Polish Yer Beads — Rejuvenate a fly’s tarnished bead or conehead

by | Jan 2, 2018 | 2 comments

Dull metalheads mess with my confidence. I fish with copper, gold or silver beadheads and coneheads because they’re shiny. And when picking out my next fly, I avoid ones with a metalhead that’s lost its luster. Weather, water and time tarnishes the finish on both tungsten and brass beads. But you can easily get that shiny new finish back with a simple DIY solution.

Many of my confidence flies have shiny beads. Sure, dull beads with a flat or painted finish also catch fish. (I like to tie one of my favorite flies, a Hare and Copper variant, with a tarnished copper bead.) But when I choose a shiny bead or conehead, I want it sparkling like Aunt Mary’s homemade Christmas tree ornaments.

I do take measures to keep beadheads looking new. I use a waterproof box, and I tape small desiccant packs to the inside. But I also use a C&F Chest Patch for easy access to my most-used nymphs. And I carry a few of my go to streamers on an old foam fly box leaf, cut in half and stashed in my vest. Wet nymphs and streamers carried this way dry easily, but they may also tarnish. So when I have enough tarnished beads and coneheads, I make some paste . . .

Ingredients

You can use Brasso or something similar. I’ve done it. But you’ll never get rid of the scent, once it’s absorbed into the fly. Likewise, harsh chemicals can pull the dye from certain fly materials, changing the color of the fly. That’s no good either.

Instead, keep it natural.

Put a little flour in a small bowl. Add the same amount of salt. Then add enough white vinegar to make a paste. You won’t need much, even if you’re cleaning dozens of flies.

Use a small rag to apply paste to the bead or conehead, covering it completely. It’s perfectly fine for the paste to spread over to the front of the fly as well — it doesn’t damage or discolor the materials. Cover the metalhead of each fly, then simply rinse the paste off with water, while rubbing with the rag. It requires very little pressure. You don’t have to scrub, because the vinegar and salt do all the work.

Yup

If you tie durable flies, you’ll have them around until you lose them in a tree or sacrifice them to the river bottom. Polishing a bead is a lot quicker than tying a new fly — especially for streamers — and it’s cheaper too.

I hope this helps you out.

Shined up Metalheads

Enjoy the day
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 700+ articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers.
Your support is greatly appreciated.

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

More from this Category

Split Shot vs Weighted Flies

Split Shot vs Weighted Flies

So you hate split shot, right? I’ve never had anyone tell me that they like using it. But for me, split shot is a convenient and useful tool in my vest, and I think it’s underrated. It does things for me that can’t be done any other way, and I like it. Yes, I like split shot. Sure, I prefer weighted flies over having shot crimped to the line. (My nymph box is full of tungsten beaded flies.) But I also carry a selection of unweighted patterns that get a regular workout while using split shot for the weight.

Here are some thoughts about all that . . .

Resources for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

Resources for Tight Line and Euro Nymphing

[There’s no doubt we are in the golden age of information — for fly fishing too. Never before has it been so easy to open a browser and click a couple links to learn where the trout are and how to catch more of them. A third of what I know about fishing came from...

Modern Nymphing, the Mono Rig, and Euro Nymphing

Modern Nymphing, the Mono Rig, and Euro Nymphing

Devin Olsen and Lance Egan recently released their video, Modern Nymphing. And it’s good. In fact, it’s the best video on long leader tactics that I’ve seen. It’s beautifully filmed, and it’s an excellent resource for those looking for an introduction to long leader...

What Moves a Trout to the Fly?

What Moves a Trout to the Fly?

I recently wrote a short piece about what trout eat, where I argued that a handful of flies will get the job done on a daily basis no matter where you fish. In essence, I think how you fish your handful of flies is usually more important than what those flies are.

But that handful needs some diversity. It needs some attention getters. It needs flies that will move trout to go and eat them . . .

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Domenick,
    I have some bags of beads that have become tarnished just from sitting in a drawer in their bags. Is there a way to clean, say 100, beads at a time?

    Reply
    • Sorry, Bruce. I honestly am not sure. Maybe try soaking them in the solution for a bit.

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

Pin It on Pinterest