Using XL Trout Beads As Attractors In Your Tandem Rig

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Veteran Alaskan guide, Andrew Grillos from Alaska West – Photo By: Louis Cahill

Back in 2006, I spent a season guiding in Alaska at Mission Creek Lodge. It was a great experience and a hell of a lot of hard work, but I held my own and ended up representing well for Southeastern fishing guides. That doesn’t make me an expert on Alaska fishing by any means, particularly when compared to bad ass veteran alaskan guides like Andrew Grillos, TJ Zandoli, and Nathan Cornelius. That season in Alaska I was blessed with the opportunity to pick the brains and learn from some of the best bush guides in the area. One lesson I learned right off the bat was using an extra large attractor trout bead as my lead fly in my tandem bead rigs. Point being, matching the hatch and size of the eggs isn’t the only factor that plays into getting big trout to eat. The attraction factor you get by using a 10-12mm trout bead often sparks initial interest from big bows, persuading them to move in for a closer look. In most cases they’ll end up eating the smaller more appropriately sized bead, but it became very obvious to me how important a role, big attractor beads played in creating hookups.

Since then, I’ve experimented using big attractor beads on other trout waters in the United States. I often fish a 10mm trout bead in the top position with various nymphs dropped off the back. One of my favorite times to use this rig is when water I’m fishing is high and stained. But this rig also works very well for me in the spring and fall when fish are super aggressive and feeding heavy. If you’re interested in purchasing trout beads to fish with visit this site:

Have any input to add to this post? By all means please comment.

Keep it Reel,

Kent Klewein
Gink & Gasoline

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13 thoughts on “Using XL Trout Beads As Attractors In Your Tandem Rig

  1. Damn. The cat is out of the bag. In the fall on the Great Lake tribs we have been fishing trout beads pegged above everything. Hooked inside the mouth they took the fly, hooked in the corner of the mouth on the outside they took the bead. This method has allowed us to determine whether the fish are targeting eggs, nymphs or streamers that particular day. I hope the regulations do not change to ban the use of attractors as they have on the Upper and Lower Fly Zone on the Salmon River in NY. If you buy Trout Beads also buy the soft pegs as they work better than toothpicks or heavy mono at pegging the beads.

  2. Kent,
    You should encourage your readers to check their states fishing regs before heading to the water with a fistful of beads. There was quite some commotion in central Wyoming last spring on this matter. The way the law is interpreted now is that there cannot be a bare hook behind a bead, must be a fly.

      • I find it amazing how fish and game can make it so that you can not use beads. The whole reason for bead fishing and having the hook trail a couple of inches from the bead is to greatly reduce gut hooking fish. I would think that logic would say that a hook in the corner of the mouth or on the outside is much better than a gut hook or in the gill. Just my opinion. I bead fish here in the tribs of Lake Erie for steel, and can say that I have never experienced a gut hooked fish from bead fishing. And if you lose a fish, that is because they were hooked on the outside of the mouth. Just my opinion.

  3. I think any large brightly colored fly will work too. I find myself using an egg pattern on a jig as my lead fly follow by something mimicking food that is actually in the river.

  4. Wyoming has banned bare hooks trailed behind beads. Their solution was just put a normal fly behind it. The only problem is that are the trout eating the bead and getting hooked like a normal Alaskan rig, or actually taking the nymph? The real question: does it matter?

    • What defines a bare hook in WY?

      I’ve seen fly patterns that are just thread and head cement on the hook and patterns that are just made with built up head cement.

  5. The real problem is nymphs are far more expensive than bare hooks when you break off 300 times in a day running nasty drifts! Michigan fly only Nazi’s are anti-bead because of a bare hook.. whats the difference between that and an intruder with a trailer hook that is bare? nothing.. neither one are going to snag fish. (at least not easier than a yarn egg) I think they are just worried about more spin fishermen in fly only water (which we should be since they are crowded enough already)

  6. I fished The Reef last year with a guide and he had me use the trout bead set-up. Hated it, lotta gut hooked fish on that float from the bare hook trailed behind the bead. It was touted as “what they use in Alaska” (yah, they also snag the shit outta salmon up there I heard) but at guide school this spring, did just fine with regular dropper rigs and much happier to see hooked jaws. IF I get a guide next time, I’ll tell him to leave that shit off, as I don’t want to be the one getting fanged by WY G&F trying to get around regulations “to get clients onto fish”.

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