Fur Strip Clouser Step-by-Step

Fur Strip Clouser Step-by-Step:

Bob Clouser’s classic Deep Minnow has long been a pattern against which other streamers are measured.  It is a pattern that Lefty Kreh claimed to have landed 60+ species on in a three-year span.  And one that I’ve personally tallied 30+ species on in recent years.  It is a pattern that requires no further tweaking.  Yet, many, including its creator, have done just that over the years; building upon the original design in an attempt to improve (or at least expand upon) its effectiveness.

While the classic example of this is Clouser’s Half & Half, I’ll highlight another Clouser-variant in today’s Step-by-Step tutorial: the Fur Strip Clouser.

Building upon the effective design of the classic Clouser’s Minnow, the Fur Strip Clouser takes advantage of rabbit strip’s natural properties, adding both size and motion to the classic design.  An ideal imitation for eels and large baitfish, the pattern designed for striped bass has proven effective anywhere predatory species prowl.

Gamakatsu SL11-3H (#4-2/0) 140 Denier (Black) Dumbell Eyes (sized to hook)
Materials Magnum Rabbit Strip (Purple) Materials Flashabou (color to accent body/tail)Materials Bucktail (Black)
Materials Bucktail (Purple)Materials UV Resin

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Fur Strip Clouser Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge or rotate phone to landscape)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Color Selection – Depending on your intent the Fur Strip Clouser can be equal parts Bass worm, Baitfish or Crayfish.  With that in mind, experiment with colors depending on your intended use.  Purple and Black as shown with an extended tail makes a great worm pattern.  However, you may find lighter colors and a shorter tail work better when imitating baitfish.  Likewise.  Orange, olive and brown should all be in the mix if crayfish are on the menu.
  2. Go Big – Clouser recommends hooks up to size 2/0 when tying this pattern and, as in the case above, 1/4″ Magnum Rabbit Strip (up to 8″ in length) in place of a regular1/8″ Zonker. While admittedly more of a hassle to cast, these flies may be as close as you can come to imitating the plastic worms that conventional bass anglers love. So, if you’re targeting largemouth, go big and see what happens. Just be sure to bring your 8 or 10 wt. 8″ of wet rabbit strip won’t be the lightest thing you’ve ever cast.
  3. Downsize It – While the above example is more in line with Clouser’s original intent, this fly also finds its way into Dave Hughes “Essential Trout Flies.” In Hughes’ downsized version, a small 3x streamer or nymph hook is substituted for the saltwater hook shown, and the rabbit strip zonker replaced by a finer pine squirrel alternative.
  4. Substitutions – While the majority of substitutions are addressed in Item 3 above, I wanted to draw attention to a unique product that seems well suited for this pattern. Referred to as “Bling” Rabbit Strips, this product incorporates a layer of flash into the underside of each zonker strip. There’s a plethora of available color combos and use of these strips could eliminate the need for additional flash (i.e. Step 8). Though I haven’t tried it yet, I’ll have likely placed an order for a few packs before this post goes live.

Proof of Concept

With big bass on the brain, I tied on the above fly over lunch break a few weeks ago and headed for my backyard test pond. It took roughly 10 casts for the fly to prove its worth as I briefly connected with a 5+ lbs largemouth before an unintended quick release.

A short burst of cursing later, I continued to work down the bank. And, after a few missed strikes, I finally brought a fish to hand. No where near as large as the initial fish, it was still a sizeable bass and more than capable of putting a bend in my 6wt.


Species Caught on the Fur Strip Clouser to Date:
  1. Largemouth Bass

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