Reviewed by Joseph D. Cornwall
Click Above For The Fly Fish Ohio
from the inimitable Stackpole Books, this near flawless hardcover (ISBN
978-0-8117-0148-8) is copyright 2006. It was twenty years ago today,
when Bobby Clouser taught us all to play. Clouser's Flies is an
homage to a fly pattern born of ideas and observations begun in the cold war
era, but brought to fruition in 1986 with the commercial introduction of the
Wapsi lead barbell-shaped eyes. Before this if you wanted a deeper fly
you used splitshot.
When monstrous talents like Bob Clouser, Lefty
Kreh and Bob Popovics are all pictured holding bragging-sized gamesters
attributed to a small selection of simple patterns, I pay immediate
attention. I've always liked simple, impressionistic, aesthetically
proportioned creations; they add to the enjoyment of fly tying as well as
fishing. This book absolutely epitomizes that philosophy!
One of the better chapters is Chapter 9, The
Purple Darter. In truth, Clouser has a full line of darter imitations
explained. In the accompanying image he even shows some of his
"Freshwater darters are an overlooked and
under-imitated baitfish species. As a group, the darters are the most
colorful of the freshwater baitfish species, and the males in their
brilliant spawning colors rival any aquarium fish. Darters are members
of the perch family. According to The American Darters,. more
than 140 species dwell in the waters of North America. They are not
found i the extreme northeastern United States, eastern Canada, and the
waters west of the Continental Divide except where they have been
introduced. Pennsylvania has at least twenty-one species."
are, indeed, a critical baitfish. Most of the small to medium creeks
of the heartland feature darters at a ration of about 1000 to 1 to sculpins.
Darters and Madtoms make up most of the early season diet of smallmouth,
channel catfish, spotted bass and many others. You've got to love
Clouser's response. He fields a simply tied but wonderfully imitative
line of Deep Minnows tied with calf tail and Flashabou or Krystal Flash.
In fact, he gives no less than fourteen dressings to imitate baitfish
throughout the season and in creeks and rivers near you!
There are dozens of great patterns shown in this
book. Patterns for fresh and salt water. Patterns for the top,
middle and bottom of the water column. Each section provides detailed
tying instructions with amazingly clear, color photos of each sequence in
the construction process. Clouser also shares tips and tricks for
getting proportions correct and for making tougher, longer lasting flies.
The Suspender is a brand new fly that Bob
Clouser introduces in this book. Keep your eyes on this one. I'm
already experimenting with this pattern for the white bass and hybrid
stripers of the Ohio River. I'll bet its a killer for the outsized
brown trout that stack up below the dam on the Cumberland River to feed on
winter-stunned shad and alewives. The Suspender is a neutral buoyancy
baitfish that is just begging to be fished on a sinking line to fat, lazy
Clouser's Flies, Tying and Fishing the Fly
Patterns of Bob Clouser is highly recommended. It's a great
resource for experienced fly fishers and new comers alike.