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Nymphs: To Bead or Not to Bead?


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52 replies to this topic

Poll: To Bead or Not to Bead?

Do you prefer nymphs with or without beads?

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#31 Horseshoes

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 07:54 AM

I use both, depending on the water. Still or fast.
 
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#32 firedad

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 11:49 AM

I'm a newbie, but I have tied mostly beaded nymphs. I do fish both though depending on the water. I use nymphs without beads in slower currents, still water, or during an emergence.

#33 SilverCreek

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 12:15 PM

I use very few METAL beadhead nymphs. For a fly to drift like a real nymph it has to to have the mass density, mass distribution, and shape of a real nymph. Beadheads do not. They are much heavier than real nymphs. In my view the purpose of beadheads is to get the flies down to the bottom. That is why tungsten beads are more effective than brass beads. The faster the fly sinks, the longer it is "in the zone"

Beadheads were developed in Europe because you cannot add weight like split shop to the leader. So beadheads are the European solution to getting the flies down to the bottom. In the USA, we can weight the leader, so I add weight to the leader to get non beadhead flies down. You can weight the leader to get your flies to the bottom faster than even tungsten beadheads. Once they are near the bottom, I believe they drift more naturally.

Those of you that have seen the video "Bugs of the Underworld", have seen the video of a stonefly nymph drifting above the bottom. It does not bump on the bottom head down but maintains a parallel orientation to the bottom. Quote from the article by Ralph Cutter.

http://www.flyfisher...gs-underworld/3

"Stonefly nymphs are weak swimmers, and we frequently see the nymphs drifting helplessly in the current. In the water, they are virtually weightless and do not bounce along the bottom like common lead-loaded nymph patterns..... A drifting stonefly nymph is much better imitated by an unweighted pattern kept close to the bottom with split-shot. A tethered nymph wafts with the currents and acts convincingly alive."

The other reason I stay with non beadheads is that I can use them as floating nymphs or fish then just under the meniscus. When used with a small dry fly, they do not drag the dry fly down, so I feel they are more versatile.

In the circumstances when I want a metal bead, I can slip a metal bead on the tippet ahead of the fly. It will slide down the tippet to the head of the fly when the fly is placed under a strike indicator.

As to the shiny beads being attractors, there are better beads to use. In my view, a glass bead and especially the newer dual color glass beads that have the inner core coated with a bright color and the outer glass being either clear or a second color are much better as attractors. They attract and do not change the mass distribution of the fly very much.

Take a look at the following underwater video of trout. Notice how the debris drifts naturally with the current and ask yourself whether a beadhead or a non beadhead fly would drift more naturally.



I also believe that fish will shy away from patterns that they often see. Whether it is the way the flies look or the way the flies act, I'm not certain. If you look at the vote most folks use beadheads. So in heavily fished areas, I am of the opinion that I will be more effective using non beadheads. On the Madison River from Slide Inn to $3 Bridge, I've fished behind folks using beadheads and caught more fish by using non beadhead flies. I believe the reason is because my flies look and act differently than the flies that the fish see most often. If I used beadheads, I would be targeting the same fish that the guy ahead of me is targeting. By using non beadhead flies, I think I am targeting a different population of fish.

I found this comment about weighting Euronymphs flies on Trout Predator. I think the poster confirms what I also believe. How the fly is weighted does matter.

http://troutpredator.../?topicseen#new
Regards,

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#34 Crackaig

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 04:32 AM

Looking in my box reveals I'm also in the both camp. But a couple of things to note.

 

Most of my beads are part covered, especially the bright ones. The theory goes like this. Beads are more or less spherical. If you shine a light at a sphere the reflection is constant no matter how you turn it. If you want to attract someone. Therefore I cover part of the bead so it flashes as it tumbles. (The method I use also has the advantage of lifting the bead on the hook shank, giving you more available gap to the hook).

 

It isn't weight that caused a fly to sink! Its density. If you put a tungsten bead on a hook and then add lots of light weight materials to the dressing the fly will still float. Yes it will take a lot to make it float, but with enough, it will. Getting nymphs deep is more than just putting a bead on. It needs overall design consideration. Think about the materials you use on the rest of the fly. Divide them into categories, buoyant, neutral and sinking. If you want depth you want more neutral and sinking materials in your fly. Therefore some of the nymphs I tie are made totally of metal. Bead head, wire and Quick Decent dubbing. They sink!

 

Cheers,

C.


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#35 mikechell

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 12:15 AM

Watching that video, the first thing that comes to my mind is ... people who think fish are easily spooked are delusional.  Those trout didn't care until you were practically on top of them.

