Need The Bead

Need The Bead
Need The Bead
I'm a bead man, what can I say - the addiction started a few years back watching the fly fishers of Alaska absolutely hammer egg eating rainbows. Over the years I have collected just about every colour imaginable, from the very natural molted orange to the outargues vibrant blue. All of which, I must say, have caught fish.

Why a Bead?

As mentioned above, the bead was an Alaskan innovation. It is no secret that anadromous fish love to eat eggs, so much so that they are sometimes caught with multiple singles in their mouth. The major issue with egg fishing (spawn or glo bug/artificial) is that the targeted species tends to take the hook deep. Although this is sometimes the product of a late hook set, more often than not the culprit is that the fish is already concerned with its next meal. The bead solves this issue; by design the bead is able to be "pegged" above the hook, this allows the hook to be dragged into the corner of the mouth.

Choosing a Bead

It is no secret that these little plastic spheres come in countless colours, and a few different sizes. Whether fishing them on a fly rod or float stick, these little balls can do wonders. I like to follow a "spawning guide"(based off of Great Lakes fishery patterns) when determining the size of my bead: September through November as the chinook salmon are in thick I will stick to the larger-sized beads, 12mm and 10mm. As the salmon finish their last journey upstream and the majority of fish in the system are steelhead and brown trout (December through March) I will continue to use 10mm but will substitute the 12mm for an 8mm bead. As the spring thaw begins and the rivers begin to run a little higher then normal, I will go back to the larger 12mm size but this time of year is tough and experimentation is important. Lastly, as spring is in full swing and trout season has opened in the upper stretches of our favourite rivers I will downsize, 8mm 6mm and even small 4mm  beads find their way on to my line. This is just my general sizing guide, yes, everyone will have their opinions about size and yes, I have caught fish on the jaw breaking 14mm bead but the real draw to fishing beads is that experimentation is easy. As for colours, again it comes down to experimentation, there are endless possibilities but there seems to be constant fish producers (for me). These include (from the Steelhead Bead line: Golden/red 505, peach/pink/521, Frosted peach 530, 802 and 3D 902.

From these countless colours there becomes even more endless possibilities in the way of bead customization, whether a simple blood dot with some red nail polish, or milking using a small ziploc bag, a handful of beads and a bit of nail polish (beads are tumbled in bag then removed with a tooth pick to dry).

Tips & Tricks

Over the 3-4 years that I have been fishing beads I have accumulated some field knowledge as well as discussing techniques with other bead anglers (Thanks FF!). This first tip I can suggest is in the way your bead is affixed to your line, although many anglers use the bead knot or toothpicks I have found that these methods put too much stress on your line. I opt for the use of "bead pegs," a silicone tapered peg that allows a soft connection between line and bead. This can also be accomplished with the bristles of a silicone basting brush, often found at the dollar store!

The second most important tip in my opinion is in the hook you choose, I personally like Diachi x510's in size 4 for 10mm plus beads and size 6 for sub 8mm beads. I think the most important part of the hook is that it is a straight shank, as it keeps the hook point parallel to the path of the bead which increases your hook up percentage. I also have experimented with Diachi 4250 hooks; the issue I have with these hooks is the upturned eye - however I combat that issue by "snelling" my hook to again create the parallel hook path.

On par with the above mention of soft plastic in rigging I fellow fisherman recommended I try this method, I have yet to but I cant see any issues arising unless your elastic band is too small. With this method I can see the introduction of yarn to the rig being much easier, a substance like antron trilobal can be used to create a "milking" effect on your eggs! (Chris K ).


Lastly I ask that you give these beads a try, proven to catch fish and angler proven these are not a gimmick! Experiment and find that you #NeedtheBead!

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