Eyes, beads, and cones - history, usage, tying and fishing weighted flies.
Adding metal to your flies - for looks and weight
By Martin Joergensen
Beads or eyes are added for one or both of two reasons: weight and appearance.
|Eyes and cones -
Austrian trout flies
by Roman Moser
The eyes and beads discussed here are made from metal: brass, steel, lead - even tungsten. This will make them heavy and thus add weight to the fly. The weight will bring the fly down and often give it a certain behaviour - a diving or jigging motion.
But it will also add to the looks of the fly, the most obvious case being eyes added to fish or fry patterns like streamers. They really look like the eyes of the fish they're supposed to imitate. But also the shiny bead added to many larva or nymph patterns will act as a visual enhancement as well as a weight.
I don't fish jigs!
I know a few fly fishers who almost never tie and certainly never use a fly weighted with a bead or eyes. 'If you want to fish jigs, use a spinning rod' they will say.
Well, I respect that view, but absolutely do not share it. I will gladly use a bead head pattern on any stream and most of my favorite salt water patterns have eyes of some kind. I don't particularly like the heaviest patterns with heavy wire hooks and lead dumbbell eyes, but I admit that my limit is flexible and that I sometimes fish flies that are quite heavy.
|A small addendum to the bead head story
By Bas Verschoor
I am partly responsible for the 'beadhead craze' in the US. Roman Moser, Theo Bakelaar and I were experimenting with beads of all kinds, back in the early 80's.
I took my first beadhead nymphs with me to Montana and Idaho in July/August 1982. There I showed them to flyfishers and tackle shop owners. They all gave me strange looks, asking me with some disbelief ... "Can you really catch fish on these?".
I fished the Gallatin, the Yellowstone and the Madison with them, and... literally
"knocked 'em dead!". Took a 58 cm, (23.2 inch) brown trout on the Madison, between Hebgen and Quake lake... a fish I'll never forget. Yes, Sir....I'm a beadman all the way!