Indicating weighted flies

When you're tying a weighted fly that is not a BH, how do you indicated it is weighted? I'd like to be able to look at my fly box and know, without having to weigh each fly in my hand before guessing.

I've heard of putting red fingernail polish on the head or whiteout under the head cement. Does anyone have a method they like and which they feel does not affect the attraction of the fly to fish?


Sal Fario
I have experimented with several different ways of identifying weighted flies and each way has its pluses and minuses. In no particular order here are a few suggestions.

Whip finish a narrow band of different color thread on the head of the fly before applying clear head cement. Pros; a permanent fix, easy to use different color threads to indicate how heavily weighted a pattern is. Cons: slightly more time consuming and one may be initially put off by the aesthetics of a striped head.

Used a different model of hook for weighted patterns. Pros: a permanent solution if one can only remember which hook is which. Cons: forces one to to employ at least two different hook styles and a given tier may have a very strong preference for a single hook style.

Put a dot of contrasting paint or lacquer on the fly head or on the eye of the hook followed by a coat of clear head cement. Pros: quick and easy. Cons: marking may fade or wear off in time.

Use an entirely different color head cement (or color of tying thread) to distinguish between unweighted and weighted flies. Pros: doesn't require an additional tying step, good permanence. Cons: aesthetics and greater inventory of colored head cements/thread.

About the only method that I have ruled out is to rely on keeping all the weighted flies in one compartment or row in a fly box (or in their own fly box or book). It may sound great in theory but suffers in practice the first time that one drops their fly box or are changing flies in the heat of the battle.

I prefer the two color thread approach myself but this won't work for everyone and may work for me because I am tying most of my weighted flies on larger hooks.



Active Member
a very good question. i put weighted flies on one side of my box and the other flies on the other. except for small flies you can tell the weighted ones by feel.


Workin in a sweet mullet
Weight all of your flies that are supposed to be fished on the bottom. Big eyes..... works like a charm, sinks like a rock.:thumb

my two cents

Old Man

Just an Old Man
All of this is well and good as I try to mark them with the different colored thread but with my memory I forget what is what so that doesn't do me any good. So I have just started with the lead eyes.

It's like hell when you get old.


Shawn Seeger

(aka. wabowhunter)
I use 2 different boxes... the weighted flies go in the box that has a big fat "W" on all sides so I can quickly glance in the pocket and tell what I am pulling out.

This has worked well over the years.

Let em loss!

Wabowhunter :beer2
Hey Old Man,I've used the lead eyes for years cause I could never remember what color thread or which box was the weighted flies.With patterns like wooley buggers they will ride upside down which reduces hang ups.Us older guys have to find a silver lining where we can.
So I guess I'm not the only one who can't tell by feel if a fly is weighted or not. For many years, I've identified the weighted ones with a band of gray thread, atop and to the rear of the other-colored head. It's not obtrusive with any color fly, at least by my tastes.


The dumb kid
i can tell by feel, but here is what i used to do for a long time. red thread=weighted black thread= non-weighted. tie em with red/lead black/no lead. i think someone already said that, but hell, what do i know. i just have 600 bobbins with different colored threads. red and black 8/0 dominate. who knows.