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Ultimate Bead Guide To Float Fishing

Fishing for trout/salmon has never been so easy. 

Hear me out, trout and salmon have always been one of the hardest fish to catch until now. I remember a few years ago heading to my fishing spot numerous times and not being able to catch.

Then one winter morning I decided to switch my failure of a fishing spot. This was when I saw something that would change my fishing catch rate forever.

I saw another angler reeling in about 10 rainbow trout – to my surprise he was using a double bead hook set-up. The same day me and a few others went home and ordered our float fishing gear including few containers of beads. All different sized, different colored and different thickness.

This article will be an ultimate guide into float fishing with beads for trout and salmon.

Soft Versus Hard Beads

Bead thickness is one of the 3 properties that you have to keep in mind when bead fishing for trout/salmon.

Ultimately there are two thicknesses that you need to worry about: soft and thick. So which type of bead is better and why?

Fish find the harder beads can more easily bite and spit them out – if you’re not quick enough to set your hook. Soft beads fix this problem. 

The way you put your beads on your hook/line also differs between the two types of beads. With hard beads, you have to put your bead through your leader line and then use either toothpicks or plastic to lock it into place. Toothpicks are the cheaper route to take but I find red plastic to work better as the red imitates the red blood dot on trout/salmon eggs.

With soft beads you can hook them through your hook and then drag them either on the top of your hook or anywhere on the line. This limits to how many times you can actually use soft beads (1 use). The exact reason why I only use hard beads.

What Bead Size To Use?

Bead size is the second property that you have to keep in mind when bead fishing for trout/salmon.

At this point it can seem intimidating but it really isn’t. Think about it, when would you see a larger versus a small bead fishing when fishing?

Your first thought should be water transparency. If the water is really clear – clear to the point where you can see the ground then you should use a 4-6mm fishing bead.

When the water isn’t too clear or too muddy then use a 8-10mm fishing bead.

When the water isn’t clear at all use a 12-14mm fishing bead.

I’ve had the most success with the 8mm fishing bead. It’s a great middle ground that does wonders and as such I’d recommend sticking to an 8mm bead.

What Size Hook To Match My Bead?

This one is very simple to remember. The larger the bead, the larger the hook you use. The opposite is also true. The smaller the bead, the smaller the hook you use.

You always want the hook to stick out further than the bead. The reason for this is simple. When the trout or salmon bites the bead, you want your pull or hook to not be blocked by the bead. 

If you’re using a hook that is smaller in diameter than the bead you won’t have any successful hook-ons.

Larger versus smaller beads

I want to reiterate this because this is important. The larger your bead is the more visible it will be. The smaller your bead is the less visible it will be. 

When the water isn’t clear and you want your bead to be easily spotted by trout then use a bigger bead for increased visibility.

When the water is really clear, then you using a large bead is overkill. You want your presentation to be more desirable.

How to choose the bead color?

Bead color is extremely important, probably the most important. This is what determines whether the trout will see your presentation as desirable or not.

It’s very easy to get lost in the color – there’s way too many choices. There’s way too many people that will guide you in which will work better than the other.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. The reason is because every body of water has a different ecosystem – which will give the fish different feeding habits/patterns. As such, certain colored beads that work for me might not work for you.

However, as this the ultimate guide I do have three colored beads that have worked very well for me this year: light orange roe, red roe, and chartreuse (light green/yellow).


How to set up a double bead hook?

Before you do this, please check the rules and regulations in your area to make sure you’re allowed a double hook set. Here’s what you will need:

  • Leader line: Drennan
  • Micro Swivels 
  • Toothpicks or plastic fillers 

If you’re float fishing for trout and salmon then please don’t buy any other leader line that’s not Drennan. Drennan is extremely strong and will not break on you when you hook on that large trout/salmon. Not only that but it’s size 6lb leader line is not only thin but it’s also stronger than 8lbs leader line of other competitors.

However, if you chose to buy other leader line I’ve also used the Seaguar STS Trout/Steelhead Fluocarbon 6-8lbs leader line.

I won’t use any other swivels other than micro swivels. When you’re fishing, mainly in clear water, it’s super important that only your beads are seen in the presentation and nothing else.

To put the beads into place on your leader line, you can either use toothpicks or [PLASTIC]. Toothpicks are the cheapest option but I find red [PLASTIC] imitates the red blood dots on roe. This imitation makes the fish that much more likely to bite your bead.

Do Beads Float in the Water? [Bead Buoyancy]

Fishing beads have a central buoyancy level where they will neither float or sink. When you rig your fishing beads they will perfectly glide with the current.

How Far Should My Beads Be From My Hook?

There’s a lot of debate on this. However it should be 2-3 inches over your hook if you’re using hard beads. 

Anything lower than this will give you trouble in hooking the fish as the bead will get in the way.

Anything higher than this will also give you trouble as the fish will swim away before the hook is set.

Beads for Trout Fishing?

As I mentioned earlier I’ve been double bead hook float fishing for the last few years for trout and salmon and I’ve found that 8mm light orange roe, red roe, and chartreuse have worked the best in the Ontario waters.

Bead Fishing Versus Bait Fishing

I absolutely enjoy bead fishing. You can get very creative in your mix and match bead combinations. If you’re using a double bead hook set then you can not only use different colored beads, but you can also mix and match their sizes as well. This increases your chances of catching trout and salmon.

Another really I really enjoy is that Beads are extremely cheap – you can get thousands of different colored and sized beads for less than $30. This means that you don’t have to stop at a bait store to get new bait every fishing trip.

This last part is the part that really won me over though. Not only will your catch rate dramatically increase, but you also won’t smell like live bait in the off chance you don’t catch any fish!

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