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The "bead head" has become one of the most popular categories of wet flies (nymphs). This is because the weight of a brass or tungsten bead helps keep the fly very close to the bottom where trout are used to seeing and capturing their food. The flash of a bead has also proven to be very attractive to several other kinds of sport fish such as bass and panfish. Possibly a bead just makes the fly easier for the fish to locate your fly. The bead head flies listed on our site are offered in the most productive sizes.
A Brief History of Bead Head Nymphs and European Fishing Methods
Bead head style flies that are now so popular in America and Europe actually originated in the central part of Europe more than 100 years ago. According to Roman Moser, who is acknowledged as the world's authority on the subject, the roots of the bead head fly lies in Northern Italy. By 1900, fishermen of Piedmont, Bergamo, Brescia and Friuli fished in their alpine rivers with this type of nymph.
The nymphs were built on snelled hooks. These hooks, like many hooks from the earliest eras, were constructed without eyes, as eyed hooks were very difficult to make with the forging processes available at the time. A silk gut snell was affixed to the hook shank with an overwrap of tying thread. The fly was constructed covering the snell. The body of the nymph was usually made from pure silk floss ribbed with gold, silver, or black metal wire. The silk fly bodies became translucent when they got wet. Instead of a conventional head made from tying thread, a glass pearl bead was slipped in place. In the Tyrolean rivers, these simple flies were often fished under a special wooden float with conventional casting gear. Evidently this method proved to be "too effective," because it has now been outlawed from many rivers for conservation reasons. If you would like to know about the history of the bead head fly, check out this fascinating article by Roman Moser.
Locally, bead head flies are usually fished under floats called strike indicators by anglers using fly fishing gear. Bead head nymphs are often fished on multiple-fly rigs. Fishing two and three fly rigs is very popular. This fishing technique is probably just as effective as the Tyrolean method, but remains legal because most local trout rivers are regulated as "catch and release" only.
Fly fishing tournaments are a popular form of recreation in Europe. Vladi Trzebunia from Poland was the 1989 gold medalist and member of the Polish team. This team took the fly fishing world by storm when they introduced the Polish nymph. That year, with this fly and the newly created method of fishing known today as Polish Nymphing, Vladi caught more fish by himself than the next three ranked teams combined. "Czech Nymphing" is very much like the locally evolved method and often employs woven body nymphs constructed with gold beads.
Bead Heads are also popular in the construction of many flies used in still water.