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Eyes on flies


Stuart_Van_Dorn
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Eyes on flies

 

The question is, do eyes make a difference?

 

From personal experience, I don't think so. But from an aesthetic stance, I quite like them. And perhaps from a confidence factor some fishermen feel that eyes are a component in triggering strikes. And what kind of eyes work best? Do eyes that rattle rate higher? Or do painted eyes have that right sparkle to attract fish? Then again, Ken Abrams in his landmark book on fishing for Stripers says that, "Jungle cock eyes have a fluorescent luminous quality that epoxy and other eyes do not." I would need to take a second mortgage out on my house in order to afford to put jungle cock eyes on flies. But if you're feeling wealthy, tie away.

 

There are any number of eyes available out there: epoxy dome eyes, prismatic stick on eyes, and painted eyes are just a few that sit in my fly tying material boxes. (No jungle cock...well not yet anyway.)

 

Also, there are many different ways to put eyes on flies: stick em on, epoxy them on, super glue them on, use paint pens or the old way, where you used dowels of various sizes, dipping them into paint and pressing them against the head of the fly to create nicely rounded eyes.

 

I haven't said much about the proper size of an eye. I go by the rule, "What's handy?" So some flies have domed eyes, some have prismatic stick on eyes, some have paint and not all of my flies have the same sized eye. I kind of follow the idea that small flies have small eyes, big flies get big eyes. I like things simple in my fly tying world. I will from time to time put bigger eyes on smaller flies because I read the instructions wrong or grabbed the wrong eyes. Once again, it's that aesthetic thing. If the eye looks right, it probably is. So that's my thoughts on size, this is one case where size doesn't seem to matter. Of course one of you smart guys out there is going to go searching for an article, size of eyes matters when fishing in stained water where the only structure is a sunken four eyes shop.

Right?

 

 

As to type of eye, I prefer the domed epoxy eyes, I like the dimension they give to a fly. Also like the paint pens, which you can use to "refresh" those chipped up lead eyes on your clousers and other weighted flies. I tried paint, didn't like it. Don't mind gluing eyes on with super glue, epoxy is messy but works nice. I did have a chance to try the tuffleye system and it works great. It's pricey to start (still cheaper than jungle cock!) but for coating the head and sealing in the eyes, I'm becoming a fan. No fumes, no discoloring and easy to apply and no mess. It's a UV cured acrylic and I suggest that if you get a chance to try it, you should. It has a nice sheen to it as well. Looks good over any eye.

 

So my question is still, eyes or not? I don't put eyes on woolly buggers, deceivers, and other types of streamers. Of course if you tie clousers, M&M's or any fly with a bead chain or lead eye, you're creating eyes. I do put eyes , well almost always, when I tie baitfish imitations, although I skipped a few when tying up a series of Thunder Creek patterns because I was lazy. And I know that they catch fish with and without eyes. I have frog patterns that don't have eyes that catch fish too. And bucktail streamers with no eyes. Don Blanton's Fatal Attraction is an exellent smallmouth fly that doesn't have eyes. He suggests that you do but none of the pictures I've seen of his flies have them. I don't put them on mine.

 

Yet to paraphrase my favorite fly rod bass guru, the late Tom Nixon, from his book, Flies for bass and Panfish, . "Them bass, they like to key on the head of the bait fish and them eyes are like a target." Of course Tom also put spinners on flies, split plastic worms in half lengthwise and threaded them on a worm hook, he also clipped a good foot off of a Fenwick Wonder Rod to make casting his creations like the Calcascieu Pig Boat easier to toss. The pig boats had eyes too.

 

Generally speaking though, aesthetics win out. Flies with eyes look good. If a fly looks good, you'll usually feel confident using it. If you're confident, you'll usually do well with a fly. I look at the progress that several tiers that I've met through the bass buggers group and am impressed with the flies of Corey Gale, Michael Taylor and Alan Sherman. And I haven't polled them but I'm thinking, they like eyes on their flies too.

 

So in conclusion, do eyes make a big difference? Is jungle cock worth the price? Do you like dabbing flies with dowels dipped in paint, or do you prefer to stick em on and leave it? Or have you discovered paint pens? Do the eyes have it? Is it best to paint lead eyes yellow and white, red and black, all white or leave them au naturel?

