Best Fly Tying Beads (2023 Buyer’s Guide)

A list of some great fly tying beads that you can order today, as well as when to use beads for fly tying and a short guide on different types of beads.

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If you’re new to the game of fly tying, you’ll be both surprised and overwhelmed by 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. Then, you can work your way up the ranks to being a fly-tying, bead-fishing master.

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

What Are Fly Tying Beads?

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

fly tying Beads and eyes

A bead is meant to either add weight to the fly or add a dash of color to help entice a fish. Both of these factors will 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 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 wet 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 a dry fly, then go for it.

fly tying beads

Overall, you’ll tie beads onto flies that are submerged in the water. They 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 the water bubbles that may occur when pupae leave their sacs.

Types of Fly Tying Beads

Below I’ll 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 that you’re using the proper one when tying.


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


This is used when you want to get to the bottom of the river and you have to get there right now. It 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. If you want the fly to ride higher in the water column, then plastic is the best bead fly tying material. They are also great as an attractor.


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

What Makes a Good Fly Tying Bead?

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


The color of the bead determines what type of fly you intend on tying. Most natural nymphs or other flies use 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 I 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

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 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 need to be tied with a bead that can match the actual body of the fly.

The size also correlates to how quickly it sinks. A larger fly with a large tungsten bead will fall rapidly once it hits 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 that with some digging you’ll 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 it’s great for streamers or Wooly Buggers.

Best Fly Tying Beads

Below, I’m 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. This lets you 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’ll have a wide array of size options to choose from.

They’re made of solid brass and are great for tying on nymphs as well as streamers. They 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’s 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!

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Dallas spends most of his time chasing brook trout in the mountain streams of his home state of Virginia and paddling around farm ponds throwing wooly buggers to bream and bass. When not fishing he's writing about fishing and has been published in The Virginia Sportsman, Southern Culture on the Fly as well as other fly fishing and outdoor sites.

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