Clouser Eyes

Okay, so you tie, buy, or borrow clouser minnows. Head to the beach
and cast away, only to discover that the dumb-bell eyes have come off
after a few retrieves.

What is the problem? Tried to date: epoxy the eyes in place, tie with
kevlar thread, buy some from a shop, and finally casting lessons.

Thanks for any suggestions.


Rob Blomquist

Formerly Tight Loops
I epoxy coat the head of every clouser that I make after making them. And I mean I bury the head in epoxy. Not just a little glue down, all the wrappings, the whole dumbell, and under the wing.

It helps a good bit as the thread does not get abraded. But one has to realize that the work of a clouser is work that most flies don't do, and they may not last as long.

Genetic pollution damages wild
stocks, bonk those Hatchery Zombies!
I use about a half-spool of 3/0 thread to tie the eyes to the hook, and I do the X pattern both on the top and bottom. My eyes don't budge. Although, I DID have one eye break off when I yanked the fly out of a tree branch.

Also, I heard someone talking about getting a bad batch of eyes that kept breaking in half. Could just be bad luck.

if you use the lead eyes by all means encase them in epoxy fully since no matter how you tie them on they will eventually break off- I have swapped to a metal dumbell with indents to put in prismatic eyes - they don't break when you whack them on the beach. I don't like the look of the big epoxy goggle eyes - just a personal hang up i guess.

Also, for small clousers in shallow estuaries use bead chain - buy it buy the foot at a bead store - different sizes and colors too - then just spend a night infront of the TV cutting them into dumbells.

I love the way they whistle as you cast too.

Jim W

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
Several thoughts; look up Bob clouser's video tape on tying his famous pattern, and look at Lefty Kreh's tape on saltwater fly tying too, both are very helpful and those guys don't lose eyes off their flys. Also, use flat waxed nylon or Unistretch, and it will have some give and stretch to it. I think Kevlar is too wirelike and rigid. Wrap a sufficient ovoid layer of thread to provide a base for the eyes, so that the narrow neck of the eyes is not wrapped to the hook shank too directly, use figure eight wraps throughout and if you see those videos they show and additional final wrapping technique that may solve your problem. Many shops provide rentals or loans on these tapes. The epoxy isn't really necessary and I have fished clouser minnows in allot of places in allot of ways and for many species, only two or three broke. And it is possible to have a bad few eyes.Of course if you hit anything during the cast you can forget about it, they'll break on sand when they turn over at the speed of sound or nearly so.A well tied clouser minnow, without goop or glue,(especially not super glue which turns to a glass like plastic and cuts the materials off of the hook),should last a long time.


New Member
I started using se@eyes from Bidoz, they have this little notch in the middle that sits on top of the hook I cement them on and they seem to stay better, they have the indentation/lip to put on the 3d eyes but I agree with the other folks, follow the video and books mentioned above, as well. I have included some links I used to figure this out:
Where to get se@eyes

As Always ........JUST Go <")}}})><


Proud to Be Alaskan
I just use 3/0 and 6/0 thread and my eyes never seem to come off, that could of courses be due to the amount of fish that break me off or mayby because I don't paint them, this applies to big leaches too
Another method of attaching eyes

I also use the dumbelll eyes with indents for stick on eyes. I've found that a good heavy thread base helps. I figure 8 wrap the eyes and then use a thick nail polish for a first coat instead of epoxy as its seems to penetrate the thread better. After I finish the rest of the fly, I return to the head and apply one or two more heavy coats of nail polish after sticking on the eyes. I particulary like the cheap looking polish with glitter embeded in it (any teenage girl will know where to get it). It adds a lot a flash to the head, is inexpensive and extremely durable. I tied them this way for two years and never had a problem with salt or the eyes spinning around. One fly caught 15 dog toothed chum last year without fraying! Oh if you really want to add some flash you can overwarp the eyes with small diameter sparkle braid from any craft shop to build the shape of the head up. A coat of heavy nail polish over that will really sparkle...Anyhow my two cents :) :thumb:

Richard E

Active Member
I agree with Triggs; epoxy isn't necessary.

Lay a base of thread under where the eyes are to be placed. Tie a small 'bump' of thread where the eyes are to go, place the eyes against the bump, and start FIRMLY tying the figure 8 or X around the eyes. The eye will 'set' against the bump. About 10 or 12 wraps in to the process, sneak a few drops of super glue in the wraps, making sure that the glue gets between the thread and the shank, and continue the tie-down of the eyes. I find that periodically making several regular circular-around-the-shank wraps, directly in front of and behind the eyes, helps 'bind down' the figure 8 and X wraps.

I use monocord, and it is plenty strong. Don't be shy with the thread, it's cheap! A lot of why the eyes come off, too, is on the back cast the fly ticks the beach or other beach obstacle. I bet if you make a conscious effort to finish your back cast high that you will have fewer conflicts with the beach and lose fewer flies and eyes.


"Listen to me now and believe me later!"