mainly feed on various baitfish and the young of other fish. Baitfish imitations, such as the Clouser are used to great advantage targeting Halibut.  but other patterns have worked well for me pursuing Halibut. Ken Hanley's "Gold Bucaneer" has been a favorite for years, it's flashy wing of Gold Flashabou probably being the key feature that gets a Halibut's attention... I learned from fishing the Gold Bucaneer that Halibut love flashy flies... the Flashy Butt Clouser was born from this knowledge.
 The Flashy Butt Clouser has proven itself effective for Surfzone Halibut, fished in sizes #1/0 & #2 it does very well when the Halibut are in the surf targeting Grunion & Smelt...  But the "Flashy Butt' has also proven effective for Surfperch in the surf. and in the local Salt it's worked on Bonito, Mackerel and Barracuda. It has also proven effective on the local Calico Bass, when they are in the mode for really flashy flies. One species it doesn't work on is the elusive Corbina ~ all that flash scares the shit out of them... oh well...

Tying the Flashy Butt Clouser should prove easy for anyone who can tye a standard Clouser.. it's about the same tying sequence..


HOOK :  I have used the Eagle Claw 413 Jig hook and it works well. But I've recently been using the Unpqua S506 jig hook and have been happy with it as well.. I tye on either of these  types in sizes #2/0 thru #2

THREAD : Ultra 140 , white to tye in the eyes; Fine Mono Thread for the rest of the fly.

EYES : Hareline 'Pseudo Eyes', I like the Chartreuse and Nickel type. size the eye to the hook size.

TAIL/BELLY : DNA Holo Fusion, White . the Tail should be 2 1/2 times shank length. keep the bundle thin...

~~~ I'll usually tye a half dozen or so to this point. Then I will coat the Belly and the fore and aft tye in points with a light coat of Solarez Thick (or similar UV resin) and then afterwards tye back in the Mono Thread to finish the fly ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

UNDER FLASH :  Krinkle Mirror Flash, Pearl.. about 10 to 12 strands, slightly longer then the tail

WING :  DNA Holo Fusion, I use the following 3 colors the most : Medium Olive, Sky Blue and Neon Chartruse

OVER FLASH : Krinkle Mirror Flash, depending on what color of DNA Holo Fusion in the wing, I'll use : Olive, Blue or Fl. Yellow. about 12 strands on top and slightly down the sides of the wing. keep the tips uneven...

finish of the fly with a tapered Mono Thread head. Coat the head with Solarez Thick (or whatever one you use) and then you're done...

Now you're ready to hunt Halibut , or whatever Saltwater species you wish to .. (except those scared Corbina... LOL!!)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Carp ~ N ~ Carey

The CARP-N-CAREY is a style of tying rather then a specific pattern; by simply varying the color of the variegated chenille, Pheasant Rump Hackle and dubbing, you can come up with all sorts of variations.
The CARP-N-CAREY is based off of the classic Northwest Lake pattern,the CAREY SPECIAL. I've fished the Carey Special for years in lakes for Trout and found it easily translated to an effective Bass & Bluegill pattern.

I tried the standard Carey on carp and while it would get action, something seemed amiss. I begin alter my "Careys for Carp" by adding small Black Bead Chain eyes and this helped. Next was adding a Pheasant Rump Feather fibers for the tail (I normally tye my Trout/Bass/Bluegill Careys without a tail). This worked as well. Finally I switched to using Variegated Chenille and adding a head of Antron dubbing. These changes seemed to make the Carey a lot more appealing to Carp and by making a few color variations I found i could cover my needs well.

The two dressings I use often are as follows.

Light Carp -N-Carey

HOOK :  Daiichi 1270 or TMC 200r, sizes #6 - #10
THREAD : 140 Ultra, Yellow Olive.
EYES : Small or Extra Small Black Bead Chain, tyed under the hook shank.
TAIL : Yellow dyed Ringneck Pheasant Rump hackle fibers, shank length and not too heavy.
BODY : Yellow / Light Olive Variegated Chenille
HACKLE : Yellow dyed Ringneck Pheasant Rump Hackle, 2 to 3 wraps.
