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Old 03-15-2012, 10:05 AM
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Default To bead or not to bead

Tying some PT nymphs to match the Calibeatis and Quill Gordon nymphs in a stream I'm hitting in a couple weeks. I'm tying them with the intent to use them as tail flies behind my lead fly (size 10-12 prince or size 8 Damsel, depending on how if the rock bass are feeding as well as the trout). My question is: while I've certainly had luck with bead head nymphs, is there an advantage to not having the bead ? (besides leaving the fly light so it can be fished in subsurface, which is not my plan, I intend to pound the stream-bed.) Looking forward to getting everyone's opinion. This is a central KY stream that runs into a lake, ~ 2-3 miles long, stocked in the fall with rainbows, and home to healthy population of rock bass, warmouth, and some white bass down towards the mouth where the lake is. The water's not to swift, nor to slow. Depth ranges from ankle deep to chest deep pools. Bottom is fine gravel with sand and rock.
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:07 AM
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Default Re: To bead or not to bead

As far as an advantage to not having a bead: if the water is super slow or shallow, the bead may just be too much weight, meaning more hang-ups. However, the bigger issue may be if you're targeting fish that don't respond well to flashy stuff (pressured fish or just picky fish). I've heard guys say that they'll either take off the bead or darken it and have better luck. However, I don't have nearly enough experience fishing in conditions where my only variable is bead or no bead to make a good judgment. I'd personally just use the bead, but there's no harm in tying some without.

Where in Central KY are you fishing? I fished Otter Creek (just southwest of Louisville) with some fellow forum members yesterday, pretty slow day unfortunately.
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: To bead or not to bead

I was recently tying "some", too, and I couldn't decide either. So I tied 6 with, and 6 without! It's such a basic fly, that how could you have too many?

BTW - The one's that I tied for the Spring Brook Trout Swap were "with".
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: To bead or not to bead

To Bead or Not to Bead...that is not the only question! For a non-flashy finish, or for a LITTLE added weight I use the wire rap on the hook underneath everything. I rarely tie entirely unweighted nymphs because they wont get down even in relatively slow waters. 3 to 5 turns of lead substitute gives them about half a beads worth of weight. These don't sink fast at all, but will never ride the film on you when you are wanting to get down a little.
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:00 PM
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Default Re: To bead or not to bead

Gator,
Craney Creek, which flows into Cave Run lake. Close to Morehead KY

Aus,
I have to say I love the look with and without a bead. Having thought about it, I think I'll be following fire instructors example and tying both. Granted on the stream I'll likely use nymph with no bead and some lead wraps under the thorax, since I like my trailing flies to be a little more free in the current.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: To bead or not to bead

Tie some of each, I was using an unbeaded pt nymph a few weeks ago 6" below the dry and caught fish.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:28 PM
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Default Re: To bead or not to bead

One thing that I was taught, as I learned to tie, was that if it's olive or brown, and less than 1/2" long, the trout will usually eat it....
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: To bead or not to bead

I tie flies both ways, as well as using a plastic bead for flash/color without weight. I'll not only use the unweighted ones for fishing closer to the surface and in shallow areas, but I'll trail it behind a heavy fly and it will have more motion in the water, maybe imitates an emerger? Who knows. I do think that sometimes the simple pattern with no flash can be the way to go. In any case, it can be good to have the variety and if you're tying up some flies anyways, doing a few without a bead is an easy way to expand your options when fish don't seem to like what you're tossing out there.
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