Using Eyeballs On Your Flies

As many of you know, I love to tie flies. Because I tie so many salmon flies, I especially love to tie with beads, cones, and eyeballs. (See one of my other Tips for a discussion of tying with beads and cones.)

Eyeballs come in many different sizes and types of materials. Some are plastic, some are bead-chain, and some are lead. Different eyeballs lend different weight to the finished fly.

Getting the hang of tying eyeballs to the hook takes some practice. First, lay down a thread-base, then place the pair of eyes on top of the hook and hold the eyeball closest to you in your thumb & index finger's fingernails. Make 15 or so thread wraps around the opposite eyeball. The one that is farthest away from you. Then switch and hold the eyeball opposite you in your "pincher" fingernails and make 15 thread wraps around the eyeball closest to you.

To help make sure the eyeballs don't move side to side, make a few thread wraps in front of and in back of the pair of eyes. Next, make at least 20-25 figure-eights back and forth around the eyeballs. Be sure that each wrap goes under the hook and then over the eyeball farthest away from you and then under the hook again and over the eyeball closest to you. Intersperse the figure-eights with wraps over each eyeball separately. Continue until eyes no longer more around.  I recommending tying off materials and finishing the fly behind the eyeballs.

(See my complete article about tying flies with Beads, Cones, & Eyeballs in the September, 2007 issue of Fish Alaska Magazine