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This Article appeared in the October 2006 issue of OnShore/OffShore Magazine.
With fall around the corner, SW Florida should see the fall run of inshore King Mackerel (Scomberomorus cavalla). These fish, referred to as “Beachcombers”, will be found right off our beaches and can be targeted with a fly rod. Fly rods 8-10wt with a sink-tip or intermediate fly line will be equipment of choice. These King Mackerel will be feeding on baitfish, so a baitfish fly imitation will work. I prefer an olive and white clouser because it mimics a vary of baitfish species like the Spanish Sardine. A clouser fly is the most effective baitfish imitation that every fly fisherman should carry with them at all times. In 1984, Bob Clouser found that attaching dumbbell eyes on the hook shank turned the fly upside down to prevent snagging on debris. Fly fishing icon Lefty Kreh has caught over 86 different species of fish on a clouser because of its baitfish imitations. Although my number isn’t that high like Lefty’s, I too have caught more different species of fish on a clouser than any other fly in my box. I prefer to tie my clouser patterns in synthetic materials because it is more durable than the traditional bucktail with “toothy” fish. To eliminate a heavy bite tippet and cutoffs, I use a 6” piece of 30-50lb wire attached to my fly using a haywire twist to a small Spro #10 black swivel and attach it to my leader using a clinch knot. I will fabricate 12 or so of this setup the night before so I can replace or change my fly pattern quickly with no time or effort. To target these fish you can either chum them up to the boat or look for them skyrocketing out of the water and slowly and quietly troll over to the area and start casting.
Materials: Hook: Daiichi 2546 size #2 to 1/0
Eyes: Small or Large Red Lead Dumbbell Eyes.
Material: White and Olive Flash-N-Slinky
Thread: White 3/0
Step 1- Attach thread and lead eyes to the hook shank. Move thread to towards the hook eye. Add small amount cement to the thread holding the lead eyes on.
Step 2- Attach White Flash-N-Slinky just behind the hook eye and move thread back just behind the lead eyes. Attach the back half of the White Flash-N-Slinky wrapping the thread to the hook point (This will keep the underside white from fouling on the hook bend). Move thread back to the area behind the hook eyes.
Step 3 - Rotate the vise upside down and attach Olive Flash-N-Slinky, wrapping your thread back, stopping before the lead eyes. Whip fish and add a small amount of cement to the head.
(Tip: You do not need a lot of material to tie this fly, a nice sparsely tied clouser is more effective than one that has a lot of material, also known as “over dressed”, on it.)
Kevin Cooke is the Shop manager at Casey Key Anglers and Outfitters located in Venice, Florida. They are a full service fly shop, light tackle outfitter and offer professional guide service. For more information, please visit the shop's website at www.caseykeyanglersandoutfitters.com or phone (941) 483-1115