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Fly Tying Video: Foxee Red Clouser Minnow with Ben Baxter

It’s possible that the Clouser Minnow is responsible for catching more species of fish than any other single fly pattern. From trout, to bass, to saltwater species, the Clouser can do it all. Originally tied by Pennsylvania smallmouth guide, Bob Clouser, in the late 1980s, there are now many variations of this fly box staple.

One of our favorite variations is the Foxee Red Clouser from Umpqua Feather Merchants. This compact streamer is right at home in our favorite Colorado waters. The color gives the appearance of a fingerling trout, making it deadly anywhere you find predatory fish. From rivers to reservoirs to your local bass pond, this is a fly that you can take anywhere. Check out the video below, as Ben Baxter shows us how to tie the Foxee Red Clouser.

Saltwater Versus Freshwater Hooks

Crossover patterns like the Clouser bring up an important question about hooks – what’s the difference between saltwater and freshwater hooks? What materials should I look out for? For advice on this topic, we turned to our friend, Alec Gerbec, from Umpqua. Here’s what Alec has to say:

“When comparing the two styles of hooks, first look at the material used to construct them,” Alec told us. “The two main types of steel are stainless steel and high carbon steel. Stainless steel is highly corrosion resistant because it contains levels of nickel. It does not require additional coatings, giving it that classic, silvery look. Stainless steel hooks are typically sharper out of the package. But while nickel helps with corrosion resistance, it can also attribute to a hook’s brittleness. The more nickel, the more brittle the hook will be. 

“High carbon steel is a high quality steel which most freshwater and now even many saltwater hooks are made from,” Alec continued. “However, high Carbon steel is susceptible to corrosion without a finish. For that reason, companies apply a certain finish depending on the hook they are trying to make.”

According to Alec, a classic bronze hook finish will offer some protection. But not as much as a black nickel finish. Nickel is a key component in keeping the rust off. However, Alec noted that not all hooks with a black nickel finish are the same. It’s a unique process that each hook manufacturer guards like a family recipe.

“Take the new Umpqua X series hooks for example,” Alec explained. “They are designed to be highly corrosion resistant. These hooks have five coatings of black nickel finish to ensure that they keep the oxidization out.”

Alec mentioned one final consideration that goes into hook construction – what happens to the hook in the event that it is left behind in the water? One might ask, “why don’t all hooks come with the most rust resistance always?” 

“Hooks in freshwater take much longer to rust and break down,” Alec added. “When a hook is lost in a fish’s mouth or on the bottom of the body of water, it is important that its shelf life is as short as possible to leave a minimal impact on the fish and fishery.”

Tying the Foxee Red Clouser

The Foxee Red Clouser from Umpqua Feather Merchants is available here. Pick up a few to fish this weekend, or see the materials list below to tie your own.

Material List for the Foxee Red Clouser:

HOOK: Tiemco 200R - Size 6

THREAD: Danville's 70D - Beige

EYES: Painted Lead Dumbbell Eyes - Red - XS

WING & TAIL: Arctic Fox Tail - Tan

WING & TAIL FLASH: Krystal Flash - Brown

WING & TAIL FLASH: Speckled Flashabou - Gold

If you have questions about fly tying, materials or how to fish a Clouser, please feel free to ask! You’re welcome to visit us at the fly shop at 5211 S Santa Fe Drive in Littleton. Or give us a call at 303-794-1104. We’d love to help you get ready for your next day on the water!