Beads are widely used in sea fishing for a variety of different purposes. Small rig beads are used in rig making to trap swivels in place, while larger beads are used to protect knots in pulley rigs and running ledger rigs.
Beads are also used alongside sequins as attractors. They are added to hooklengths to attract fish to baited hooks, a tactic that works particularly well when it comes to fishing for flatfish species. The main types of beads and attractors used in sea fishing are reviewed below.
Small beads are used in rig making to trap swivels. These type of beads may be known as micro beads, rig beads or a range of other names. These beads can be as small as 3mm in diameter and can be round, oval or spherical in shape. While there is a wide range of these beads on the market they are not a complicated item of terminal tackle and can be bought relatively cheaply. They come in a range of different colours with some anglers using different colours to distinguish between different rigs, while other anglers preferring to use luminous rigs beads as these can attract fish to rigs. Trace Builder Rig Beads measure 3.5mm by 5mm and are ideal for rig making. They are available from Sea Angling Shop for £1.89 for a packet of 100 and are available in either black or luminous colours. Click here to view and purchase.
5mm and 8mm Beads
As their name suggests these beads are either 5mm or 8mm in diameter and these sizes have become a standard measurement of sea fishing beads over the years. While it is perfectly possible to use these size beads to trap a swivel many anglers now see them as too bulky for this role and prefer to use the smaller beads which are described above. However, 5mm beads are ideal to use in pulley rigs to protect the knots from the sliding pulley bead, while they can also be used to protect knots in running ledger rigs used for large species such as conger eels. The larger 8mm beads are best used as attractors on hooklengths for flatfish species such as plaice. Many anglers experiment with a range of 5mm beads, 8mm beads and sequins to their hooklengths (see more on attractors below) to attract flatfish to their rigs. Sea Angling Shop sell 5mm beads and 8mm beads, with both being available in packets of 50 or 100 in a mix of colours. Luminous beads are also popular with anglers wanting to make their rigs stand out when fishing at night or when fishing in coloured or murky water. Cronus Oval Lumi Beads are available in packets of 50 for 79p or 100 for £1.49 by clicking here.
There is a wide range of attractor beads available on the market. These can range from luminous beads to make rigs stand out at night to spotted and patterned floating beads which can attract fish to anglers’ baited hooks. While some anglers have success with these types of patterned beads others prefer to stick to simpler (and cheaper) 5mm and 8mm beads if they want to add attractors to their rigs. Usually, a neoprene stopknot is added to keep the beads and sequins near to the hook, although an effective stopknot can also be tied with monofilament. Alternating black and green beads are often used in plaice rigs as it is believed that plaice associate these colours with food sources such as mussels, but all flatfish will be attracted to beads and sequins which are added to rigs. Buy a packet of 50 plaice beads for just 79p from Sea Angling Shop by clicking here.
While many people will not have used sequins since their primary school arts and craft classes they do in fact have an important role as a bait stop and attractor in sea fishing rigs. Sequins are threaded on to the hooklength and then a stop knot is tied with neoprene (although power gum or monofilament can also be used) to hold the sequin in place. This prevents the bait from being pushed up and away from the hook on impact with the water (this can be an issue with clipped down rigs) and the sequins also act as an attractor as they reflect light. Green, red and silver are the most common colours for sea fishing sequins, with holographic designs proving increasingly popular due to their highly reflective nature. Purchase silver Cronus 8mm Holographic Sequins in packets of 50 or 100 by clicking here, or mixed colour Rig Sequins by clicking here.
Attractor blades are added to hooklengths to attract fish towards the rigs and the baited hook. Fish are attracted to the colour of the blade and the light which is reflected by the blade. However, many reflector blades are also designed to spin and rotate on the line and gently kick up sand and sediment. Many species – especially flatfish – will come and investigate, possibly because they see it as a small fish or marine worm attempting to bury itself away in the sand. For these reasons adding attractor blades to rigs that are used to fish over sandy seabeds can increase catch rates for a range of species. Cronus Attractor Blades are 20mm in length, come in a range of colours and feature a holographic pattern.
Sea fishing spoons are designed to be used to attract fish, again it is particularly flatfish, to a baited hook. There is a wide range of spoons available with smaller ones designed to be added to hooklengths to move and flutter in the tide, like the attractor blades described above. However, flounder spoon rigs are also available which have a hook on a short length of line mounted just behind a larger metal spoon. On these rigs, the hook is baited (typically with a ragworm or mackerel strip, although artificial Isome baits can be used) and the spoon cast out and retrieved slowly across the seabed. Any flatfish in the area will be attracted by the movement of the spoon and the sand and sediment it is kicking up and come and investigate. Many anglers in estuaries, sandy beaches, bays and harbours can have great success fishing for flounder and other flatfish with baited spoons, and in clear water it is sometimes possible to see flatfish following and chasing the spoon as it is reeled in. WSB Flounder Spoons cost just £1.49 and come complete with attractor beads and a size 1 hook – click here to view.