This month’s Declouser pattern is not a French version of a Clouser fly but is instead a very useful pattern that has proven successful on a broad array of our Aussie species.
The pattern is basically a cross between a deceiver and a Clouser, hence the moniker, and has a great action in the water. It has proven successful on a large number of species and I have used it to great success for both Murray cod and barramundi over the years.
Other species that would be tempted by this pattern will include mangrove jack, estuary cod, trevally, cobia, queenfish and most other species that eat larger baitfish.
The Declouser pattern has a fairly long thin profile and as such it can possess a lot of action in the water when worked with short, sharp strips.
Due to the weighted eye, the Declouser will sink head first between strips. A series of short, sharp strips will have the Declouser possessing a vibrant, injured baitfish action, which will naturally excite any predatory species that sees it. The long tail will appear to kick the fly along, but in reality it is the properties of the sinking eye that cause the head of the fly to sink between strips and therefore the tail appears to kick just like a struggling baitfish.
Another way to work the Declouser is with single, long strips and sizeable pauses between. This will see the Declouser resembling the darting action of a frantic garfish, which is again a very popular retrieve to entice a broad array of species. This is the retrieve I have used along rock walls to target barramundi.
Whilst I’ve mainly fished the Declouser on an intermediate line, it can also be delivered on a floating or fast sinking line. When a floating line is used, you will be able to fish the Declouser at a depth of around two-thirds the length of the leader you are using. For example if a 3m leader is being used, you will be able to present this fly as deep as 2m. This is usually enough for fishing rock walls, along the face of weed beds and also around submerged timber and other structure in rivers where Murray cod are present.
If you wanted to get the Declouser extremely deep or use it in an area with fast current flow, then a fast sinking line would be a good option. Because I have mainly needed to fish the Declouser in 4-5m of water, I have opted for the intermediate line in the past.
Both deceivers and Clousers are relatively old fly patterns and as a result they are generally tied mainly with natural materials instead of synthetics. As the Declouser is a merger of the two patterns, I also try to tie it with mainly natural materials.
We have added the enticement of a little flash but the original patterns didn’t have this addition. The holographic shimmerflash in the Declouser is tied in longer than the rest of the fly so that it is obvious in the water and can move easily as the fly is stripped.
Differing weights and styles of lead eyes can be used, depending on the fishing situation. The colours of the hackle and bucktail can be altered to whatever combination takes your fancy. Often when tying Declousers for cod I have opted for garish, contrasting colours, which can excite or annoy the cod into striking.
I prefer badger hackles for Declousers, as they are of a two toned effect and usually have a fluffy marabou section towards the base of the hackle that adds movement and volume in the water.
Standard saddle hackles or even grizzly neck hackles would also work. The hook for my Declouser is the popular SL12S but any O’Shaunnessy pattern is fine.
(1). Place the hook in the vice upright and lay down a bed of thread on the hook shank for around 6-8mm from the eye of the hook. Next attach the eye of the fly to the back of the hook shank with a series of figure-of-eight wraps. Add a little headset to the thread attaching the eye.
(2). Cut around four to six strands of shimmerflash that is around four times longer than the hook shank and bind it to the hook shank just behind the eye of the fly with a series of wraps. Again add a little headset to the tie-in area. Whip finish but do not cut away the remaining thread.
(3). Take a portion of white bucktail that is at least twice as long as the hook shank and tie it in between the eye of the hook and the eye of the fly. Now fold it down over the eye of the fly so it sits in the recess between the two sides of the eye and then secure it again just behind the eye of the fly with several wraps of thread. It will help to hold up the bucktail above the hook shank as you tie it in so that it is affixed to the top of the shank but not around it.
(4). Attach two to three badger hackles to each side of the hook shank as shown, with the tie-in point being just behind the eye of the fly. When tying in hackles, start with light wraps until the hackles are positioned where you want them, then increase the pressure with a few tighter wraps to secure them. Whip finish again at this point but do not cut away the remaining thread. Apply a little head cement to the tie-in point to make the fly more durable.
(5). Take the fly out of the vice, turn it over and put it back in the vice as shown. Pass the thread over the top of the eye so that you are ready to tie between the eye of the fly and the eye of the hook. Cut a length of the chartreuse bucktail, that is at least as long, or a little longer, than the previous white bucktail. Cut the base of the bucktail to a small taper to make tying-in easier. Tie it in between the eye of the fly and the eye of the hook as shown.
(6). Whip finish at this point, cut away the remaining thread and add a little head cement to the whip finish and nose cone area to provide extra durability. Trim the shimmerflash so that it protrudes no more than a centimeter past the end of the badger hackle. The Declouser is now ready to catch an array of species.
|HOOK:||Gamakatsu SL12S 4/0|
|THREAD:||Flat-waxed nylon black|
|EYE:||Dumbbell large (painted chartreuse, black pupil)|
|FLASH:||Shimmerflash regular holographic gold|
|TAIL:||Badger hackle chartreuse|