Q: “The Clouser Minnow is one of the most versatile patterns around. Are there others you feel are as versatile and effective?”
Newark, New Jersey
A: That’s a tough question, but my personal favorite of all the patterns since the Clouser would probably have to be Bob Popovics’ Bucktail Deceiver. I regard Bob as the most innovative fly tier I’ve known and think his Bucktail Deceiver is certainly among the best of all his great flies.
This pattern is nothing more than a hook, some bucktail and flash. It has many attributes, but because the fly is so light (even in large sizes) and dries with one false cast, it’s easy to throw and lands without commotion. Unlike many fly patterns, the body shape is rounded just like a baitfish. It can be tied with weight to get it down deep, sparse or with extra bucktail so it swims within inches of the surface. I’ve fished the pattern as short as 2½ inches and as long as 9 inches, and in a variety of color combinations.
Bill Bishop is regarded as one of the top tarpon fly-rodders today, and I introduced him to this pattern. He once said, “I think it is my best laid-up-tarpon fly. Not only can you drop it in front of the fish on a calm morning without spooking it, but you can also lift it silently from the surface for a second presentation.”