The Tungsten Bead

This is the first of many fly tying and fly fishing tips that we will be sharing.  We hope they make your fly fishing experience not only more enjoyable, but also more successful in helping you catch more fish.

Gilbert and I didn’t use tungsten beads when we first started fly fishing.  We used either an indicator with split shot, or we used the hopper dropper method of fishing.  Tungsten beads were more expensive than brass beads so we opted for the brass to save money. After fishing like this for some time, I was starting to get tired of using split shot.  I decided to buy a pack of tungsten beads and when I began fishing with them, I was amazed at how much better my catch rate was.  Gilbert was still not convinced that they helped catch more fish until one particular day.  I had tied up some pheasant tail nymphs with tungsten beads the night before we were going to fly fish a Utah stream that we love dearly.  As the day went on, I was catching more fish than he was.  Now, I don’t say this to rub it in or brag about it, but the weight of the tungsten beads got the flies down to the fish at a very quick rate.  It seemed like he was constantly putting more split shot on to get down where the fish were. Needless to say, the next day he called me and told me he was on his way to buy some tungsten beads.  Whenever we nymph, the flies have tungsten!

A few reasons to tie with tungsten:

1-I read somewhere that tungsten is 19 times the density of water where split shot is only 12 times more dense!  Because of this, the flies get down to the bottom of the river quicker than if you were weighted with split shot.

2- There is no need for split shot.  I have not touched any split shot since switching to tungsten beads.  All you need to do is tie different sizes and weighted flies depending on water depth.

3-  My line doesn’t tangle up as much because I eliminate extra hinge points  caused by split shot.

Tungsten beads can be expensive, especially in stores. We try to order all of our online to save money. One great place to buy  tungsten beads is The Fly Site. Here tungsten beads run between 13 and 16 cents apiece which is half the price you’ll find in fly shops. We love to support our local fly shops as much as possible, but in this case we shop online.

By using tungsten your flies will get down to the fish quicker, and drift more naturally. I’m sure you will find this to be true as I have.


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