Bead Thorax Rusty Spinner AKA hide-a-bead Spinner


I am not sure where, when or even if I have ever seen this pattern before, chances are many other fly designers have conjured up this fly pattern. As for me, I started tying this fly in the mid 90's for use on the riffles of the Deschutes River during the evening and early morning PMD spinner falls. I'm sure under deep hypnosis, the origins of this fly might come to the surface.

I had forgotten about this little gem for many years because I rarely encountered the need for a submerged spinner during the daylight hours when I am guiding. A couple of summers ago while fishing a riffle transition zone early in the morning out in front of my house, I noticed a modest size (#16)  rusty spinner floating downstream. I also noticed a good number of spinners being conveyed around in a back eddy. My favorite place to look for clues.

I fish a river where a sunken fly out fishes a floating fly by a tenfold factor, it was an obvious decision that I needed to get my spinner down in the water column a few inches to a foot; hence the bead thorax. Many spinners also swim towards the bottom to deposit thier eggs instead of merely dropping them onto the surface of the water. Never-the-less, a sunk spinner is often an overlooked but obvious choice.

As luck would have it, I happened to have an old fly box in the back pocket of my vest that I had tied back in the mid 90's for use on the Deschutes River. In that box are some old forgotten gems with tarnished beads and rusty hooks. Among the treasures was a bead thorax rusty spinner. I found one left in the box whose hook had not rusted so much as to hold a 16" rainbow tethered to a 6x tippet. I have since gifted that fly box to my fly fishing daughter, without the rusty flies of course.

It didn't take very long for this fly to earn its rank back into the upper echelon of fly patterns that I use with regularity. With its new found success on my river, I set about re-stocking my box with an all new version on new hooks. Since I first tied the fly, my portfolio of favorite fly tying materials has has evolved. I now use goose biot bodies instead of stripped hackle stems as they are more durable. I added organza to the wings and added a stiff hackle collar instead of a soft hackle collar.



  • Hook: TMC 9300, 3761 #12-18
  • Thread: 14/0 Tan, Veevus
  • Bead: Copper tungsten bead to match size.
  • Tail: Stiff ginger variant Indian neck hackle feather barbs
  • Abdomen: Rusty brown goose biots. Pictured is Stalcups Frying Pan PMD orange
  • Thorax: Rusty Brown dubbing and the copper bead.
  • Wings: Organze fibers split, in front of the bead
  • Collar: Ginger variant India hackle
Grade AAA ginger variant India neck

Grade AAA ginger variant India neck

Tying Instructions

Step 1.

Pinch the barb

  • Slip a copper tungsten bead onto the kook with the counter bore facing rearwards
  • Start the thread behind the bead and wrap in touching turns towards the bend of the hook. 
  • Select 6-8 fibers from the shinny portion of a premium grade india neck hackle. Measure to be slightly longer than the hook shank length. Here is where we can break the rules and go for a long tail. You did notice those extra long tails clumped together on the natural floating in that back eddy?

Step 2.

  • Tie a pre moistened biot in by the tip so that when wrapped, the ridge does not get hidden; notch rearward.
  • Build a slim taper of thread towards the thorax.
  • Apply a small amount of adhesive to the thread base.
  • Wrap the moistened biot forward leaving the ridge exposed. The adhesive will cement the biot and prevent breakage when a 20" brown attempts to rip it to shreds.
  • Tie off at the 2/3 point behind the bead.

Step 3.

  • Dub a small thorax behind the bead large enough to prevent the bead from sliding back over the abdomen. apply adhesive to the thread and whip finish the thread behind the bead.
  • Push the bead back onto the dubbing. Make sure that you have about a bead width left in front to tie in a wing and hackle.

Step 4.

  • Re attach the tying thread in front of the bead wind all the way back to the bead and take a few turns of thread to lock the bead into the rearward position.
    Note: wrapping the thread over the bead creates a vulnerable spot for a fly to come untied.
  • Tease about a dozen strands of organza fibers from a sheet of light dun colored organza textile with the tip of a bodkin. The fibers should only be about 2" in length. Tie in front of the bead with x-wraps so that the fibers extend to the sides of the hook.
  • Trim wings to length. Hook shank length.

Step 5.

  • Mount a small ginger variant india hackle by the tip and fold the hackle so that all the barbs are pointing to one side of the hackle stem.
  • Take three turns of the hackle forward.
  • Pull the fibers back and form a thread head while simultaneously tying off the hackle
  • Apply a then coating of adhesive to the thread and make a five turn whip finish.