Blue Balls


Just in time for the last month of the inland trout season and the beginning of Steelhead season, the blue balls have arrived. There is a limited supply of these new Fluorescent Blue colored balls. The bright blue color is perfect for clear skies and sunny conditions. The color blends perfectly with the sky under these conditions and provides extra stealth when crystal clear water is prevalent. Be the first to have Bentley’s Blue Balls attached to your leader. Three sizes are available on the shopping cart of this site. Collect um, trade um, share them with your friends, just don’t be without your own supply of these colorful balls. 


Bentley’s Balls strike indicators function both as depth indicators and strike indicators. The beauty of the balls lies in the buoyancy of the product. The fact that these balls float better than corks enables the angler to float a fly just above the river bottom where fish are feeding 85% of the time. Not only does this indicator let you put the fly in the feeding zone, it translates the bite as soon as the fish grabs your fly. 


One of the most important factors to understanding strike indicators is recognizing how they move. Interpreting the movement of Bentley’s Balls strike indicators is a skill. Understanding that the fly/flies are directly attached to the indicator by the leader and tippet, your eye focuses on the ball’s movement as it drifts in the current. Your eyes and brain catalogue the information and commit it to memory. You will begin to identify how Bentley’s Balls move in a variety of current situations. You will also see how the sub-surface terrain that your fly/flies are moving over is translated to the indicator. The movements will be subtle but markedly different when your fly/flies travel over sand, weeds or rocks. By watching this movement you will also learn to recognize the all important factor of DRAG. Drag is evil, just like slack, and the balls will help you understand how important a dead drift presentation is when you want to achieve it.  Most importantly Bentley’s Balls will show you how fish feed through the movement of the ball. Strike detection is a skill that is developed and eventually becomes second nature. Fish do not always feed the same way, and the ball will show you how little time you have to react after said fish has just sent you a message. 


Bentley’s Balls strike indicators are simple to adjust. The rubber widget, which is pulled through the hole in the ball, grips the leader in a straight line configuration, eliminating the twisting, gluing and looping of the leader that prevails in most other indicator systems. This simple system makes adjustment a breeze and keeps leader kinking to a minimum, yet the ball stays in place even on the most hyper-active hook sets.  A note on making adjustments; 

-Moving the ball up and down the leader quickly or over long distances builds up friction and heat. The quick or long movements will lead to the cutting of the widget band and the loss of the ball. Move the ball slowly and over short distance, this will lead to a much lower failure rate of the rubber. 


The Balls are strung on a loop of mono which acts as a threader. Simply double your leader over near the butt section and feed it through the loop at the top of the string of balls. Pull the top ball off the string until your leader is pulled through the hole in the ball and ends up as a loop on the other side. Place one of the bands in the loop of the leader so that it is captured at the half way point and pull the band all the way through the hole in the ball. 

-If the ball is already off of the stringer/threader simply fold your leader in half, again near the butt section, squeeze it tightly together and feed it through the hole in the ball. This will give you the loop you need to capture the band. Again, capture the band at its center point and pull it all the way through the other side of the ball. 

BENTLEY’S BALLS- Why all the different colors? 

There is one thing I know for sure about fly fishing. I must be able to adapt in order to be successful at catching. Every time I step in the water I realize that some aspect, some variable has likely changed, and I approach each outing with that thought in mind. Sure, I will likely begin each day presenting flies in which I have confidence in and techniques that have produced results before, but I know I must be willing to change. It is for this reason that I carry more than one color, size, and type of strike indicator with me when I fish. Just like fly selection, tippet size, shot assortment and rod size to name a few, the conditions of the water, the weather and the fish will dictate my adjustments so I try to be prepared. 

The first rule of strike indicators is use the color strike indicator that your eye sees best. For me, fluorescent orange stands out against any background and enables me to see the subtlest of movements of the indicator while floating on water. Orange is the best for most anglers, but it is not always the stealthiest. The variety of colors will enable you to make adjustments to your rigging as the situation dictates. 

Fluorescent Orange- Is the most popular color of Bentley’s Balls. The color makes the indicator easiest to see in all around light and water conditions and is my top choice for fishing a majority of the time. This should be the top choice of anglers learning the nuance of strike detection. 

Fluorescent Green- This bright green indicator stands out in both low light, bright light and stained water conditions. The leafy green color makes it popular among those who prefer a high level of stealth while fishing in environments where leaf litter on the surface of the water is common. 

Yellow-This is a light yellow and is a good choice for overcast or evening conditions. I like this indicator in the large size and often use it under the above conditions while fishing for Steelhead or Smallmouth. 

White- White was returned to the color line up under popular demand. Unknown to me many of my customers had used this color for two different purposes when we had sold them at Bentley’s Outfitters. First, as the ultimate in stealth in turbulent conditions when fishing broken water, seams and back eddy’s. This ball color blends perfectly with the white bubbles created by the above current conditions. Take a look next time you’re out, how many situations you are fishing with white bubbles on the surface. Second, the white balls enable anglers to color and create strike indicator patterns that fit with their fishing situations and conditions. I have seen everything from spots, stripes, and circles, scrawled across the upper portion of Bentley’s Balls. White give you creative license. 

Fluorescent Blue-This is the newest color in the line up. Its color blends with the sky on blue bird sunny skies when viewed from the bottom up as the fish do. This provides another stealth variable on sunny days and the above water portion glows beautifully in the sun for easy detection. I am using this color more and more under sunny conditions, clear water and spooky fish. Another reason for the popularity of this color is that you can discuss the pros and cons of Bentleys Blue Balls. Take it for what its worth. 


Bentley’s Balls come in 4 different sizes. For your best advantage, It may be necessary to adjust the size of your balls in these situations; 

-The size of the ball makes too much disturbance when it lands on the water spooking wary fish. A smaller ball will make less disturbance. 

-The amount of weight you are using to get your fly through heavy current  is pulling your indicator under water, making it difficult to detect subtle strikes and movements. A larger ball will give you more buoyancy. 

-Your eyes cannot clearly see the balls movement. Different sizes will be used in long line and short line nymphing situations. Generally, the farther the indicator is from you, the larger the ball you will use.