re: the question of whether I am modifying - I am constantly modifying every fly pattern I tie. For instance I don't bother to use any bucktail in that particular fly anymore. I save the bucktail for slabsided baitfish flies like the bigeye baitfish and my variations thereof. The angelhair was pretty heavy on those flies because of the dark brown merrimac water. Most often I weave it into the ultrahair, something I used to reserve for summer flats fishing on monomoy with a few strands only but it works to add life to synthetics in bigger quantities as well. I've gotten the fly to the point where it rarely fouls. The key is in how the fly is constructed (e.g.: "layered") and the way the material is tapered when tied in. Perhaps the best thing would be to sit down and tie a few up with you sometime, maybe at a tying clave or show or something.
Another trick I've found useful is the 'jelly belly', which is wrapping the shank in silver lined / clear rubber craft stuff before coating with epoxy. This eliminates the 'throat' yet replaces it with a life-like abdomen.
I am working on a deep eel with no dumbell eyes. The deep eel needs to have the hook ride up. The easy way is to add non-toxic recessed dumbells and eyes. This is where the 'deep' comes from, the Clouser deep minnow, which people call 'clouser' for short. But the clouser is not a sand eel, especially when we are talking about 10" rip eels, hence the 'eel'. Hooks that ride down need to be kept off the bottom therefore half of the presentation options are ruled out.
My suggestion is to work on building the synthetics with a stout elongated and tapered profile, and use the other materials for highlights. I've been working this pattern for a while and have gotten to the point where they are durable and foul very rarely.
Your results may vary! Good luck, and look forward to hooking up with you on a early low, maybe this week.