Tying tips for eyes

I use Clouser Minnows and believe they are among the best all-around saltwater patterns. However, my problem is that the lead eyes either break off during casting or when some fish take the fly. What can I do about this?

John Kennedy, Chicago, Illinois, wants advice on eyes:

Q. I use Clouser Minnows and believe they are among the best all-around saltwater patterns. However, my problem is that the lead eyes either break off during casting or when some fish take the fly. What can I do about this?

Lefty: There are several options. If you use lead eyes and wrap the eyes too tightly, the thread sometimes cuts through the soft shaft between the eyes. I have noticed that if I build up a one-wrap thread base and then a small ball of thread forward of where the eyes are secured, they stay in place better and break less often. Also, the eyes will never break off if you coat them with five-minute epoxy.

Another solution is to use brass eyes instead of lead ones, but you'll need to use one size larger in brass to get the same sink rate you would with lead.