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Clouser Minnows / Deceivers

The Clouser Minnow and Lefty’s Deceiver

Bob Clouser and Lefty Kreh were two friends who became fly fishing celebrities via two patterns that bear their names, the Clouser Minnow and Lefty’s Deceiver. Both flies were originally conceived to fish for bass: Clouser’s Minnow for freshwater smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River, and Lefty’s Deceiver for striped bass in the Chesapeake Bay. Both patterns work equally well in salt and fresh water – and on many more fish species than bass.

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More about the Clouser Minnow

Based on traditional ‘bucktail’ streamers, this was developed by Bob Clouser in the late 1980s and quickly proved to be a highly successful baitfish imitation. Simple but effective, it has evolved into more of a style of fly than a specific pattern, with many variations in color, size and weight. It continues to be used to catch not only bass but also trout, pike, bonefish and any other large predatory fish that eats smaller fish, in all types of waters from tidal estuaries and salt flats to mountain creeks.

More about Lefty’s Deceiver

Lefty Kreh was a strong advocate for Clouser’s ‘Deep Minnow’ pattern, naming it and promoting it via a number of books in the early 90s. Thirty years earlier he had made his own significant contribution to fly tying, by solving a problem common to the larger streamer patterns of the day: feathers used for the hackle ‘fouling’ (twisting around the hook) on the retrieve, spoiling the illusion of smooth-bodied baitfish. His original concept was simple: switch to bucktail for the hackle at the front of the hook. The very first Lefty’s Deceiver was white to imitate the smelt that saltwater striped bass feed on, but within a few years he had added a red/white pattern, and today many other colors and materials are used (usually still in combination with white) to match herring, sprat and other small fish in all types of water.

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