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Eyes of all kinds - tie them better
Bead chain eyes
You will see that many of the Danish saltwater flies -- The Magnus, Bjarke and Grey Frede are prime examples -- have bead chain eyes. These eyes serve two purposes: weight and imitation. The eyes till add quite a bit of weight in the front end of the fly and the balls obviously look like eyes. Their shiny surface even adds an attractive feature that will glimpse and get the attention of the fish.
The eyes are made from bead chain. This is the type of chain that is ofte found between bathtub walls and drainage plugs. It can also be bought in hardware stores in different sizes. I have a variety of sizes and use them depending on hook size and weight.
I've seen plastic bead chain eyes too in a few tackle shops, but never used them. What I have used is pearls and copper thread, a technique I'll explain later.
No big deal
Tying in the eyes is no big deal. A couple of tips though:
- I normally tie the eyes in under the hook shank. Putting them on top can sometimes tip the fly over, making it swim upside-down.
- Don't cut the set of eyes you want to use from the chain before they are secured with a couple of thread wraps.
- Adjust the horizontal position of the eyes perpendicular to the hook shank with criss-cross (figure-of-eight)wraps.
- Secure the eyes with horizontal thread wrappings under the eyes but over the shank (when tied on top of the shank).
- Secure the eyes with a drop of super glue or varnish while tying or after the fly has been finished.
Learn more about types of eyes and how to tie them on
More ways to improve your tying
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