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I have the yellow bumpers that I like but think the price is outrageous. Then I have the rubber beads, probably the same ones Jon uses since I got them at the same bait shop (West Side Bait shop). And finally I have a bunch of plastic beads that I have quit using since they are not much different than letting the sliding sinker bang on the knot.
 

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Fish Sticks
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I use plastic beads from a hobby shop. They cost little for a lot of them. I use a lot of braid and Palomar knots are small enough to not have the bead banging on the knot. For mono I use beads that have the larger holes in them I got at a resale shop for really cheap.
 

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Braid and sinker sliders, so no knot issues. When I used mono and sliding sinkers, I used bulk 6mm beads. 6mm usually had a big enough hole to go over the knot and not beat it up like the weight would.
 

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Dave from ohio
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I don't see how those plastic beads are protecting your knot, unless the hole is big enough that it slides over it.There is no cushion there.
 

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I just have to think about what the purpose for a bead is to realize that keeping a heavy slip linker from banging up and down on a knot is not helped a lot by having a hard plastic bead doing the same thing while the sinker pounds on the top of it. Especially if it has a sharp edge around the hole that hits the knot.

The Team Catfish bumpers are nice but the price is almost insane. A little piece of rubber with a hole in it should cost a little of nothing. Hopefully some company will decide to make good inexpensive bumpers and know they will make money because they will sell a lot. Not because they will charge 10 times what they are worth.

A good alternate would short lengths of aquarium air hose. It is somewhat soft and will easily fit over the knot. The large plastic bead pictured above is a hard plastic but the hole going thru it is large and the edges are well rounded so that they would do little damage to a knot.

This is another one of those things that would be very difficult to say was causing the loss of a certain percentage of fish but it would seem reasonable that something soft hitting the knot would be better than something hard hitting the knot.

Finally, I don’t know how many are like me but I cut and re-tie my swivels every trip. Some may just hook the hook on a keeper and use it the next time they go fishing.

Tight lines all.
 

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Tom, you mention retying every trip. You must not fish around zebra mussels! We retie every hour! It's a pain in the rump, but those things eat your line quick... a lot quicker than a weight or bead against a knot.

The plastic bead is okay for light weights IMO. a 1-2oz weight hitting that bead into your knot will not do any damage unless you have some bad line or using a metal bead. Any weight bigger than 2oz and you would be lucky if you still have that plastic bead after the first cast, the big weights will crack them off. But like I said, when I used plastic beads it was with large enough holes to sit over the knots.

Simple solution is to switch to braid main line. The braid will cushion and bend, it won't be pinch-cut like mono/fluoro.
 

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I don't often get down into mussel beds Kevin. I do fish them but most always suspended drift fishing a foot or two above the sharpies.
 
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