How to tie in Bead Chain Eyes and Dumbbell Eyes ROCK-SOLID!

I was often asked, how bead chain eyes or dumbbel eyes should be tied in, so they won’t twist around the hook shank or getting loose. It seems like a simple task to tie them in, but there are some mistakes you can avoid to get a better result.

I didn’t wanted to do a „how to…“ about it, but I saw a good tying video about a nice streamer pattern yesterday. The fly tyer in the video did the same common mistakes like so many others. He used super glue to fix the eyes, but only at the end on the turns as a kind of topping, and as a topping, super glue can’t show it’s real strength.

So, I made some pictures and I will show you how to tie the eyes in – the ROCK-SOLID-WAY !

Twisted GSP

If you use G.S.P. thread, you should rotate your bobbin to twist the thread. Otherwise the G.S.P. is too slippery to create a good solid basement for the eyes.



Bead Chain Eyes (1)

Ok, let’s start with the bead chain eyes: First, brush some super glue onto the hook shank. I like to use super glue gel.

Bead Chain Eyes (2)

Twist the tying thread and do a nice layer of thread as a basement. Some glue will be pushed out between the windings of the thread. Don’t whip the glue away.

Bead Chain Eyes (3)Bead Chain Eyes (4)

Go with thread in open windings from the back to the front and then to the back again. Then, wind the thread to the position, where you want to tie in the eyes. You can see, why you shouldn’t wipe off the super glue from the first tying step. You should tie with maximun thread-tension ALL THE TIME!

Bead Chain Eyes (5)

Tie in the bead chain eyes with only 2-3 turns of thread, not more!

Bead Chain Eyes (6)

Now comes the „trick“: Brush some super glue on your tying thread like shown on the pictures.

Bead Chain Eyes (7)

Wind the thread with the super glue in figure-8-turns around the eyes and the shank, like you normally do. Make sure, that the glue is everywhere. That’s the most important thing. The glue is not only on the top of the windings, it secures every single turn of thread and so it creates a perfect connection between hook shank, bead eyes and thread.

Bead Chain Eyes (8)

View on the underside of the eyes. You can see how the glue is pushed from one turn of thread to the next to create rock-solid bead eyes which won’t move, twist or slip no matter what you are doing to them during fishing. If you did it right, you will need pliers to twist them. The only way to connect them even more solid to the hook is to weld them onto the hook shank….! ;-)


Dumbbell Eyes

When you like to use dumbbell eyes, you may need a larger basement to secure them.        Dumbbell Eyes (1)

Tie the thread on the hook shank in the same way, like shown before with the bead chain eyes. Then take some dubbing (no matter what kind of dubbing, but synthetic works best), make a first turn.

Dumbbell Eyes (2)

Twist the dubbing around the thread to create a little dupping rope and wind it around the hook shank.

Dumbbell Eyes (3)

Put some super glue on the thread and do some open turns with your glue-thread back and forth over the dubbing with HIGH THREAD TENSION! Now, you got a larger solid basement for the dumbbell eyes.

Dumbbell Eyes (4)

Dumbbell Eyes (5)

The next steps are the same like with the bead chain eyes. Attach the dumbbell eyes with 2-3 turns on the hook, put some super glue on the thread and wind it figure-8-like around the dumbbell eyes.

Dumbbell Eyes (6) Dumbbell Eyes (7)

That’s it! The dumbbell eyes will stay there forever! Now throw them to the toothy beasts ! :-D

2 Gedanken zu „How to tie in Bead Chain Eyes and Dumbbell Eyes ROCK-SOLID!

  1. Nice job. But did you know that if you tie the bar bell eyes on top of the hook shank the fly will fish barb up and if you tie the bar bell under the hook shank it will fish barb down. This trick I learned from a gentleman who was married to Charles Orvis’s daughter.

    • Hi Terry,
      that’s not always the case. If you use a heavy hook with a big gap, and/ or a lot of material on the upper side of the shank to create water resistance, the fly will still swim in the normal position. Only if you use very heavy eyes and a lighter hook, the fly will swim upside down. Sometimes I like to tie sea trout flies with big, heavy eyes and a relatively light hook. Then, I tie the eyes under the hook shank to get a normal position in the water with the gap pointing downwards.

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