HEAD : Little Olive Antron dubbing, wrapped thinly around Bead Chain eyes.

The Dark Carp-N-Carey uses the same hooks and Bead Chain eyes, but has the following changes in color of materials used :

Dark Carp-N-Carey

THREAD : 140 Ultra, Rusty Brown
TAIL : Brown dyed Ringneck Rump feather fibers
BODY : Rust & Olive Variegated Chenille
HACKLE : Brown dyed Ringneck Rump feather, 2 to 3 wraps
HEAD : Rusty Brown Antron dubbing.

Other then the Bead Chain Eyes, I do not weight these, the eyes provide some jigging action on the retrieve (use a Non Slip Loop knot!).
Interestingly enough, besides being effective for Carp, as I had intended, the Carp-N-Carey also works for Bass and Bluegill... a Friend of mine as been fishing them in lakes for Trout as well... the Carey comes full circle I guess.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Slaymaker's "Little Brook Trout"

I am sure plenty of Flyfishers enjoy the thrill of backpacking into the high country and fishing the alpine lakes during the summer. Breath taking views and pristine lakes with often very willing Trout are your reward for slinging a 45 lb Pack on and Hoofing it in many miles from your Car.
 Been enjoying such adventures since the mid 70's and always a great time is had. While often the fishing is rather easy. there has always been times where you had better stay focused and on top of your game if you expect to connect with Trout.

Brook Trout have always been a favorite because they are very willing to grab your fly & are scrappy fighters. However I am certain most of the Brookies we catch in the Sierra back country lakes are the smaller 4 to 9 inch variety. It makes logical sense, there are far more of the "Dinks" in a giving lake, then their older & larger brethren. And most Anglers go to the high lakes with only a floating line and a fly box of smaller nymphs & dries ~ we're targeting the Dinks more so then most of us imagine.

I had fished the exact same way for years = work the shoreline or the inlets & outlets with small nymphs and dryflies, catching plenty of Dink Brookies.. I was fine with this as it was enjoyable & the scenery is the greatest.. occasionally I'd hook and land larger specimens -10 to 14 inches. but had the idea that these were few & far in between. But then i started a new practice : I'd work a promising stretch of Shoreline with a Nymph (my favorite over dryflies) and if all I caught was Dinks, i would walk back down the shore and switch to a #10 or #12 BH Wooly Bugger, then work the same stretch of shoreline.. and often i would start landing larger Brook Trout... This was a  pleasant experience and an Eye opener as well, not high numbers of larger Brookies, but a handful that would run 10 to possible 14-15 inches. fun fun fun indeed.

 I took to research about the Brook Trout and found some interesting facts about them. First off they are not really Trout, but are Char, which is a branch of the Salmonoid family and includes Lake Trout, Artic Char, Bull Trout, Dolly Varden, Sunapees, Bluebacks, etc... Char are easily identified by having light spots on a dark background; Trout have dark spots on a light background.. Char also live longer then most Trout species: Lake Trout have been found that are 100 years old. Brook Trout can live an average of 8 to 12 years, but are known to live to 24 years of age. Char also can become highly cannibalistic, eating their smaller cousins is no big deal to a larger Char.  And finally Char do not need running water to spawn. they are able to spawn in lake gravels if the gravels are of the right size and have a nice current that washes and aerates the gravels. in short : no inlet or outlet creek ~ no problem for Char.

Back in the 1980's the National Parks in the Sierra Nevada ceased with Aerial Plantings of the back country lakes. This resulted in some lakes going sterile of Trout, as being pothole lakes without inlet or outlet streams , the Rainbows & Goldens could not reproduce. the plus side was that for a number of years after the end of plantings a number of these lakes had small populations of larger Trout that you could target- until they died off & the lakes became void of Trout.
The alpine lakes with Brook Trout populations did better, if there was no streams to spawn in, but there was gravels of the right size, the Brook Trout could reproduce. so the dinks remained for the average Flyfisher to have fun with after their long hike in. in laymen's terms, the Brookies had no problem dealing with no longer having the next generation delivered from the air- they could reproduce on their own.

