August is a month that usually produces good fishing for a host of species. Cold weather species such as tailor and stud bream are often at their best. Summer species such as school mackerel often start to show up at places such as the Rous Channel and around many rock walls and groins along the coast. Flathead, which are usually nearing their breeding period at this time, are also caught regularly in most estuary systems, creeks and inshore areas.
In August, water clarity is generally at a premium due to the westerly winds, and this clear water often makes the baitfish retreat to deeper water or areas of cover such as the whitewater around the rocky headlands. Flies usually have to get a little deeper to be in the strike zone, and natural, almost holographic colours are definitely more productive. One fly that can produce the goods at this time of the year is the Synthetic Hi-Tie Clouser.
The Clouser is possibly one of the most productive and universal patterns ever created. Its creator, Bob Clouser, originally tied this pattern out of bucktail with hair tied in both above and below the hook. I tied this exact pattern in the December 2004 issue of QFM.
The Hi-Tie Clouser, which we are tying this month, is similar but all the materials are tied above the hook shank. They almost act as a weed guard in many situations when they’re in the hi-tie configuration like this.
The synthetics we’ll be using in this pattern give the fly a lot more durability, which is great when you’re targeting toothy critters such as tailor and mackerel. The streamer hair is mainly holographic, which helps to replicate many baitfish including juvenile frogmouths and whitebait, which are popular food sources for many species in Southeast Queensland.
The list of materials for this fly is relatively limited, however the type, size and colour can be alternated to suit your personal preferences. A basic O'Shaughnessy pattern hook such as the Mustad 34007 or 34044 (old pattern), Gamakatsu O’Shaughnessy or Black Magic Saltwater Fly hook can all be used, as well as many other hooks. I mainly use and tie sizes between 2 and 2/0.
The Clouser’s eye can be an hourglass, Cyclops, Real Eye, dumbbell or basic lead eye and the size will vary, depending on how deep you want the fly to sink and also what rod weight you’ll be casting it on. Along the hook shank I like to palmer a bit of Diamond Braid for extra flash but you could also use accent braid or minnow body material. The winging material I prefer is the Tiewell streamer hair, but Kinky Fibre, Slinky Fibre, Neer Hair and fish hair could all be used. I find that the streamer hair is less likely to tangle with the hook than the other listed materials. Natural colours such as white, olive, polar bear, smoke grey, lavender and shrimp pink are my favourites.
The Hi-Tie Clouser can be fished with a combination of strips and pauses to give it a realistic wounded baitfish action in the water. Two or three long strips and a pause of a few seconds will make it look like a darting baitfish. This approach is great around rocky outcrops when you’re targeting tailor.
A ‘strip and pause, strip and pause’ retrieve is dynamite on trevally, especially in fast flowing water, when baitfish often struggle to travel into the current. When fished on the bottom around the mud and sand banks a continuous, slow, short strip will see it staying close to the bottom where flathead and several other species will find it irresistible. The holographic colouration is especially effective for flathead around the sand banks in places such as the Gold Coast Broadwater, where the water is often fairly clear.
Hook - Mustad 34007 1/0
Thread - Mono fine
Ribbing - Diamond Braid silver
Eye - Real Eye medium silver with self adhesive pupil.
Underwing - Streamer hair polar bear
Flash - Krystal Flash olive
Overwing - Streamer hair olive
Finish - Head cement
Step 1. Place the hook in the vice with the shank facing upwards. Tie in some mono thread with a jam knot or similar, where the hook-shank ends and the bend begins. Fasten the end of a length of diamond braid at this point. Palmer (wrap) the diamond braid forward along the hook shank right up to the eye of the hook. Tie it off at this point and finish with a whip finish but don’t cut off the remaining thread.
Step 2. Wrap the thread back to about 5mm behind the eye of the hook. Tie in a Real Eye at this point with a series of wraps and half-hitches. Once again, whip finish off but leave the remaining thread hanging.
Step 3. Turn the hook over and place back in the vice with the with the point side facing upwards. Cut a small amount of streamer hair, approximately twice as long as the hook shank. Tie this in on top of the hook shank between the tie-in point for the fly eye and the eye of the hook. By mainly exerting the majority of the tie pressure towards the eye of the hook, the streamer hair will sit roughly level with the point of the hook.
Step 4. Put a few strands of Krystal Flash on top of the streamer hair, making sure the strands are at least as long as the streamer hair, and tie in. Next, choose some more streamer hair for the back. Once again, it needs to be at least as long as the first lot of streamer hair you tied in. Tie it in just in front of the first lot of streamer hair and Krystal Flash so that the fly maintains the Hi-Tie profile.
Step 5. Get self-adhesive 3D or reflective eyes and put them on the Real Eyes. Trim the streamer hair and crystal flash so that it has a tapered look. Put a small amount of head cement on the area between the eye of the fly and the eye of the hook, as well as the thread attaching the eye and the initial tie-in point for the diamond braid.
Your Synthetic Hi-Tie Clouser is now finished and ready to catch you an array of fish species.Reads: 233