Mardi Gras Bead Swap


The world is full of fly tying materials. Some, such as feathers and deer hair, are conventional. Others such as cigarette filters, coffee stirrers, coffee beans, veterinarian wrap, and Mardi Gras beads are less frequently used.  I started this swap so that I might be able to see what imaginative and inventive tyers do with this material.  I feel that this swap was quite successful!!!  Thank you all!




Note:  All images on this web page were captured with a flatbed scanner.




Mardi Gras Bead Snake

Fly developed and tied by Ed Engelman Swapmeister


A pair of gold beads for eyes and an extended tail of purple and olive “Disco” yarn.  Disco yarn is an eyelash yarn that has highlights of a flash-like material.  I think of this yarn as a true fish magnet.  The tail is furled from a strand of each color.  The body is made up of a strand of each color palmered up the hook.  In all operations with this yarn you need to take care to avoid trapping fringes of the yarn while furling and palmering.  There is “technique” to it, but it isn’t difficult once you gain some experience working with the yarn.  I will be working on step by step directions for this fly.  It is tied on a jig hook because I find that jig hooks help in avoiding picking more than your fair share of algae.





The Hard Hackle Worm

Tied by Mike Bernardoni

Directions for tying this fly can be found at:





Mardi Gras Bugger

Tied by James Baxter





Tied by Rick Zieger


  1. Wrap thread to the bend of hook and attach a tail of marabou.

    2. Wrap the thread to eye and attach chenille and wrap both to the bend of the hook.

    3.  Attach the hackle and a second strand of chenille to the hook at the bend.

    4.  Place a string of 3 to 5 beads along the side of the hook over the
    chenille.  Now make a few loose wraps over them to hold them on the side.

Do the same thing on the other side with the same number of beads. 

Then make several fairly tight wraps between the beads to hold them in place. Tight
enough to hold but not enough to distort the shape of the bead chain.

5.  Wrap the second strand of chenille up the hook between the beads to cover
the color of the bottom chenille.

6.  Wrap hackle up the fly and tie off at front.

7.  Whip finish.





Bead-Bodied Shrimp

Tied by Mark Delaney


Bead- Bodied Shrimp

Hook:  # 6 Mustad 9611, offset straightened
Thread:  White 3/0
Underbody/Head:  Mylar plastic canvas yarn
Eyes:  Black artificial anthers
Body:  eight clear strung Mardi Gras beads, small
Legs:  White hackle, palmered around strung beads and tied off just before last bead
Tail: White marabou, tied in just before last bead

Tying procedure:  The mylar plastic canvas yarn is tied in at the bend of the hoook, and wrapped forward to the eye. It is then wrapped back to where they eyes and the beads will be tied in, with excess left hanging for the moment.  The string of eight beads is tied in, with the first three beads being tied toi the hook, with the rest of the beads hanging off the bend of the hook.  The hackle is tied in behind the first bead.  The eyes are tied in and then the rest of the mylar canvas yarn wrapped to capture the first bead and finsih the head and wrapped aroun the tie in point of the eyes.  any excess plastic canvs yarn is now trimmed and any excess of the eye stalks is trimmed as well.  The thread is advanced to just in fron of the last bead in the string.  The hackle is palmered with two winds between each bead to the end just before the last bead.  Here it is tied off any any excess trimmed.  The tail of white marabou is then applied jut prior to the last bead and the thread tied off.  Head cement is applied to the tie-off point.

The pattern is easily adapted to whatever color is desired using either other colors of plastic canvas yarn, beads, hackle and maraou.  If the desired color of plastic canvas yarn is not available, The mylar plastic canvas yarn is easily colored using either Sharpies or PrismaColor permanent markers.

Mark Delaney      

So much water, so little time!






The Fly

Tied by Dan Harriman





Mardi Gras Mylar Minnow

Tied by Matt Schroeder





Tied by Buster Wolfe





Mardi Gras SMP

Tied by

Jeff Row





Dolly Pardoned

Tied by J. G. White





The Mardi-Paca

Designed and tied by Ed Engelman Swapmeister



I have had caught more than a few fish with this fly.  Others have also had success fishing with it.  This fly uses a pair of 3mm (1/8 inch) Mari Gras beads for the eyes.  Unfortunately the small beads have fallen out of favor with Mardi Gras participants and these beaded necklaces have become more difficult to find.  When you do find them they are inexpensive.  My original bead find of a dozen 24 inch long necklaces cost me $ 0.75 at a tag sale.  I have found this size of bead in the ribbon section of craft stores but only in silver and gold.  The body and tail of the original was made of alpaca fiber.  Mohair and llama work just as well.  I like to use a sparse tail and a “rope dubbed” abdomen.



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