Beadhead vs. Non-Beadhead

#1
When fishing subsurface in lakes do you find beadhead flies more effective than non-beadhead flies?

Are there atmospheric conditions that enable one type or the other to be a better choice?

I'd appreciate your thoughts and experiences on this matter. Thanks in advance.
Scott
 

BDD

Active Member
#2
I like to add beadheads to my chironomid patterns to help them sink a bit faster. Many times I add a beadhead to generic "trolling" patterns as well, such as leeches, buggers, damsels, etc.
 
#3
really depends on how you want to present your fly. a bead head of the right weight should give you more of a jigging action over a lead underbody. i suppose it could look like some sort of eye which might help trigger strikes.
 
#4
iagree

I have not noticed a difference. To my way of thinking, a bead is just another way to add some weight to the head of the fly - ala spring creek special.
 
#5
I generally prefer non-weighted patterns in the still since I tend to use a sinking line most often. Usually a weighted pattern on a fast sink is too much of a good thing…just don’t think the action is right. I like weighted or beaded flies for shallow retrieve off a floating line or as a dropper from a dry fly.
 
#7
Bead heads on floating lines, non weighted on sinking lines. I weight some of my nymphs with lead, but it is hard for me to remeber which are weighted and which aren't some times, but a bead head is easy to remember.

Wayne
 

Pat M

Chasing Tiger Trout
#8
I usually fish flies without beads. The one thing thats has worked well for me in the past is run a couple of orange troutbeads up your leader and than tie in a leech pattern. When you strip you leech in the 2 beads will bang against each other. Its somewhat of an attractor for fish to come and investigate. It has worked well this past summer and fall. Give'r a go.:thumb:
 

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
#9
I weight some of my nymphs with lead, but it is hard for me to remeber which are weighted and which aren't some times, but a bead head is easy to remember.

Wayne
When I use a lead underbody I wind the ribbing and/or palmered hackle in the opposite direction than I normally do. A compartmented box keeps them seperate from the other flies.
 

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
#10
I don't tie beadheads because I don't like their unnatural appearance. I use underbody wraps of a lead free wire instead. I prefer an unweighted fly whenever possible because I think it has a more natural action in the water.

To aid in identifying weighted from unweighted flies in your box just use a different color thread on the weighted flies.

TC
 

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
#11
I don't tie beadheads because I don't like their unnatural appearance. I use underbody wraps of a lead free wire instead.
iagree

When I returned to flyfishing in the late 1990s after a 25 year hiatus, one of my mentors told me about an annual fishing trip he and some friends had made Chopaka several years earlier. The use of beadhead nymphs had recently become popular and eager to try them, he and his friends incorporated beads into some of their favorite patterns.

They found two things in quick succession. First, that the beadhead nymphs initially caught more fish. But second, they very soon after stopped producing. Baffled, they tried other patterns with little success before switching back to their original weighted but non-beadheaded patterns. They soon started catching fish again and kept catching them as long as they stayed with the non-beadhead versions.

Comparing notes around the campfire, they theorized that the fish initially were attracted to the beadheads by their unusual appearance. But after their initial encounters, the fish learned to associate the bright, unnatural 'food' with an pain in the mouth and a scary experience and began avoiding them.

My friend tried the same experiment at different lakes that year with similar results. He hasn't tied a beadhead nymph since.

K
 
#12
iagree

When I returned to flyfishing in the late 1990s after a 25 year hiatus, one of my mentors told me about an annual fishing trip he and some friends had made Chopaka several years earlier. The use of beadhead nymphs had recently become popular and eager to try them, he and his friends incorporated beads into some of their favorite patterns.

They found two things in quick succession. First, that the beadhead nymphs initially caught more fish. But second, they very soon after stopped producing. Baffled, they tried other patterns with little success before switching back to their original weighted but non-beadheaded patterns. They soon started catching fish again and kept catching them as long as they stayed with the non-beadhead versions.

Comparing notes around the campfire, they theorized that the fish initially were attracted to the beadheads by their unusual appearance. But after their initial encounters, the fish learned to associate the bright, unnatural 'food' with an pain in the mouth and a scary experience and began avoiding them.

My friend tried the same experiment at different lakes that year with similar results. He hasn't tied a beadhead nymph since.

K

thats interesting, i wonder if a duller beadhead maybe something that would blend with the fly would solve that problem.
 

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
#13
thats interesting, i wonder if a duller beadhead maybe something that would blend with the fly would solve that problem.
My friend gave up on beads altogether and returned to wrapping lead (or lead-free) wire around the hook shank before tying the pattern. That said, I've seen black beads that might reduce the 'unnatural' appearance of the fly.

As a direct result of my friend's experience, I've simply stopped using beads for nearly all of the nymphs I tie. The most effective nymph pattern in my box is a gold ribbed hare's ear with no bead, flash or other stuff except for a skinny tinsel or wire rib.

K
 

Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
#14
I use a lot of clear beads mid body (thorax) to simulate gas bubbles trapped against the critter.

I use white beadheads too quite often for chiro's.
 
#15
I appreciate all the good info, your shared experiences help us learn more about fish behaviour. I've noticed some days beadheads work great and other days they don't. Wondered what might be some of the reasons for that. Atomspheric and water conditions certainly play a big role in feeding behaviour. I'm always curious to learn if some of our "improvements" to time proven fly designs work in the manner desired (assumed) or like the third tailight on autos the effect is short lived. Whatever the answers, sure makes creative tying and fishing fun!
Scott