Knowing When To Use Tungsten Fly Tying Beads
Tungsten Beads are a great fly tying tool and can make a big difference in how your fly is fished. Knowing when to use tungsten is important. Tungsten Fly Tying Beads are very expensive and most anglers do not have the wallet to use them on every fly they tie. Tungsten Beads are available in all shapes and colors. Choosing the right color is purely personal preference or it depends on the fly recipe. Sizing them is easy. Check out a recent post on “How To Choose the Right Fly Tying Bead“, this will show you how to handle and size all fly tying beads.
Tungsten Beads are super heavy and sink more than 3 times faster than conventional Fly Tying Beads. This is the main benefit to tungsten beads, they are heavy! You can use less weight and still get the flies down. So why use them? Many situations do not allow for a conventional nymph rig, a least not effectively. With a traditional rig, the split shot (or putty) is the weight and that pulls the flies down and reaches the bottom. That is not always the best presentation. Below are some situations that are perfect examples on when to use a tungsten bead.
Situations for Tungsten Beads:
Dry Dropper Rigs
Many times a dry dropper rig is the way to go. But the dropper fly (nymph) is often not heavy enough to get to the fish’s zone or near the bottom. You can not use a regular nymph rig because either the water is too shallow or the fish is too spooky. This is a great scenario for a tungsten beaded fly.
Fishing in Shallow Water
Shallow water is just too difficult to nymph with weight and light flies. The weight sinks to the bottom, hangs/snags up and the flies never reach the bottom. This is also a great scenario for a tungsten beaded fly.
Suspended or Spooky Fish
Suspended Fish and Spooky Fish are tough to reach with an indicator, weight and light flies. The weight can often put off the fish and does not work well on suspended fish. Sometime a small indicator, no weight and just a Tungsten Fly is the way to go. This is my favorite way to fool these difficult fish.
Fast Water and Short Runs
Fast water is not always covered effectively with a traditional rig. In fast water, the fly needs to sink rapidly and get down as fast as possible. Same goes for short and fast runs. With a Tungsten Bead added to a fly, it will reach the bottom quickly and get to the fish.
Czech and Polish Nymphing
Most all Czech and Polish Nymph use Tungsten Beads and Lead Wire in conjunction. These flies are made to sink as fast as possible!
Types of Flies
Stoneflies and Caddis Flies are great flies to use Tungsten Beads on. This is because Stoneflies and Caddis flies live on the bottom of the river and often tumble along the bottom. Tungsten Beads help keep the fly on the bottom, in the zone of the fish. That is not to say that Tungsten is not great on midges and mayflies, they are! It just depends on the scenario.