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Thread: bead substitute

  1. Default bead substitute

    Ok, I am a budget fly tyer, in other words, I am cheap

    Being cheap, I never seem to be able to bring myself to spend the money required to acquire a respectable tungsten bead assortment. I do have plenty of larger beads which I generally use for giant #10 Hare's ear and Princes etc. (My reasoning for having plenty of big beads is that I would rather have a giant prince or Hare's ear, weighted+bead, as a lead fly than a split shot.)

    I always seem to regret not having tiny tung beads once I sit down at the bench however and yet I am always too cheap to fork out the dough for tiny beads when at the Fly shop. I know what the simple solution is here but since when was simple any fun?

    So my question is this: Will the fish, in my case trout, notice the difference between a few wire wraps at the head of a #20+ nymph and a tungsten bead?
    (I am thinking of #20, 22 zebra midges, Higa's SOS etc.)

    One last question: Can fish tell the difference between gold beads and silver ones or are these colors simply for the eye of the tier?

    TIA

  2. #2
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    Default Re: bead substitute

    Beaded flies work for 2 reasons
    They're shinny without being frightening, which attracts the trout's attention. And they sink, preferably to the same level as the fish.
    Match those 2 characteristics and it doesn't matter what you use.
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: bead substitute

    You can build a head with wire wraps that equals the diameter of a bead

    They are called "wire heads" and are tied by Doug korn

    http://55onthefly.blogspot.com/2012/...ds-by.html?m=1
    Poor quality materials and tools are destined to discourage beginner tiers and cause greater expense when the time comes to replace them.

    Norm

    http://flytyingnewandold.blogspot.com/

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  6. #4

    Default Re: bead substitute

    Have you looked at the prices on Allen Fly Fishing. I haven't bought beads in a fly shop for awhile but find Allen's prices for Tungsten beads to be palatable. Might get pricey to order them in every color and every size but if you get your two most common sizes and only one or two colors it isn't bad at all. I tend towards the dull colors personally.
    - William

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  8. #5

    Default Re: bead substitute

    Quote Originally Posted by biog View Post
    I know what the simple solution is here but since when was simple any fun?
    IMO, the simple solution is more fun than fretting over nickels spent on beads. Maybe settle for brass in lieu of tungsten, since the latter isn't the answer all the time...or even much of it. Or get the discount afforded by a larger quantity purchase. If being cheap is most important, then try the wire.

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  10. #6
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    Default Re: bead substitute

    Quote Originally Posted by audax View Post
    IMO, the simple solution is more fun than fretting over nickels spent on beads. .
    I often imagine tying all my flies from scrounged materials instead of buying and tying what everyone else uses. That's one very "simple solution" which I think would be fun for me.
    Fly tying is an art and there's no reason why everyone needs to conform. What fun is that ?
    The Fly Police aren't gonna come and get you if you strike out on your own and do something different.
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

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  12. #7
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    Default Re: bead substitute

    Four or five lead wire wraps tucked into the beveled back of a brass bead will get the weight close enough to tungsten for half the cost.
    Lead wraps under the thorax area with a thread head are OK too. Like RIP said just be missing the shiney of a bead.
    Last edited by Jimmie; 12-24-2013 at 08:11 PM. Reason: sp

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  14. #8
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    Default Re: bead substitute

    Try adding a split shot up the leader, it adds weight without impairing the movement of the fly.

  15. #9
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    Default Re: bead substitute

    As already stated, a cheap brass bead and a few wraps of lead and it will be very close to the same as a tungsten bead. Allen beads are cheap and tend to go on sale frequently.

  16. #10

    Default Re: bead substitute

    Quote Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
    I often imagine tying all my flies from scrounged materials instead of buying and tying what everyone else uses. That's one very "simple solution" which I think would be fun for me.
    Fly tying is an art and there's no reason why everyone needs to conform. What fun is that ?
    The Fly Police aren't gonna come and get you if you strike out on your own and do something different.
    I never said anything about rules or conformity, did I? I took the OP's primary motive to be cost savings, followed by creativity. I suspect if 1.5mm tungsten beads were 25 for $1 at his local shop, this thread would not exist.

    Merry Christmas

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