a Personal favorite pattern to carry with me to the alpine lakes to target the larger Brook Trout is Sam Slaymaker's "Little Brook Trout" .. it is a simple Bucktail pattern that imitates Brook Trout fry pretty good.  It is a easy & straight forward pattern for a Tyer to assembly...


Hook :
  Daiichi 2340, TMC 300, Mustad L87-3665A.. sizes #6 thru #10

Thread : Black 6/0 , Ultra 140 or Danville Flymaster

Tail :  Green Bucktail, with a shorter section of Red Floss on top.

Rib :  Oval Silver Tinsel, sized to hook

Body :  Cream either Dubbed (i prefer Hareline Dubbing "Cream") or Uni Yarn, Cream.
                keep the body somewhat thin.

Throat : Orange hackle Fibers, tyed snug to the body and half the body length.

Wing :   from bottom to top : White Bucktail, Orange Bucktail, Green Bucktail, Badger hair.
               each section is a small amount,
                slightly extend the length of each section from the previous.
                I often substitute Brown Bucktail dyed Tan for the Badger.

Cheeks :  Jungle Cock

Head :  nicely tapered towards the hook eye, coated with a nice Gloss head cement ,
                I use Hard As Hull.


The rig I prefer for fishing the Little Brook Trout in the Alpine Lakes is as follows :  a 4 or 5 wt. 9 ft Rod. the line is a type 2 or 3 Full sink, preferably a Uniform sink. leaders are of Flourocarbon and test at 8 Lbs. and a maximum length of 4 feet.
The larger Brook Trout are not as active in the daytime as the dinks are, so we need to go to where they rest and hold up in the daytime. This would be the deeper sections of the lakes , along the talus slopes.. in and amoungst the boulders and slabs that have fallen down into the lake. the shadows and small nooks amoungst the boulders and slabs are where the bigger Brooks will hold up.
It is a simple matter of positioning yourself to blast a cast out into the Lake and then carefully keeping a straight line contact with the fly as the sinking lines drags it down into the depths- this is accomplished by simply keeping the tip of rod down in the water. keep the line in your line hand as it sinks. any twitch or hesitation should be met with a hard strip strike, many times the Brooks will rise up towards the Streamer as it is sinking down towards them.
Once the sinking line has reached the bottom, you can retrieve the fly in a series of short fast strips, or a slower retrieve. try one method first and if it isn't working, Change your game.. figure on sacrificing some flies to boulders and slabs,and also to the larger Brook Trout that will ambush your streamer and barrel right back into their rocky nook.. it's part of the fun and price one pays to land the largest Brookie of their trip..

Besides alpine lakes, the Little Brook Trout will work in any roadside lake that has had Brook Trout introduced into them ; Rock Creek Lake, above Toms' Place; Twin Lakes, in Mammoth Lakes are two of a number of roadside lakes that the Little Brook Trout  will produce in...

Well You most likely will not catch high numbers of Trout on the "L.B.T." , You will most certainly hook some of your Largest Trout on it.....

Thursday, December 12, 2013


One of the fastest growing areas of Flyfishing in Southern California over the past 13 years has to be Surf Flyfishing. There are plenty of good reasons for this growth : year around fishery, only requires 4-5 hours, Close to Home, chance of catching something large is very good & particularly this year (2013) not effected by a below average snowfall. Simply stated it's a lot of fun.

 I've been flyfishing the surf since the Mid 1980's and must say the early years were a slow learning curve because there where very few other Anglers doing it. My only sources of information where the few and far between articles by Nick Currcione in the various general fishing magazines.. i would greedily gobble up any information i could find.. and the rare occasion of meeting another Flyfisher in the surf then was a good day indeed as we compared notes and hopefully helped out one another..
This changed towards the mid 1990's as more anglers began realizing that the Surf was at their feet and available year around.. besides the fact that getting good at casting in the Surf equated being better on that once a year Trip to Montana or Alaska. the Integrated shooting head lines where most welcomed and made getting started easier for newbies in the Surf. Fly patterns evolved along as well.. instead of using Bonefish patterns or over sized colorful wooly worms, Original patterns designed specifically for the Southern California Surf began appearing and really producing in the Surf..
