TMC200 Hook or similar, size 4 or 6 for me but whatever works for you
Red thread (6/0)
Lead barbell eyes ( I prefer red with black pupil) sized accordingly
One Bucktail White and a few more whatever other color you fancy
Some Flash (Krystal Flash or Flashabou), again whatever you fancy
I assume you have a vise and tools?
If not, you will need a vise, bobbin, and scissors at the very least....
Location: Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
Re: Tying Clousers
If you have a fly shop near you it's best to get the bucktail in person. Most of what I have ordered from a catalog has been pretty good. Key word being MOST. Try and get the longest thin haired bucktail you can get. I have a couple that the hair has thick bases that are kinda squiggly. They actually work better for spinning than clousers.
I use lead hourglass eyes, most of the time medium. I have fairly good sized fish here but this is a good all around size. I paint mine with ProTec powder paint. If you do just one end at a time and then hang them on a wire and bake them you can deform the eyes and not chip the paint, except the black pupil. I do that with Testers model paint and a tooth pick.
For thread I use white 140 ultra thread. I almost never use any other thread. You'll see the reason in a minute.
I used to use streamer hooks of one variety or another but have stopped doing that. I now use almost exclusively #2 Aberdeen hooks. I like a down eye hook for this and Aberdeen are a straight eye hook. I put the eye in the vice and bend it down. The tend to ride upright better that way. Where I fish most of the time it is seriously snaggy. By using these hooks, when I get snagged, if I can't get it off by casting past tha snag I can pull the hook out straight enough to get it loose and save most of the flies. By the way I have landed some seriously big fish on these flies so I am not worried about loosing fish over it.
For flash I have just about gone exclusively to Pearl Krinkle mirror flash. I like the look in the water better than either Krystal flash or Flashabou, and it seems to be tougher than Flashabou.On occassion I do mix white Glow in the dark flashabou in with the wihete belly hair. Orange on the fire tiger version I tie. If I do that I also paint the eyes with glow in the dark powder paint.
When I tie them I do a thread base all the way down the shank of the hook and cement it. I put the eye on by figure 8'ing the thread over the eyes, and make sure you don't crowd the eye of the hook. Then go under the eyes and over the shank a few turns tight to cinch down the eyes good. cement them in place. I tend to be tough on flies so these steps help make them last longer. Then I tie on the white hair. Then the Krinkle flash and I don't get overly carried away with that. 3 or 4 strands a side. I then turn it hook point up in the vice. I cement the thread and eyes from this side. Then I put thetop color/colors on, and trim the hair at an angle so the thread rides up nice. After just a couple of turns close to the eyes, I put the head cement on and start tying it down. The thread becomes almost transparent when being turned on with the cement. I whip finish it and add more cement. This drives the cement into the base of the hairs. When I do the final coats I also tie the body hair down temporarily and cement in to hair past the head a bit so when it's dry and unwrapped the hair lays back better. The thread will look almost the color of the hair it's over. This is why almost always the white thread. Any slight flairing or wild hairs can usually be tamed by running hot water over it as hot as you can stand and while it's wet and laid back right put it in between two layers of towel and lay something on it till it's dry.
Some of them I mark up a bit with magic marker like the Fire Tiger ones. These are probably the most versitile fly ever invented. I don't think there is much you can't catch with a clouser.
Tools wise just a vice, bobbin, scissors, whip finnisher. Camera for the fish too.
Do you make it to Duluth much? There is a fly shop there.
Like Diver Dan, I use the lead eyes and paint them. One trick about lead eyes that I learned from a tying session with Dan Blanton is to not wrap the eyes too tight. That's how they break! I wouldn't have guessed that . Blanton also uses jig hooks for his "flash-tail Clouser", popular for stripers on the west coast.
I tie my Clouser's sparser then Diver Dan does though. About half that thickness. They sink better that way.
Bob Clouser says that Lefty describes the proper size as being "the thickness of a 'barn burner' match"
I also tie mine with all the material on the underside of the hook. I've found that when the bucktail is tied on top (the future underside), it will wear out if the fly is dragged along the bottom in rocks or sand. An issue when fishing the surf
I most often tie mine on the Mustad 3407 plated hooks
The best resource you'll find for tying Clousers, is the book "Clousers Flies" by Bob Clouser. Loads of great tying information, including step by step from the man himself, plus a great reference book for his other patterns. If you look around, you may even be able to pick up a used copy in good shape.
I also tie with the lead barbell's, but additionally tie with brass, tungsten, and various size bead chain. Brass does not tend to break like lead, and does not sink as fast for it's size compared to lead, and although tungsten is very expensive, you can use a much smaller eye to get the same sink rate. Bead chain is fairly inexpensive, and works particularly well in very shallow water or on very small size flies. Bead chain is also readily available in most hardwares stores or plumbing supply stores. I especially like stainless bead chain.
I also use different sizes in all of these, sometimes tying larger Clousers with small size eyes. This still allows them to ride hook point up, but the resulting jigging action is less pronounced than with heavier eyes, they're usually easier to cast, and depending on how you tie them, often will give them a gliding action, more like traditional streamers, which can be very desirable at times. This is something I learned from Clousers book!
Standard Spring Wire Bobb Standard Spring Wire Bobb
Item: 3900001 Price: $3.75 Discount: 10%
IMO, you'll be better off buying a good bobbin with ceramic inserts. Griffin makes a good one. It will cost you about $11-$12 but will out last that cheap bobbin.
Cheap bobbins usually wear inside the end of the tube, often a groove will wear there that will result in frayed or broken thread. I made this mistake many years ago, and worn out several bobbins before buying the better ones with ceramic inserts. Now that's all I use.