Sandeel Clouser



A few years back our club enjoyed an excellent program by Dean Clark of Sea-FLY inc. Dean was generous enough to make available a nice little hand-out with information about equipment and fly patterns and instructions for tying and fishing them. One of the flys that I experimented with was his Sand Eel/Clouser. The unique things about this fly are how it’s tied and how it’s fished. First I’ll describe how it’s tied according to Deans hand-out.


Standard #4 thru 1/0 (Mustad 34007 or equiv)


White & Red Danville Plus


Lead dumbells filed flat for silver stick-on prismatic eyes. Dumbells are attached on top of shank 1/3 back from the hook eye.


A 6 to 10 inch length of red thread tied in behind the dumbbell and used to tie down the white bucktail at that point.


Light olive grizzley hackle 3-4 shank lengths long w/3-4 strands of Krystal flash tied in down on the bend of the hook so that it angles down at about a 45 degree angle from the shank. (When the fly is fished the hackle will angle up as the dumbbells will invert the fly in the water).


Silver flat mylar tinsel wrapped over a thread base saturated with cement, covering shank from the hackle up to dumbell. It’s a good idea to coat this with epoxy and let dry before proceeding.


White bucktail on top of shank, light olive on bottom of shank extending just past the hook bend. Use just enough thread tension to keep the bucktail parallel to the shank.


Bottom half of head (on underside of shank) colored with olive permanent marker. Epoxy the head, dumbells and eyes in place.

Fishing The Fly

The fly is especially effective in low light conditions over sandy bottoms where sand eels are present and stripers are feeding. First cast into the deeper runs or pockets and let the fly sink to the bottom. Keep direct contact with your fly and keep your rod tip pointed at it. (Be ready for a possible subtle pick-up while it is sinking). When the fly settles let it sit there for 10 seconds or more. Remember that the tail will be sticking up and waiving in the current. After a bit, sharply snap the line in about 4” – 5”. DON’T LIFT THE ROD. Let is settle and wait again. Repeat. A variation of the retrieve is to strip it back, hand over hand, for 3 to 4 pulls and let it settle again. These retrieves imitate the sand eel’s behavior of moving and borrowing into the sand, leaving that strike triggering tell-tale puff of sand. The take is usually when the fly is moved and can be hard and sudden! The technique requires a little patience and concentration but can be intense well worth the effort. Try the technique with visible cruising fish over the flats. Floating or intermediate lines with fluorocarbon leaders are usually the most suited to this kind of fishing. Give this one a try and… TIGHT LINES