 I had  come up with a few patterns of my own and while they would produce the almost always agreeable Surf perch, the other species available, notably the elusive Corbina would often prove impossible.. So I kept at it, experimenting, trying new materials and adjusting them... Finally in late 2003 I came up with the RAZZLER........

HOOK :   Gamakatsu SS15, or any standard Saltwater hook, sizes #2 ~ #8

  Flo. Fire orange 140 Ultra thread or Fire Orange 6/0 Danville

Black Dazl eyes, sized to hook

  Tan over Hot orange Calf tail, slim amounts of each. two strands of UV Tan Krystal Flash
             Along each side of tail, Tail's length is equal to Hook shank.
Rear Half - Lagartun Mini Flat Braid, Hot Orange, Coated with Clear Cure Goo or similar .
              Front Half - Crustacean Tan Estaz
WING : Hareline Extra Select Craft Fur, Tan


While it might seem to be overly involved to tye, if You approach it as a "production Line" assembly, I assure you it will flow smoother..:
Step 1:  Tye in the Dazl eyes at a point just above the Hook point, secure they with Thread and then Super glue them.
Step 2:  tye in the Tail so it extends slight down the hook bend. tye in the Flat Braid and advancing the thread to just in front of the eyes, wrap the Flat braid forward and figure eight it around the eyes. tye off the flat braid right in front of the eyes and after cutting off the tying thread. coat the flat braid in the CCG and hit it with the blue Light to cure it.
Step 3: Tye in the Estaz and wrap it tightly forward towards the hook eye. tye off the Estaz and then add the Craft Fur wing.. tye off a small head and coat that with CCG (Clear Cure Goo) as well..

The Razzler is now complete. I always tye up at least a half a dozen at one time, using the Assembly line production method I can kick out the half dozen in a short time and be ready to go...

I liked the way the Pattern came out, so i tyed up a few more and brought them to the shop i worked at the time, Malibu Fish-N-Tackle and showed them the shop's owner Wayne Caywood. Wayne liked the look of the pattern and stated that "It would razzle the fish, it's a real RAZZLER".. so now it had a catchy name, time to start fishing it.
I was smart in realizing that I was not able to hit the beaches as much as I wished to , so I tyed up sizable amounts and gave samples to a number of locals who fished the beaches often . I knew they'd put the Razzler thru it's moves and quickly figure out of it was a Hit or miss.. of course it caught the almost always hungry Surf perch, but my concern was for the Elusive Corbina.. and soon enough reports came in that the willy "Surf Ghost" indeed found the fly to their liking.. additional outings of my own confirmed the effectiveness on Corbina, along with Halibut and in larger sizes, Leopard and Smoothhound Sharks. I was pleased that the Razzler was proving itself effective..
 Then more reports came in from Santa Barbara to San Diego about the effectiveness of the Razzler. Jerrold P. Shelton, in California Flyfisher, wrote often of the Razzler's effectiveness in the Surf along numerous So Cal beaches. I received numerous emails and PMs on the various Flyfishing Boards from Anglers who reported that the Razzler produced well for them. I felt really good that a pattern i came up with was producing so well for other Anglers.. During the "Corbina Time" from Mid May thru Mid August, when Corbina are in the surf in sizable numbers, the Razzler proved to be very effective on them..

Turns out the Razzler also works well for Bonefish. by merely switching the Dazl eyes for Black bead chain Eyes and thinning out the tail and wing , The Razzler produced Bonefish at Christmas Island, the Bahamas, the Yucatan and Florida- this was most interesting.
Gary Bulla told me that in larger sizes (#1/0) the Razzler worked great for Pargo and Cabrilla in the Sea of Cortez.. I caught Largemouth bass on the Razzler and eventually Carp. I even heard of Steelhead and most recently Sea Trout in Europe have shown their liking for the Razzler... and all I wanted was a successful Surf pattern for the Local beaches... I think I achieved that desire and then some...