Largemouth bass are designed for short powerful bursts of energy and speed, not drawn out chases. They just do not have the stamina. They are still an incredibly efficient predator
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The Tan and White Clouser's Deepwater Minnow is the ideal weapon of choice for fishing Largemouth bass. They are cold blooded and extremely sensitive to temperature changes. They are active hunters in warmer water and become inactive when it gets colder. Largemouth bass seem to adopt a sit and wait tactic before expending energy to take food.
Conditions like the changing tide or angle of the sun cause the fish to behave differently. If you can pick up on these subtle changes and adjust your presentation of your fly you will be able to stay in touch with the fish. The amount of light penetration into the water depths also effects the Bass’ feeding activity, strike zone, or position in relation to cover and structure. Many factors like cloud cover, water clarity, surface distribution, and the sun’s position in the sky, determine the depth light penetrates. Heavily stained or muddy water also effects the amount of light that gets through and so does the amount of cloud cover and if the water surface is choppy during very windy days.
This is Bob Clouser the designer of the Clouser's Minnow
In the morning and at dusk the lower light levels means that the largemouths tend to be relatively shallow and actively flushing out and feeding on prey. Many bass anglers consider these periods as prime time for fly fishing. They actively feed in the shallows but are willing to rise to take a deerhair bass bug popper or Green Clouser’s minnow being retrieved to suggest a bait fish. Typically the greater the light penetration, the deeper the bass move or the more cover orientated the bass become. The bass move into shallow cover, boat docks, aquatic vegetation, brush, and timber, as the amount of light intensifies. If shallow cover is sparse, look for bass holding along major breaks into deep water, such as a ditch, wash, channel, or significant ledge.
You will hear fishermen say, “they were biting great in the morning but stopped as soon as the clouds cleared”. The truth behind that story is probably that the bass simply moved into shallow cover or a ditch. While the bass fisherman might fail to draw any surface strikes, a conventional angler flippin’ a plastic worm or jig into cover will probably find the bite is still relatively good. Fly anglers willing to adjust their techniques going from a floating line and top water patterns to fishing a sinking tip and uniformly sinking fly lines with a weighted fly like the Green Clouser’s minnow can take advantage of this situation. You can obtain a reactive strike from largemouth bass by ripping a steamer through the bass’ strike zone. Use long arm length strips of the line to rip the fly back to your boat.
Who designed the Clouser's Minnow?
The Clouser’s Deepwater Minnow, designed by Bob Clouser, is one of those rare fishing flies that works well in Saltwater as well as freshwater. It is a bait fish imitation design that can adapt to different locations around the word. All that you need to do is fish a Clouser’s minnow that matches the size and colour of the small fish that your target fish feed on. This streamer fly pattern has caught over 80 different fish species.
Most fishermen new to fly fishing believe it was designed to be an up-hook pattern for use on the flats just like the Crazy Charlie bonefish fly. This is far from the truth. Bob designed the fly in the mid 1980’s to deceive smallmouth bass that feed on small minnows that lurk on the river bottom. His local fishing area was the Susquehanna River which is a tributary of the mighty Mississippi.
He had been using split shot crimped onto the shank of a streamer fly in an attempt to make the fly pitch and dart on the retrieve like the real pervious little minnows who are always alert to danger and will quickly dart away. He was not happy with the action this produced. When Dumbbell eyes arrived on the fly fishing supplies market he started to experiment with his streamer designs.
He found that the dumbbell eyes tied onto the top of the hook shank near the eye inverted the fly. This had the effect of reducing hang-ups in the river reeds, weeds and debris which was a bonus. The real dramatic change in the fly was how it moved through the water on the retrieve. When first cast the weight of the eyes sunk the fly quickly to the correct depth. On the retrieve it moved up and forward but during the pause it darted downwards. Using short sharp strips produced a seductive jigging action that imitated the natural movement of the little minnows.
The use of long lengths of thinly dressed bucktail hair or the more modern synthetic equivalents, add more lifelike body movements to the fly patterns. When wet the hair bunches together to form a very slim body that pulsates with the water current. The size and weight of the dumbbell eyes can adjusted to reflect the depth of water you fish. If you fish in streams and skinny waters than a smaller dumbbell eye is a better choice even going down to bead chain size.
This brilliant Bonefish was caught by Clark van Nostrand on a Tan & White Clouser's Minnow
LINKEDIN READER'S COMMENT
On the upper Highland Lakes in Central Texas, I have guided sight casting trips for carp. We typically use a 5 wt. rod and 9 to 11' leader. My go to fly is the Sucker Punch size 6 -8. It is one of those looks like everything flies. It resembles a small crawfish or large nymph. I have also caught more than a few on clouser minnows, as well. - By Keith Barnes