If you’re new to the game of fly tying then you would be both surprised and overwhelmed at the sheer amount of beads that you can find out there.

They can be extremely useful for fly tying, so it’s important that you learn the basics and then you can work your way up the ranks to being a fly tying, bead fishing master.

So, below we’re going to go over three different types of products. On top of that, we’re also going to cover some of the features of beads, when to use them and what exactly they are.

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What Are Fly Tying Beads?

A bead can be made of many different materials. They can be found in plastic, brass, tungsten, and even glass. Each of these has its own pros and cons that we’ll cover below.

fly tying Beads and eyes

A bead is meant to either add weight to the fly or to add a pop of color to help entice a fish in. All of these factors are going to help you catch more fish.

Basically, a bead is meant to actually help you catch fish. It’s not just some gimmick put out there by the fly tying companies. It really does help you catch more fish so it’s a good idea to have a few in your fly tying table at home.

When to Use a Bead

Beads are great on just about any type of fly. Typically, they’re not used on dry flies. However, the world is your oyster when you tie your own flies so if you want to put a bead on then go for it.

fly tying beads

Overall, you’re going to be tying beads onto flies that are submerged into the water. This could be streamers, nymphs, or any other wet fly.

Beads are used to help the fly sink faster or to give it a nice little pop of color that will bring in a fish to bite. They also imitate water bubbles that may occur when pupae leave their sacs.

Types of Fly Tying Beads

Below we’re going to go over a few different types of bead that you’ll be able to find at your local store. Each of these has its own pros and cons so ensure you’re using the proper one when tying.


A glass bead is normally going to be heavy enough to drag your fly under the water so this is normally going to be used as a nymph. Glass beads are great for imitating gas bubbles. So if you’re looking for bubble imitation then this is the best bead material for fly tying.


For when you want to get to the bottom of the river and you have to get there right now. This falls very quickly and will get your nymph, pupae, wet fly, or whatever you want down quickly.

Bead Head Pheasant Tail Nymph (weighted)


These can either float or sink very slowly. So, if you want the fly to ride higher in the water column then plastic is the best bead fly tying material. These are also great as an attractor.


If you want your fly to get down quicker then brass is a great way to go. These will fall at a medium pace through the water column and hang wherever you have set your indicator.

What Makes a Good Fly Tying Bead?

Below, we’re going to go over a couple of different features that you should be looking for when purchasing your fly tying bead. Each of them will work great for their intended purposes.


The color of your bead will determine what type of fly you intend on tying. Most natural nymphs or other flies will be using darker colors or natural brass.

If you’re not trying to imitate a natural forage then brighter colors are the way to go. These bright colors can sometimes initiate a reaction strike from the fish.


As we mentioned above, there are several different pieces of material that beads can be made out of. Each has its own pros and cons but all are useful.

fly with a bead head

The metal beads are great for getting down deep in the water column in a quick manner. While plastic and glass are great for emergers or for slow falling flies.


The size of your bead all depends on how large or how small of a fly you plan on tying. Larger emergers or nymphs will need to be tied with a bead that can match the actual body of the fly.

The size will also correlate to how quickly it sinks. A larger fly with a large tungsten bead is going to fall rapidly once it hit the water. So you need to make sure it’s falling at the speed you wish it to.


Faceted beads usually only come in metal. However, I’m sure with some digging you’d be able to find a plastic one too.

Typically, these cone-shaped beads are used in order to resemble the skull or head of fish. This makes it look more lifelike and is great for streamers or wooly buggers.

Best Fly Tying Beads

Below, we’re going to go over three different types of beads you can purchase for your own kit. Check them out and see which is the best bead for fly tying for you!

Angler Dream Tungsten Beads

  • Pieces – 100

The Angler Dream beads are made of 99% tungsten. This is the best bead material for getting your fly down deep in the water column and to get it down there as quickly as possible.

It comes in seven different sizes and is available in black nickel, rainbow, copper, gold, and silver. Allowing you to be able to put whatever you feel like you need on your fly.

Prime Fish Co. Brass Bead

  • Pieces – 100

The Prime Fish Co. Brass Bead Set comes in six different sizes. This brand also makes two different kits that have three different sizes in it. Which means you have a wide array of size options to choose from.

These are made of solid brass and are great for tying on nymphs as well as streamers. These also come in resealable bags so you can ensure you don’t lose any while tying.

Jshanmei Luminous Plastic Beads

  • Pieces – 1,000

The Jshanmei Luminous Plastic Bead Boxes are perfect for the angler who is looking for a bead that can entice a reaction strike. These plastic beads come in a variety of bright colors that fish will go after.


There are many different types of fly tying beads out there, hopefully with the information above you now have a better understanding of them.

So, head on over to amazon and pick some up for yourself!