Beaded Charlie
  |  First Published: May 2008

Last month we did a very simple pattern using beads to form the body. This month’s pattern, the Beaded Charlie, is another simple, yet durable and productive pattern that also uses beads in its construction.

A variation of one of the most popular and productive patterns, the Crazy Charlie, this month’s pattern is a very useful one, especially at this time of the year when bream numbers are on the increase. The variations in colour and contrast are endless with this pattern. By using beads, you are also making a fly that is a little more durable than the conventional Crazy Charlie.


One of the advantages in using beads for fly tying is the enormous array of colours, shapes and sizes that they are available in. This gives you the option of using beads of alternating colours in your fly, which can create some great effects. This contrast is often a lot harder to obtain when using most conventional materials, which are usually only available in a single colour. The exception would be materials such as variegated chenille, badger hackles and the various grizzly hackles and marabou.

Once you start looking around the bargain shops, craft stores and major outlets, you will find numerous cheap beads in varying colours, sizes and shapes.


The hook I have used for this pattern is slightly longer than the conventional O’Shaunnessy pattern that you would usually tie on for a Charlie pattern. The longer-shanked Aberdeen was chosen for this pattern for two main reasons. Firstly the thin diameter, small barb and super sharp point are ideal for penetrating the usually hard mouth of larger bream, especially those who hang around oyster leases, rock walls and jetties where they dine on the various molluscs and shellfish. Secondly, these same features make this a perfect hook for bead flies as the small barb and thin wire construction allows a larger array of beads to easily be threaded onto the hook shank.

This pattern also looks great when tied with beads of alternating colours, which gives a barred and segmented effect. The winging material used in this pattern is Marawool although other options for Charlie patterns includes calftail, Kinky Fibre, Neer Hair, Hi-Vis, marabou and others. The Marawool provides a lot of movement in the water and is also a very durable material. Ensure you don’t make the wing too long or it will tangle with the hook point and bend during casting.

The eye of the fly can also vary, depending on the sink rate required for your use. If you wanted a fly to fish in shallow or still water then a bead chain eye would be ample. For deeper areas or where the current is, a little stronger, heavier eye, such as I-Balz (as I have used), Dumbbell eyes, Cyclops, Hourglass, Real Eyes and Real Eyes Plus could all be used.


(1) Put enough beads on the hook shank to approximately cover the area between the eye of the hook and the spot on the hook shank opposite the barb. After placing the hook in the vice, push the beads all the way forward and then attach the thread to the hook shank as close to the back of the beads as possible.

(2) Cut 8-10 short strands of the Krystal Flash and tie-in with a few wraps just behind the beaded section. It is important not to create a bulky tie in point as we want to slide the rear bead over this point in the next stage. Whip finish off, cut away the remaining thread and add a little vinyl cement to the securing point.

(3) Slide the rear bead back over this tie-in point so that it totally hides the thread. You may have to twist it a bit to get it over, depending on how big the tie-in point is in relation to the hole in the bead. If it is a loose fit then you may also need to add a drop of epoxy to stop the rear bead sliding back too far.

(4) Next we have to attach the eye with a series of figure-of-eight wraps. You may need to secure it to the hook shank fairly firmly first and then slide it back a little until it is snug against the beads. Add a few more wraps, whip finish and a little vinyl cement to secure the eye firmly.

(5) Take the fly out of the vice, turn it over and then secure it back in the vice as shown. Cut a small portion of the Marawool and tie it in between the eye of the hook and the eye of the fly. The Marawool should be just long enough to cover the point and bend of the hook as shown. Any longer and it will foul during casting. Whip finish, cut away the remaining thread and add a little vinyl cement to the nose area.

(6) The Beaded Charlie is now complete and ready to catch bream, pike, flathead, bass, trevally and many other species. You can have a lot of fun creating useful patterns such as this with beads.



HOOK:Mustad Pro-Select 3261NPBLN #4
THREAD:Mono – fine
BODY:Beads – pearl pink, medium
TAIL:Krystal Flash – pearl
EYE:I-Balz – small gold with red pupil
WING:Marawool – hot pink
FINISH:Vinyl Cement


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