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Finding silk bead cord for tying flies on eyeless hooks

February 21, 2013 Ashley's Blog, Tenkara Flies 7 Comments

Tying flies on eyeless hooks — that is, flies like this that tie in some kind of cordage as the attachment point instead of a metal eye built into the hook — has been an obsession here at Learn Tenkara for about a year.

It’s fun to tie flies in a traditional Japanese way, and it’s possible that the flies have more natural movement in the water compared to flies tied on metal-eye hooks. And, as Chris Stewart points out in his latest post, it can be much easier to tie the tippet onto a fly with a very wide eye than one with a tiny metal eye that you can barely see.

But Chris also says, “The only problem is finding the silk bead cord to use for the loop.” We’ve also heard this same sentiment from other fly-tiers recently.

But finding silk bead cord is easy! It’s all over the place on da internets. At this writing, there are 142 active listings on eBay for “Griffin Bead Cord #2.”

On Amazon, the same search has 117 results.

Price is around $3 for 2 meters of cord.

There’s a reason we have so much silk bead cord here:

"Griffin woman...pretty woman." Your flies will be pretty, too. Look for Griffin Silk Bead Cord. Size #2 for most flies. Size #4 is okay for really big flies. Many colors available, or just get white and use markers to color the cord yourself.

To get eyeless hooks? TenkaraBum, of course. Or, you can just take the wire cutters to any eyed hook. We’ve been doing that with most of our flies lately, and have not had any problems.

You can use other materials for the loop: fly line backing, Amnesia monofilament, scrap level line, even 2X tippet. But nothing we’ve used is as nice as silk bead cord. It is strong, flexible, and the #2 cord size (.45mm) is not too thick to use for flies as small as 16, while some of the other materials options are just too bulky for anything but larger flies.

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