New Eye Material

by Phillip Dobson
(Butte, MT)

A few amago hooks with Fireline eyes.

A few amago hooks with Fireline eyes.

Lately, I've been tying up some flies in the Victorian style - silk, feathers, and eyeless hooks. Traditionally, the eyes on salmon flies were made of twisted silkworm gut - the silk glands of a silkworm, stretched and twisted together. It's cool material, very strong and quite stiff when dry. It's also extremely expensive, over a buck an inch. I don't mind the cost if I'm planning on framing the fly, but it's just too expensive to fish with.

The search for a good alternative has lead me many different directions. Silk cord works for light flies, but it's a little bulky and the loops tend to collapse under load. Dacron backing is strong, cheap and easy to use, but it looks really synthetic and out of place. One very nice alternative is to sand, twist, then heat treat monofilament. It looks and feels a lot like natural gut, but it's a lot of work.

None of the above options check all of the boxes of cheap, user friendly, good looking, and good for fishing. Enter Fireline fused Dyneema. I've been using the Crystal 30# test version for eyes on salmon flies and kebari. So far, it's been working great. Easy to use, a nice look, and very durable. For aesthetics, I'd probably go a bit lighter for kebari and a bit bigger on a large salmon hook, but the 30# is okay for either.

Give it a try.

Return to Your Tenkara Stories.

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." -
Col. Robert Venables 1662

As age slows my pace, I will become more like the heron.


The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.

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