Rattle Clouser
  |  First Published: August 2009

Just like the human race, fish also use their senses to survive; smell, sight and the ability to sense movement help them to catch their prey. As anglers, we try to provide many of these factors in our offerings.

This heightens the fish’s awareness that we have a food source in their area (albeit often fake). Hopefully they will search out and subsequently eat it.

The fish’s lateral line is like our ear; they pick up movement and vibration in the water with it. They use this sense to detect the presence of predators and also to find other creatures that may provide a food source for them.

Many of the artificial offerings we use have been tricked up with noise emitting devices to heighten the fish’s awareness that there is a possible food source in their area – our lure or fly.

This month’s pattern fits the bill accordingly. It has an inbuilt rattle that emits a small knocking sound, which is believed to be similar to a noise produced by crustaceans in distress.

The Rattle Clouser is a variation of one of the most popular saltwater patterns ever tied, the Clouser Minnow. This pattern was originally tied by Bob Clouser and has been copied and modified countless times by keen fly tyers, all trying to better it. Few have succeeded.

The basic Clouser is a sparsely tied pattern with a prominent weighted eye. The eye is the main focal point of most bait species, a feature which predators use to line up their prey as they attack. Apart from this visual stimulation, the eye of the Clouser adds weight, which is the action catalyst when the fly is stripped.

The addition of a rattle also adds noise to the Clouser pattern and enhances its chance of being found by predatory fish, especially in murky water.


Originally, Clouser flies were tied with bucktail winging, however there are many new synthetic materials that anglers can use for the winging material. These are often favoured over bucktail due to their durability. Travelling anglers also have very little trouble with Customs clearance when transporting flies to and from Australia that have been tied with synthetics.

In this pattern, I have used the Tiewell Ghost Fibre but the DNA Holo-Fusion and several others can also be used. The size, weight and style of the eye can be changed to suit the depth of water, current and your personal preference.

The rattle used in this fly is a fairly common size however there are many different ones available at many fly-tying stockists.

The mylar tubing needs to be just big enough to stretch over the rattle and hook and many different colours can be used. Normally an O’Shaunnessy pattern or long shank hook will be required for the Rattle Clouser as most other patterns are not long enough in the shank to allow the rattle tube to be tied in. The mono thread is virtually invisible, especially when the fly is toughened with the addition of epoxy over the mylar tubing and tie in points.


(1) Attach your thread with a jamb knot at the point when the shank of the hook ends and the bend begins. Cut a length of your mylar tube which is at least twice as long as the entire hook.

Fray around a third of one end by unravelling the weave with your fingers. Slide this frayed end over the hook eye and slide it along until the thread is level with the start of the still-woven section, as shown.

(2) Wrap at this point with your thread to secure the mylar tube in place. Whip finish and cut away the remaining thread. Now, slide the rattle tube inside the mylar tubing. If your rattle has one pointed end then this should face towards the rear of the fly.

(3) Push the rattle right up to the tie-off point at the rear of the fly. Attach the thread behind the eye of the hook and tie down the mylar tube securely to just in front of the rattle, so that the rattle is encased and secured inside the tubing. Whip finish but do not cut away the remaining thread. Cut away any excess mylar tube, just in front of the tie-off point.

(4) Attach your eye securely with a series of figure-of-eight wraps at this same point, ensuring there is a gap of a few millimetres between the fly eye and the hook eye. Whip finish and again leave the remaining thread attached.

(5) Turn the fly over in the vice and re-secure as shown. Cut a small portion of the Ghost Fibre that is at least twice as long as the hook shank. Tie this in the gap between the eye of the hook and the eye of the fly. Whip finish and cut away the remaining thread.

(6) Use your scissors to stagger the ends of the Ghost Fibre to create a tapered finish. Mix a small amount of two-pack epoxy and coat the mylar tubing (not the frayed tail section), the tie-in points and also the thread attaching the eye and ghost fibre.

Once dry, the Rattle Clouser is completed and ready to be put to use. It will work well when retrieved with two or three short, sharp strips with a pause between each set. This will see it dart upwards, making a clicking noise like a prawn, due to the rattle.

The Rattle Clouser is visibly enticing, with added audible enticement, that can draw fish in from some distance away. Tie it and try it, you won’t be disappointed.



Hook:Mustad O’Shaunnessy 2/0
Thread:Mono fine
Eye:Real Eyes Plus (large nickel/chartreuse)
Tubing:Mylar tube (medium dyed olive)
Rattle:Wapsi pyrex mini 3mm pointed
Wing:Tiewell Ghost Fibre (seafoam pearl)
Finish:Devcon 5-minute epoxy

Reads: 963

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