How to secure lead eyes to the hook

Attaching lead eyes securely to a hook

Lead eyes are one of the most popular fly tying materials in use today but some fly tyers struggle with tying them in securely.  The video below offers excellent instruction regarding mounting lead eyes:

The History of Lead eyes

The first set of dumbbell eyes were developed by Tom Schmuecker (owner of Wapsi) as a solution of sinking smallmouth bass streamers deep in current.  Tom first tied various streamer patterns with bead chain eyes.  While he caught lots of fish with these flies, they didn’t sink to the level he desired.  To make the bead chain eyes heavier, he wicked solder into them.  This produced better results but still did not satisfy him.  Tom’s knowledge of the techniques of centrifugal lead casting soon led him to the conclusion that this was the only way he could achieve his goal of producing a set of eyes heavy enough to sink flies to the desired depth.  Using various sized beads and rods, he constructed several sets of eyes to be used as templates for the design of an appropriate mold.  After countless redesigns of the eyes and casting molds, he finally arrived at a final design that met his needs.  Tom tied numerous flies with his new dumbbell eyes and sent samples to his friends in the industry.  Within just a few days Tom received numerous calls from his friends asking how they could obtain more samples.  In just a few short weeks Wapsi was flooded for orders for the innovative product.  Today the dumbbell eye is a widely used fly tying material used in many innovative fly patterns such as Bob Clouser’s Swimming minnow.

We hope that you’ve found this video and history of lead eyes helpful and entertaining.  Check back next week for our “Tip of the Week”.