Published Jan 7. 2024 - 1 month ago
Updated or edited Jan 7. 2024

Chain Worm

An upside-down latex worm, which is easy to tie and very efficient in high and dirty water

Nick Thomas

Worm patterns tied with a skin of stretchy latex can be useful things to have in your fly box if you are heading out to a high and coloured river. Vladi Trzebunia’s Vladi Worm requires you to source a pack of pink condoms for the skin. Clarke Pearce’s Pork Poker is a latex skinned derivative of the Pig Sticker worm which is tied with red thread and red wire or red vinyl rib. The Pig in the name of these flies is piscine rather than porcine, referring to the intended quarry of big trout.

Nick Thomas

These and other worm patterns are tied with wraps of lead wire to add weight and the dark wire is disguised by covering with thread or floss. I prefer to use the added weight to give some visible internal structure feature to a worm rather than just being a dead weight. My 74-Worm has a metallic pink tungsten bead glowing inside the latex skin.

Metal bead chain is another way to add weight to flies. It’s usually used to add eyes to streamers and saltwater flies where it adds a little weight and turns the fly point up in the water. The Chain Worm is tied with a length of stainless-steel bead chain along the top of the hook. This serves two purposes, to flip the worm point up and to shine out through the translucent skin.

Pink worm
Pink worm
Nick Thomas
Chain worm
Pattern type: 
Nick Thomas
Dohiku HDR #8
UTC 70 fluorescent pink
2mm stainless-steel bead chain and red marker pen
Fulling Mill 3mm translucent natural Nymph-Rap
Skill level/difficulty: 
Very easy
  1. Run on the thread at the hook eye and lay down a bed of thread along the hook and back.
  2. Cut a length of bead chain to fit along the shank.
  3. Secure the chain along the top of the hook with thread wraps between the beads. (Take care at the front and back of the chain in case there are any sharp edges left from cutting the chain). Colour the beads with a red marker pen.
  4. Cut the end of a piece of Nymph-Rap at an angle and tie in at the back of the bead chain.
  5. Wrap the skin forward in overlapping turns, tie in behind the eye, stretch and trim away the end.
  6. Build a small head, whip finish and remove the thread.
  7. Varnish your worm.

The version I use is about 3cm long, but the great thing about bead chain is, well, it’s a chain. You can cut it to any length you want with a pair of scissors (not your good ones) or pliers, and it comes in different sizes. So, you can easily scale up a Chain Worm to make a bigger heavier one should you need it.

Nick Thomas
Time for a Chain Worm
Time for a Chain Worm
Nick Thomas
Nick Thomas


Bead-chain as extra bling and weight....

Hey Nick,
Great fly pattern and good use of bead-chain.
Back in the '80s, when looking to add some bling and weight to some fly patterns for winter-run steelhead on Vancouver Island, I used bead-chain as a ridged back on the fly body. It worked great. These patterns are now called Ridj-bak flies. The bead-chain can be attached by overwinding it with wire or coloured floss and could even have a saddle hackle wound over between the beads. Looks great and fishes well. Can't attach a photo here but will send it to you via private e-mail if you wish.

Bead-chain as extra bling and weight.......

Hi Rory,
Glad you liked the worm.I looked up Ridj-bak flies and found a You Tube video on a Steelhead pattern that looked good. I've used chain along the back of a curved hook to tie shrimps with a dubbing loop wound between the beads and then a shell back pulled over.
Cheers, Nick

Bead-chain as extra bling and weight......

Hey Nick,
Thanks for the heads-up on that fly tying video by Piscator. I had not seen it before at:


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