You’ll often find various colored beads on fishing rigs. There can be several reasons for this. Let’s explore the purpose of colored beads on fishing rigs.
Colored Beads Reduce Knot Friction on Fishing Rigs
Fishing rigs can sometimes get complicated. Anglers have come up with some pretty amazing methods for catching fish, and they can get very particular. For example, a slip-rig utilizes some sort of sinker with a large hole in it. The line is fed through the hole in the sinker but not tied to it. The sinker can freely move up or down the line until it hits a stopping point; usually the lure and either a barrel swivel or equivalent. That barrel swivel and lure are connected to the line via a fishing knot (palomar or improved clinch knot, for example). The problem is, when the large hole of the sinker moves down or up the line, it can slam up against the knot. This causes unwanted friction and wear on the knot, and it can lead to failed rigs (broken line!). The solution: anglers will use a small plastic bead between the knot and sinker. The hole in the bead is just larger than the diameter of the line so pushing it against the knot won’t create much problem. The outside diameter of the bead is larger than the hole in the sinker, which stops the sinker at the bead. In this case, bead color really doesn’t matter but most fishing beads come in red or orange because of another purpose. That’s next.
Slip Bobber Rigs Need a Small Plastic Bead to Stop the Bobber at the Correct Spot
Anglers that want to fish with bobbers in deep water quickly realize it’s impossible to cast out if your bobber has a ton of line hanging below it. I’m sure many anglers would lay claim to the original idea, but at some point, someone figured out what’s known as a “slip bobber” rig. This requires a special type of bobber (called a slip bobber). It has a small hole going all the way through it lengthwise (vertically as it sits in the water). Let’s say you’re fishing 16′ of water and want your bait 1′ off the bottom. 15′ up the line, you will tie a slip bobber knot on. For the purposes of this article, we won’t discuss the various stops you can use, but there are many options. Then, a small plastic bead is threaded onto the line. Then the bobber is threaded on the line. Then you can tie on your lure. The bead ensures the bobber stops at the knot and prevents friction and wear at that junction. Bead color is pretty irrelevant in this case.
Red or Orange Beads Can Serve to Imitate Spawn (Fish Eggs)
Colored fishing beads are also used to imitate fish eggs (aka roe, skein or spawn). So, the choice of color often is made to match a particular fish species’ eggs. These beads are often found at the head of a fly, such as an egg-sucking leech pattern (very popular among fly fishermen). They are also found on spinners. Colored foam beads are also used to supplement real spawn bag baits because they add an element of flotation to the presentation, which keeps it just off the bottom. Weighted beads (various metals available) are also used to help sink a fly or lure quicker and deeper.
Now you know the various purposes of colored beads (such as red and orange) on fishing rigs.