How to Tie Saltwater Fishing Rigs
Fishing Rigs - Fishing Knots
I’ve spent almost half a century saltwater fishing, and since my husband is eleven years my senior, he’s been fishing even longer than I have. We’ve spent countless hours angling from fishing piers, casting in the surf, trolling, drop fishing, and drift fishing. We’ve picked up on a lot of fishing tips between the two of us, and one of the most important things we’ve learned is that you have to be adaptable with your choice of baits, fishing gear, and angling techniques. What works for one species might not work for another type of saltwater fish. Even among the same species, feeding patterns and other conditions should dictate how you employ your fishing strategies. One often overlooked aspect here is fishing knots and different saltwater fishing rigs. We mostly learned how to tie saltwater fishing rigs through trial and error, and I’m sharing that information with you here.
Popular Fishing Rigs
There are lots of different types of fishing rigs, and each has its own advantages. You can purchase already-made rigs from bait shops and tackle stores, but it’s not really difficult to make your own. The following are some of the most popular fishing rigs used with saltwater fishing:
Fish finder rig – Fish finder rigs are great for fishing on or near the bottom, with live or dead shrimp, live minnows, crabs, cut bait, or artificial baits. This type of rig uses a single hook, a sliding sinker, a swivel, and a leader. This is a good rig to use for bobbing a bait long the bottom, as the weight can be “bounced.” This is our preferred rig for flounder fishing, but it’s also useful for other species.
Three-way swivel fishing rigs – A three-way rig uses a triple swivel with three eyes. The weight is attached to the very end of the line, and the hook is attached several inches up, to a different section of line. This design keeps the bait suspended just above the bottom. This rig can be used with natural and artificial baits and is often the preferred rig for trolling and drift fishing.
Bottom fishing rig – Bottom rigs are similar to three-way rigs, except that most of them have two hooks instead of one. The hooks are placed about four to twelve inches apart, with the weight at the end of the line. As the term suggests, this is a good way to target fish that feed on or near the bottom. This is also an excellent choice for novice anglers, especially when fishing for schooling fish. It’s not unusual to catch two fish at a time with this rig.
Break-away – This is sometimes used by more experienced anglers in their pursuit of large predators like sharks and tarpon. The set-up is much the same as it is with the three-way rig, except that the sinker is attached with very light line, or in some cases, with regular sewing thread. Once a fish is mouthing the bait, the line attached to the weight will break as the hook is set. That way, the fish won’t have any weight leverage for tossing the hook.
Popping cork fishing rigs – Popping corks are floats that attract fish with noise and movement. Once you learn to manipulate the cork, you can make it sound like and look like a baitfish struggling on the surface of the water. Toss the cork among a school of noisy baitfish, and any predators following the school will be drawn to your rig. This is a very effective method for attracting and catching spotted seatrout, redfish, and blues. Live shrimp and minnows work best with popping corks.
How to Tie Saltwater Fishing Knots
I’m sure you’ve heard that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, right? The same principle applies to fishing line – a fishing line is only as strong as its knot. There are scores of different fishing knots, but I don’t think I’ve ever known an angler who uses every type. If you can learn the basics of a few good fishing knots, you should be prepared for just about any kind of saltwater fishing. The videos below will show you exactly how to tie several different types of fishing knots. After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, a how-to video should be even more valuable! The following are some of the most commonly seen knots for fishing salt water:
Bimini twist knot:
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