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How to Use the Suspended Bead Rigging Technique

How to Use the Suspended Bead Rigging Technique

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The suspended bead method is an alternative to bobber dogging, most effective when targeting suspended fish or fishing in holes that have a lot of structure like boulder gardens or log jams. The bead is suspended with a float at some distance above the bottom. Typically between 1’ to 3’. The main difference between suspended and Bobber Doggin is that the bead and weight are not in contact with the river bottom while fishing is suspended.


Standard spinning rods for suspended beads are 9’ to 10’ in length, 8-15lb with a medium action. Due to the length of time spent mending a longer rod is beneficial. Reels are 2000 to 3000 series spinning reels capable of carrying 150 yards or more of 30 lb. braided line. Braided line line that floats well and is easy to mend is recommended for this technique For leaders 10 to 15 lb. monofilament is recommended. Heavier if targeting chinook.


Tapered cigar style foam, balsa or polystyrene sliding floats are recommended. Bobber sizes to balance at ¼ oz to ½ oz weight. Heavier weights/floats can be effective when fishing deeper holes and holes that have significant amounts of turbulent water. Preferred weights for bobber dogging are in-line steel weights in either the round or cylinder shape. The steel weight is less sticky in the bottom of the river and results in less hanging up. In especially fast or turbulent water a split shot attached 1 to 2’ above the bead can help get the bead into the strike zone.


A wide array of baits can be deployed with a suspended set up. We do not recommend running double rigs though. The tangle probability can be quite frustrating. 
  • Single bead rigs with a leader length of 3’-4’.
  • Yarnie rig with a leader of 3’-4’
  • Bait rig with a leader length of 3’-4’.


Fish will bite a suspended bead in a number of different ways. From grabbing the bait as it floats down and swimming away with it, to letting the bait go by and then turning and chasing it down. In all cases the most important thing to do when you see a bite is to reel up all the slack as quickly as possible before setting the hook.
In conclusion, the suspended bead method is a very effective technique that allows you to efficiently cover holes with a lot of boulder structure or wood structure. Fishing suspended also allows you to target fish in deeper holes that may also be suspended at some depth above the bottom. This technique can be deployed for targeting salmon and steelhead in all sizes of rivers. The video below goes step by step how to rig suspended beads for salmon and steelhead. 

Table 1: Suspended Bead Options
Rod Size/Type 9’ to 10’, 8-15 lb., medium action spinning
Reel Size/Type 2000 to 3000 series spinning reels capable of carrying 150 yards of braided line
Line 25 to 50 lb. braided line
Leader Length 3’ to 6’
Leader Size Steelhead: 10 to 15 lb.
Salmon: 15 to 30 lb.
Bait Options
  • Single bead rigs with a leader length of 3-4’.
  • Yarnie rig with a leader of 3-4’
  • Bait rig with a length of 3-4’..