Eyes, beads, and cones - history, usage, tying and fishing weighted flies. - Global FlyFisher

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Eyes, beads, and cones - history, usage, tying and fishing weighted flies.

Adding metal to your flies - for looks and weight

By Martin Joergensen

Rows of eyes
I use a lot of bead chain eyes in my patterns. They have several advantages - but unfortunately several disadvantages too.
Like many other fly tying materials these bead chains are not made for tying flies, but are used for several other purposes amongst which holding bath tub plugs, roller ball pens and keys are the most common.
The chains should be widely available, and most hardware stores or locksmiths have them. But getting them in the smallest sizes can be a problem. Many fly shops pack small pieces of chain of appropriate sizes, These are unfortunately sold at some hefty prices, but can be a last resort.

Bead chains: inexpensive and easy to use. Adds weight and good looks.
They come in many different sizes.

Flies with eyes:
Fair Fly
Crazy Dane

Flies with beads:
Flashback Prince

Bead Head Scud
Goldkopf nymph

Flies with cones:
Coney flies
Magnus cone

Further reading:
The history
  of the bead head

Bead chain eyes
Monofilament eyes
Pearl eyes

Some advantages of these eyes are:
  • Very eye like
  • Shiny and stainless
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to handle
  • Adds a little weight but not too much
The disadvantages are:
  • Sometimes too light
  • Often has sharp edges that can cut tying thread

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