 

I know that I like to see flies with eyes on them. I also know that all of the baitfish that I've seen, well they have eyes. And dragon flies have big eyes. That and I've read, somewhere, that predatory fish key on the eye as their target. So any little thing that will give me an edge when fishing, that also looks good and might give me just a little more confidence, well then, the eyes have it!

 

If you're interested in tying, the bass buggers (up north) meet at AIR (Anglers International Resources) in Palatine Illinois the second Thursday of the month. You don't have to have a vise, equipment, or experience. Equipment can be provided, experience you'll have to get on your own.

Next month we'll be tying a craft fur minnow. See you there.

Stuart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest rich mc

eyes on flies seem to work better for me in clear to medium stained water. one thing about eyes with the m+m fly. pink and white is a great clear water color with gold bead chain eye.i tried using black bead chain eye to make the eyes stand out ..it didnt work . and black eyes on a dark one workes better than a silver or gold eye.

i cant stand to see eyes put on a frog pattern. most are to hook the angler as the eyes will face the sky and no one but the purchaser will see them. rich

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Eye agree that eyes give a fly a finished look, but eye really doubt they make too big of a difference, particularly in rivers. Do river smallies have time to look for or key on much of anything? If so, maybe eyeless would be better, with those wily fish realizing that those blind things floating by are easy pickins.

 

Hmmmm...instead of eyes, maybe from now on I'll give my flies little Ray-Bans and a white cane!

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Guest rich mc

when you thinkabout it, the woolly bugger and sparkle minnow dont have eyes and catch plenty of fish. maybe the spin guys can do a test. paint over the eyes on a lucky craft lure and see if it still works. does having eyes on a swim jig necessary or do they hit the profile and vibration ?

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eyes on flies seem to work better for me in clear to medium stained water. one thing about eyes with the m+m fly. pink and white is a great clear water color with gold bead chain eye.i tried using black bead chain eye to make the eyes stand out ..it didnt work . and black eyes on a dark one workes better than a silver or gold eye.

i cant stand to see eyes put on a frog pattern. most are to hook the angler as the eyes will face the sky and no one but the purchaser will see them. rich

Iagree that eyes can be a benefit in other than murky water.At the very least they can't hurt and might help and so why not use them.

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I know this is under the bassbuggers forum and about flys---

but---

I'd like to add something here, re EYES.

 

When I was first introduced to jigs, they had "eyes".

I purchased jigs with eyes, and I made jigs with "eyes".

Why?

Because that was the norm.

Lures and jigs had to have eyes.

 

While fishing the Kank, I'd bounce my jig off the rocks, dragged the jigs it on the bottom, and caught lots of fish.

As the eyes and paint wore off, I still caught fish.

??? hmmm....

why am I wasting time painting eyes on jigs?

I quit putting eyes on jigs, and still caught fish.

 

I believe a fish approaches a bait from the side, underside, or rear, and takes the offering---it doesn't see if there's an eye on the jig.

A fish just reacts---the object looks like something to eat.

 

A jig with eyes, looks better, it catches the fisherman.

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Guest Don R
maybe the spin guys can do a test. paint over the eyes on a lucky craft lure and see if it still works.

 

How dare you! :blink: That would be like painting over a $15.00 bill....if there was such a thing.

 

Ha ;)

 

I've seen may crayfish with only one claw. Ever consider making a one clawed crayfish fly? Or would that throw off the balance ?

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I don't think that eyes make much of a difference for smallmouth flies or lures. I have caught many bass on plastic twister tails, plastic fluke baits, Senkos, woolly buggers, and nymphs that don't have eyes. I use several flies that have glued on on eyes, and those flies still catch fish after the eyes get knocked off by fish or banging the flies against cover. I think that lure/fly action and size are the primary triggers for smallies, with color being a secondary trigger.

 

Eyes on flies like clouser minnows are necessary because the barbell eyes provides weight and makes the hook ride point up. That being said, I still put eyes on some flies whether they need the eyes or not. Flies with eyes look good and if you are not catching fish, you want to look good.

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Eyes on flies make a huge difference.

 

Ask Lefty Kreh.

 

A Smallie will typically strike at the head of the forage and by placing eyes on the fly it will trigger the fish to strike at the front of the fly instead of the rear resulting in short strikes, especially when using larger flies.

 

 

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