Tying the Epoxy-Head Clouser

By James A. Capes

The Epoxy- Head Clouser has become one of my go-to flies when fishing for northeastern saltwater gamefish such as Striped Bass, Weakfish and Bluefish. It can be tied in varied sizes and colors to match the needs of particular waters, seasons, and species.

The addition of the epoxy-coated head improves this pattern's performance for three reasons. First, it makes the fly much more durable than a traditionally tied Clouser. When I am fishing the New Jersey surf, bluefish can always be in the mix.  One bluefish can totally dismantle a traditionally tied Clouser. Second, the epoxy coating adds a few extra grams of weight, helping the fly to stay down while being retrieved. Third, by filling in the area between the eyes and hook shank with epoxy, the fly takes on a rounder profile and a more realistic baitfish shape. This enlarged head also helps to 'push' water upon retrieve. This 'pushing' of water can help predator fish home in on your fly and can really account for more hook-ups during nighttime and dirty water conditions.

This pattern can be tied with natural bucktail or your favorite synthetic winging material. The fly in this demonstration is being tied with Super Hair.

Materials You Will Need:

Hook: Mustad 3407 Saltwater (2/0-2)

Thread: 6/0 clear monofilament.

Eyes: Spirit River Black I-Balz 5/32.

Wing: Super Hair, chartreuse and white.

Flash: Polar Flash, Pearl.

Head: Devcon 5-minute epoxy (Clear when cured, important!)

Step 1: Attach the mono thread to the hook and secure with six to eight wraps. Mono thread is 'slicker' on the hook shank than normal nylon or polyester thread so a few more initial wraps are usually needed.

Step 2: Tie in the lead eyes to the top of the hook shank, working the thread around the lead eyes and hook in a figure eight pattern. Varying the placement of the lead eyes will alter the fly's balance and retrieve. For normal eye placement, leave the space of two to three hook eyes between the lead eyes and the actual hook eye.

Step 3: Tie in half of your winging material on top of the lead eyes and hook shank. If you are using two colors for your wing, the lighter color is traditionally tied on the top of hook shank. (Most baitfish have a lighter bottom, darker top) Being on the same side, the lead eyes will cause this lighter color to be on the bottom as the fly is fished.

 First, fasten this winging in front of the eyes.

Continue by tying down the first half of the winging behind the lead eyes as well. In order to get some coverage of the hook shank, take three or four wide wraps down and back the hook shank as shown below. Once the wing is fastened behind the eyes, work your thread forward in front of the lead eyes.

Step 5: Rotate the hook upside down either by hand or by using your vise if you tie on a rotary vise. Once rotated, select six to ten strands of flash and tie it down on top of the first wing section. Fasten the flash in front and behind the lead eyes but do not wrap down the hook shank as you did with the first winging material.

Step 6:  Attach the second half of the wing on top of the flash. Secure this final section of wing in front and behind the lead eyes as in the previous steps. Whip finish and cut thread.

Step 7: Mix together a small amount, (nickel size) of five-minute epoxy.  I like to use toothpicks for mixing and application.

Step 8: Apply the epoxy to the area in front and immediately behind the lead eyes. Rotate the fly in the vise as you work the epoxy in. If you do not have a rotary feature, this can be done in hand or with the fly in a clothespin. Make sure to use enough epoxy to completely fill in the gap between the tips of the lead eyes and the hook shank.

Step 9: Continue to slowly rotate the fly to ensure an even coating. If you have rotating fly dryer, this is the time to transfer the fly from vise to dryer.

Completed Epoxy-Head Clouser

The chartreuse and white color combination shown is only one of many highly effective color schemes for this pattern. Other favorite color choices are pink and white as well as all purple or all black for night fishing. Experiment with different color and size combinations to match the needs of your home waters.

James Capes is a custom fly tier and river guide from New Jersey.  He can be contacted through his website: http://www.autumnbrookangling.com/ 

 

 

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