How to Rig Fishing Beads

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Fishing beads serve three purposes for anglers: they provide a buffer between moving parts of a rig, such as between a sliding weight and swivel; they provide flotation for sections of a rigged fishing line; and they can even act as bait.


When using lures that spin, placing a swivel between your leader and main line is essential to prevent tangles. If a sliding weight is being used to pull the lure deeper, you should place a bead between the weight and the swivel so that the swivel can rotate freely. Buoyant and non-buoyant beads will both work for this purpose.


Buoyant fishing beads are also useful when placed between your weight and bait that needs to be floated off the bottom of a body of water.

Things You'll Need

  • Fishing beads
  • Fishing weight
  • Lure (or hook and bait)
  • Rod
  • Reel
  • Line
  • Leader

Using Fishing Beads Between Weights and Swivels

  • Thread the main line through the sliding weight.

  • Thread the line through one or more beads that are large enough not to jam in the hole in the weight. The beads themselves should have holes small enough not to jam against the swivel you are using.

  • Tie the line to the swivel using your favorite secure knot--an improved clinch knot is a popular choice (See Resources for a link to an example).

  • Tie one end of the leader to the swivel.

  • Cut the leader to your preferred length and tie the end to the lure.

Using Fishing Beads for Floatation

  • To suspend bait from a weight on the bottom of a lake or river, rig your weight, swivel and leader in your preferred manner.

  • Before tying the hook and bait to the end of the leader, slide on as many fishing beads as it will take to float your chosen bait. Note that in this case, it is necessary to use fishing beads that are made from foam or other buoyant material.

  • Decide how high off the bottom you will want your bait to float, and cut the leader to that length.

  • Tie the hook and bait to the end of the leader.

Fishing Beads as Bait

  • This simple technique is used primarily in fly fishing. Start with your line rigged as you would for any sort of fly fishing: backing, fly line, leader and tippet.

  • Select a bead with color and size to imitate fish eggs that are present in the water you are fishing. Slide it onto the tippet.

  • Tie on a hook.

  • Pin the bead on the line close to the hook by wedging a toothpick end into the bead hole and breaking it off close to the bead.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before you cast your rigged line, always drop it in some shallow water nearby to test how it behaves. Make any necessary adjustments before presenting your lure to the fish.
  • Note that using fly fishing beads as bait is illegal in many fisheries. Also, many anglers feel strongly that it is an immoral practice, because fish are often hooked outside the mouth and, as a result, are maimed or killed.
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