The second thing is that if a bug is free floating, it needs to flow with the current.  Bead heads would help to more closely resemble a bug hugging the bottom, or trying to.

So, Silvercreek has a point ... if they aren't hitting the "bottom" hugging bugs, try a free floating one.


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#36 FrequentTyer

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Posted 22 December 2013 - 01:42 PM

Watching that video, the first thing that comes to my mind is ... people who think fish are easily spooked are delusional.  Those trout didn't care until you were practically on top of them.
The second thing is that if a bug is free floating, it needs to flow with the current.  Bead heads would help to more closely resemble a bug hugging the bottom, or trying to.
So, Silvercreek has a point ... if they aren't hitting the "bottom" hugging bugs, try a free floating one.


Keep in mind that trout don't have many preditors that come at their level. Heron, eagles, bears, otters, etc all approach from above, and trout most definitely are easily spooked by things above water.
I agree with Silver Creek 100% though. I never use beads and only occasionally add lead wire. Usually all my weight is on the leader when nymphing.
Mike.

#37 Piker20

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 02:25 AM

Talking a step back from trout specific and looking at tube flies, part of the idea behind cone heads is to balance the heavy treble or double hook at the rear and help the fly swim horizontal, or more horizontal. With trout sized flies when we use a weighted leader, so weight acting on the eye of the hook, perhaps we should look at adding weight toward the bend of hooks to balance them? Of course fishing a team of 3 nymphs on the same leader complicates things further.
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#38 Crackaig

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 08:38 AM

Additionally a lot of nymphs are fished on a tight tippet these days. The Czech and Polish methods, high sticking, and even when using an indicator. The tippet is lifting the eye of the hook. This would then be an argument for weight at the eye of the hook to make it swim level.

Cheers,

C.


"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical
minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd
by the clean end"


#39 FrequentTyer

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 08:53 PM

It seems to unlikely that a typical nymph would be rejected or accepted based on the angle of presentation. The naturals, as pointed out above, will often tumble in the current. How the fly reacts to the current may be more critical. Its true that a fly on a weighted leader will be pulled by the weight of the leader some times, but at other times it can float naturally, which a bead head can not do. Does it matter? I'm not going to loose any sleep worrying about it ;-)

#40 sniperfreak223

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 12:17 PM

I carry a good mix of both. My goal is to have 3 unweighted, 3 weighted, 3 brass beadhead and 3 tungsten beadhead versions of each pattern in my box. Which I use depends on the water conditions, less weight in low/clear/slow water, more weight in high/muddy/fast water.

 

the only exception is Czech nymphs, I rarely tie those with beads simply because I feel like beads ruin the profile of those nymphs.

 

but oddly enough, when fishing for panfish I always use beadheads...



#41 ashley

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Posted 23 March 2014 - 03:47 AM

I have no preverance, I just tie some nymphs with beads and without. It all depends on the weight that I want in the fly.



#42 Gregor

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 05:18 AM

That question is like asking someone if he uses climbing shoes or not.. IMHO.

 

If I tie nymphs for very fast water or riffles then I generaly speaking use gold/silver bead to add some extra flash that attract attention.

If I tie nymphs for very deep water the I use tungsten beads to get that extra weight bonus.

If I tie nymph for slow water then I almost never use beads. Except if I want to imitate emerging insects etc.


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#43 cllane

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 07:57 AM

If I'm nymphing, I like a split shot about 16" up from the fly. An un-weighted fly I would think presents itself in a more natural way, and I've done very well using this method. If the stream is high and fast I'll use a tungsten bead fly to keep it down near the bottom. Some beads of course represent an air bubble, are non-tungsten, and almost weightless in themselves. I use some beads to imply a head on the insect I'm trying to represent. Point being it's all good and streams and their conditions require varied fly's and presentations. And that's all I have to say about that.



#44 cllane

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Posted 17 May 2014 - 07:58 AM

If I'm nymphing, I like a split shot about 16" up from the fly. An un-weighted fly I would think presents itself in a more natural way, and I've done very well using this method. If the stream is high and fast I'll use a tungsten bead fly to keep it down near the bottom. Some beads of course represent an air bubble, are non-tungsten, and almost weightless in themselves. I use some beads to imply a head on the insect I'm trying to represent. Point being it's all good and streams and their conditions require varied fly's and presentations. And that's all I have to say about that.



#45 wschmitt3

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:40 PM

The three flies that I have caught more fish on than any other are brown wooly bugger, flashback pheasant tail and zug bug all with tungsten gold beads. I do fish trailing nymphs with out weight but easily two out of three fish I've brought to net were hooked on beadhead flies.

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