Tim Cammisa provides some handy tips about tying flies with fly tying beads in this fly tying video tutorial.
Fly Tying Beads Tips
Tim provides a nice overview of the different types of fly tying beads available from decorative plastic beads, including plastic beads used to simulate Caddis nymphs, to brass and tungsten beads. I’d also add to this list glass beads which Tim did not cover.
A quick search on the internet for fly tying beads yields a bewildering choice of beads, particularly for the beginner fly tier.
If you are just getting started don’t worry too much about all the choices. As Tim shows in the video the primary distinction among all the beads is their intended function.
If you are interested in adding weight to a fly to get it to sink quicker, then you’ll want a brass or tungsten bead. The later are popular in many nymph patterns used in Czech or Euro nymphing.
Tim does a nice simple demonstration that shows the difference in sink rate of the various fly tying beads in the video. You can even see the difference in sink rate between the brass and tungsten beads although you may need to watch the video a few times to see the tungsten bead – that sucker is fast!
If you are just looking to add some color to a fly, then plastic or glass beads are a good choice. The latter are also a popular choice for imitating the gas bubble generated during the emergence of many nymphs. There’s even a whole book on the subject of tying glass bead flies.
Lastly, Tim finishes up with some tips on getting a fly tying bead on the hook. It is a seemingly simple task that can be challenging at times, even for those who have been doing it for years.