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Thread: Dumbbell eyes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Dumbbell eyes

    I see these sold by weight and by size. ie. 7/32" is this the lenght of the eye?
    Also see them sold as small, med. or large.
    These are going to be for a Clouser and Kwan. Hook size 1/0 down to a #4.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Dumbbell eyes

    The zinc eyes are for weight, if you want the look but don't need the weight you can use bead chain to put eyes on a fly.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  3. Default Re: Dumbbell eyes

    don't know about the 7/32 sizing but for the hooks you listed, I would use Large or Medium.
    Like Hardyreels, I use the Chain for eyes and let the different lines put the fly where I want, but lately I have been using the weighted eyes to basically get the fly down quicker plus better for rivers.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Dumbbell eyes

    Quote Originally Posted by seajay View Post
    I see these sold by weight and by size. ie. 7/32" is this the lenght of the eye?
    Also see them sold as small, med. or large.
    These are going to be for a Clouser and Kwan. Hook size 1/0 down to a #4.
    I just measured a few of the Dumbell eyes I have and the measurement is the size of the eye from top to bottom. So if you're looking at a clouser tied up from the side it would be the width of the eye you see, not the entire dumbell length. Hope that helps.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Dumbbell eyes


    It might be better to think in terms of sink rate and “splash down” rather than trying to match up dumbbell size to just hook size for chasing fish in Florida.

    You’ll want some stuff that lands gently and sinks slowly for spooky fish in feeding skinny water. Unweighted flies, and flies lightly weighted with medium size bead chain like Gotchas, Mini Puffs would be a good choice.

    For fish feeding and milling around in a little deeper water, you’ll want to throw a fly that can land near them without spooking them and settle quickly, some stuff with medium bead chain or x small dumbbells.

    And for fast moving cruising fish and getting to the bottom in deeper water, you’ll want flies that will get to depth quickly with small and medium dumbbells.

    Because flies with dumb bells can easily shatter a graphite rod if they whack the blank, I would stay away from the large sizes dumbbells at least for now. Eventually you may want to use them on fly patterns like size 2/0 and larger Half and Halfs, and stuff tied with Rabbit strips etc used for deepwater dredging over deepwater humps and channel edges. And casting clousers can be a bit dangerous—so pinch down barbs, wear sunglasses for eye protection and keep your hat on.

    Here’s a something to compare labels of dumb bell sizes, and some suggestions for flies to use with them (but not gospel-- feel free to experiment and use what you have on hand):
    X small = 5/32” diameter, if made of lead the weight is approximately 1/50 oz (kwan size 1, or 2, clouser size 4)
    Small = 3/16” if lead weight approx. 1/36 oz (clouser, copperhead size 2)
    Medium = 7/32” if lead weight approx. 1/24 oz Generally for sizes 2-1/0 (clouser size 1/0)
    Large = ¼” if lead weight approx. 1/16 oz . Generally for fly sizes 2/0 and up. ones.

    Keep in mind that dumbbell eyes are also made in brass (approx 30% lighter than lead), and tungsten (approx 30% heavier than lead) making it confusing when trying to compare between metals.

    To get some different sink rates, you might want to tied up some stuff like this:

    Kwans size 2 with Medium Beadchain and/or size 1 in x small dumbell
    Clousers size 4 x small dumbbell, size 2 small dumbbell, and size 1/0 medium dumbbell

    And bead chain, much lighter than dumb bell eyes, can be purchased at a hardware store for much less than in a fly shop. Get a couple feet of size medium (1/8”) Cut it into pairs of “eyes with the cutting edge of needle nosed pliers.

    Some good flies with using medium bead chain are Kwans size 1 or 2, Gotchas and Mini Puffs size 4, and flies like Whistlers size 2/0-4/0

    Hope this helps--

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010

    Default Re: Dumbbell eyes

    Thanks again Mark. Trying to get stuff together to tie some of the ones you sent me instructions for. I would have just sent you a PM but felt the responses would be better here.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    South Texas

    Default Re: Dumbbell eyes

    The chrome plated brass eyes are listed by diameter because they are machined and are very consistently sized. The lead eyes are classified by more generic measurement because they're not very precisely shaped.

    I greatly prefer the brass eyes because they straighten up better, are non-toxic, and don't break off nearly as easy if the fly smacks a rock or boat.

    I'd rather hunt fish than bait deer any day.

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