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

  1. Thanks dudes. One season at Alaska West hardly makes me an AK veteran. I’m more of a well traveled Colorado and now Washington guide.

    When I wasn’t throwing mice I may have thrown a bead or two though!


  2. Pingback: Fly Fishing Posts | Tips and Flies

  3. NYCflyangler – I’d be interested in seeing a suggested rigging as well, but the TroutBeads site has a “how to” section and they show how to rig a single. Would I be wrong to think that one could rig the big attractor as they recommend, then trail the smaller bead a foot to 16″ or so off the bend of attractor’s hook?

  4. There is a big, and fish-killing problem, with this rig, particularly as described in the comments. Alaska law requires that beads be pegged not more than two inches from the hook (or free-running). When a trout eats a hard bead, it spits it out immediately. The hookup comes from the leader, with a bare hook on the end, sliding through the trout’s mouth. Hookups are invariably on the outside of the mouth.Before the two inch limit was imposed, beads were pegged six to twelve inches above the hook. This rig causes the hook to slide along the fish’s side. Trout were being regularly hooked in the pectoral fins. the gill plate (ripping it off) and the eyes. The two inch limit dramatically reduced injury and mortality. Regardless of the law in the state you are fishing, you should never peg a bead high enough on the leader that the hook can reach the eyes or gill plates of the fish.

  5. Also note that many AK waters do not allow more than a single hook making a tandem rig infeasible. Always check local regs (and comply).

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