Posts Tagged ‘Beads


Fly Tying: Euro Bead to Hook Sizing

Kristján from Iceland @ reminded me that the mm designations are of greater help to many tiers outside the U.S. With his permission, I am providing his blog link for additional details re mm sized beads and their corresponding hook sizes.



FLY TYING BEAD CHART (Hook To Bead Conversion)

  • The 1/16″ beads fits hook Sizes-22 thru 26

  • The 5/64″ beads fits hook Sizes-18 thru 22

  • The 3/32″ beads fits hook Sizes-16 & 18

  • The 7/64″ beads fits hook Sizes-14 & 16

  • The 1/8″   beads fits hook Sizes-12 & 14

  • The 5/32″ beads fits hook Sizes-10 & 12

  • The 3/16″ beads fits hook Sizes-6 & 8

  • The 7/32″ beads fits hook Sizes-2 & 4

The principle caveat here is the bend of the hook & varieties of different hook brands . Barb or crimp the barb down to allow the bead to be slid onto the hook. The next potential obstacle is the bend. A Sproat hook has a uniform bend to the hook, which best facilitates the bead sliding all the way up to the eye of the hook. A Limerick hook is not suitable for a beads. Some Scud-Pupa hooks require a little assist to squeeze the bead up along the shank. Also, notice beads you buy in fly shops have two sized holes. The smaller hole goes over the hook point first. If you put the large hole first, once the bead reaches the eye of the hook it will extend too far and partially cover the eye, so reverse it. Bead shop beads are quite pretty, but the holes are a uniform size. If you are exploring a bead shop, first they are not weighted as a rule (plastic/glass). Also, take your hooks along and ask if you can experiment in sliding beads over the point and, the hard part, around the bend of the hook. Better to ask then buy hundreds of useless beads. When tying patterns, you will need to secure the bead forward with thread wraps and materials to stop the bead from sliding back over the fly even a little bit. If you notice your thread mysteriously breaks at the rear of the bead; some cheap beads are abrasive at the edges of  the larger hole and as you wrap the thread at that point, the thread is cut by the irregular edged bead…doesn’t happen often, but should it…that is why.




Odd, I can remember about 20 years ago when bead head patterns came about. The adornment of a bead was viewed by older tiers, in my circle, as sacrilegious. I recall a shop owner swearing off beads and not wanting to carry them in his shop. Of course, he was a competent business man, so the beads were brought in by demand. Eventually, the pattern bins contained bead head patterns. It is good for beginners to know that many patterns were not weighted with a bead or even lead wraps on the shank. The weight or sink rate of the fly line used was the determining factor in sinking an unweighted fly. It is good strategy to always tie weighted and unweighted nymph patterns. Use a different color thread for the thread head to differentiate weights of flies in the box. An unweighted nymph in 1-3 feet of water with a floating or intermediate line is much more efficient and tactically sound than the kur-plop of a bead head, bead chained eyes, shank wrapped fly, especially if a minimal or slow decent is required. Presentation, presentation, presentation….do you want the fly tracking mostly horizontal? Or, jigging in an undulating up and down and forward combination?


Eggs and Beads (Alaskan ‘Attractor’)


“Beads: The Bare Naked Truth E-mail
Have you ever wondered why grown men and women spend their free time painting plastic beads……Lurking in fly shop aisles looking for just the right color…..Elbowing teenage girls out of the way to purchase various shades of nail polish…….Standing midi-stream, mumbling to themselves, while staring intently into their enormous selection of beads? Why do they go to all this trouble when the could just use a Glo Bug?”

**Please note that in the State of Alaska beads are considered attractors, not flies. When fishing beads in Alaska’s fresh waters, a bead that is fixed or “pegged” so that it cannot freely slide on the leader, cannot be fixed more than 2 inches from the hook.

***Also note that because beads are not considered flies, you cannot fish them in fly-fishing only waters with a bare hook. In fly-fishing only waters a fly tied of traditional means (with thread) must be used with beads. A thread wrapped hook with a pegged bead will suffice in fly-fishing only waters under state regulations.


The E.B. Caddis Pupa @ Winona Fly Factory

 Justin Carroll at Winona Fly Factory tied up this dubbed and beaded caddis pattern (E.B. Caddis). I like it.

E.B. Caddis~Justin Carroll

E.B. Caddis~Justin Carroll

  Click pic for better detail.

What I like about Justin’s site is he makes no pretense of being an expert. He is a beginner and shares all manner of beginnings from tying, small stream fly fishing, entomology explorations, skinning critters, tattoo’s and assorted minutiae that gives him pleasure as he learns. That is what this site is about too, so I like the tone~sharing discoveries.

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