Beads for fly tying can be mystery, especially for beginning tiers who are looking to either dress up a nymph or a streamer or to simply get the fly down deep and avoid having to use split shot while fishing.
Here, Tim Flagler gives some sage advice on beads, and notes that pairing beads and hooks might be the most important aspect of tying flies with these wonderful little accessories. Generally speaking, the bigger the hook, the bigger the bead. If you want depth, go with tungsten. If you want to simulate an emerging insect, try glass. Eggs? Beads in red or orange work great.
I like to fish with beaded nymphs for one simple reason—they get down in the water column on their own, and they’re not pulled down by a separate weight. They’re easier to cast and the hook-set is easier, too.
If you’re bead-curious, this video is a good place to start.
— Chris Hunt