Fishing Fly tying

Fly tying: Attaching dumbbell eyes

For fly tiers who like big streamers and saltwater patterns (count me in this group—the bigger the pattern, the easier to tie, in my opinion), dumbbell eyes can present a challenge, mostly because, no matter how many times we “figure-eight” the tying thread around the eyes and the hook shank, the eyes, with enough pressure, can move and rotate. It can be a little frustrating.

While not fool-proof, Tim Flagler demonstrates the proper way to tie dumbbell eyes to the hook shank. As he notes, even with all the wraps and the careful pressure applied to the thread during the attachment, the eyes can still move. But, Tim says, this method has proven quite secure, and he finds that the eyes are less likely to rotate if they are attached using the method he demonstrates above.

I’ve got a redfish and speckled trout trip coming up in January in Louisiana, and I’ll be tying my dumbbell-eyed flies using this method in hopes that the toothy critters won’t spin the eyes on the hook shank too often.

— Chris Hunt

By Chris Hunt.