Fly Hacks: Googly Eyes

By Gerald Penkler

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Eyes on flies look terrific, at least to the angler. I am convinced fish prefer them, but have no evidence to support. But at the very least they make my flies look that bit better.

Putting eyes onto big baitfish patterns however was often a sticky affair for me, leaving superglue on fingers, matting fibres and leaving my fly resembling something Picasso would be proud of.

I have found a simpler way – why not stick the eyes on the fibre and then tie them in?  This method is easy and the  eyes stay stuck.

Step 1:   Take a whisp of the synthetic fibre / flash and place it on top of an upside down eye. Glue to eye with a dollop of superglue gel or even quicker UV glue and cure.

Eyes 2

Step 2:    Complete your bait fish pattern, leaving a small gap to tie in the eyes (not much is needed).

Eyes 3

Step 3:   Tie in the eyes facing forward, with the eyes pointing inwards (so that when you fold them back they face outwards. This step makes it very easy to create symmetry and set the eye depth.  Leave the long strands of fibre trailing (rather than trimming at the eye).  If you trim them, the eye stalks tend to bend out of place, whereas the long strands keep it in line with the fly.

Eyes 4

Step 4:  Bend the eye stalks back and secure with thread. Done!

Eyes 5

Note from Leonard Flemming: I find that superglued eyes stick much better to fine synthetic strands such as Frizz Fibre and Sculpting Fibre, compared to more coarse material such as SF Fibre for instance. NB – use superglue gel and not the standard quick set superglues (the runny stuff); the runny stuff absorbs water more easily and loses its integrity when fishing (don’t expect the eyes to stay on long with standard superglue). Happy tying!

4 thoughts on “Fly Hacks: Googly Eyes”

  1. Edward Truter says:

    Great tip okes. Very clever! I use Genkem. It’s flexible (neoprene) and sticks like shit to a blanket, and doing it the way you have described will produce a very durable result.

  2. Bradley says:

    That’s a good idea!!! I’m definitely going to try it out!!!

  3. Jay Smit says:

    That is a great Idea. I do something similar. I glue the eyes onto a loop of thin wire then tie in the wire with the eye attached. The wire can then be bent away from the the body of the fly a drop of superglue applied and then bent back. The wire holds it in position nicely.

  4. Kyle Ovens says:

    Great hack. Always tricky and fingers end up full of super glue. Thanks so much

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