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In this post, I am going to talk about some of the most popular Beach Fishing Rigs, how to tie them, and most importantly, When to use them. We all love to get out fishing and have our favorite rigs we like to use. But you can’t just use one rig for all occasions.
For instance, if you are fishing offshore for Coral Trout, it’s best to use a running sinking rig. But in the same location, you find a school of snapper, you will want to change it to something like the Paternoster rig. Some of these rigs will take a bit of practice to get good at, others are fairly easy.
You can find a lot of instructional videos all over the internet with methods on tying rigs, and they are worth checking out. Or you could go and buy yourself a book with 101 rigs you will probably never use. I aim to keep it short and sweet, telling you about each rig, which fish to use them with, and of course, how to tie each one.
Modified Three-Way Rig
This rig is quite simple and can be used in many situations. You can tie the knots yourself making use of the dropper loop, or make use of a three-way swivel if you choose. I only use a swivel when necessary, like joining your rig to the mainline. The rig is very simple and can be modified in many ways.
The first thing you need to learn is the Dropper Loop, also known as a Paternoster Rig.
Next, The rig itself.
Step 1: Tie a loop using a double overhand knot at the end of your leader. Or you can also tie a sinker clip if you wish.
This will be the bottom of the rig and will be where we attach our sinker.
Step 2: Tie the dropper loop.
I usually tie this about 10″ from the bottom loop.
Step 3: (Optional) Tie the second dropper loop.
I usually tie this second loop about 15-20″ above the first loop.
Step 4: Cut the leader about 10-15″ above the top dropper loop.
This is the top of the rig and where you connect this rig to your mainline with a barrel swivel.
Step 5: Tie your hooks on using a Clinch or Improved Clinch Knot
This is maybe one of the most commonly used rigs you will find. Not only is it great for beach fishing, but also for fishing offshore. The rig is very simple and can be modified in many ways, making it quite versatile. With a bit of practice, you can tie this rig in seconds, meaning more time in the water. I like to have a few already tied, so change over is very quick, meaning more time in the water.
Tailor, Bream, Whiting, Salmon, Herring, Snapper, Reef Fish
- Can be used off the beach, rocks, and boat
- Can use for almost any species
- Sinker is easily changed out when needed
- Sinker on the bottom minimizes snags
- More difficult to cast
- Harder to tie
The next rig I would like to talk about today is the running sinker rig. I can’t say that I use this rig all that often, just because of the fish I target. The running sinker is a favorite for whiting fishers, as it allows a greater feel of bites. I use this rig mostly when targeting mulloway and sharks off the beach. This is a very easy rig to tie quickly when needed.
Once again, you have quite a few variations with this basic rig. The basic rig consists of a sinker (usually a ball sinker) threaded onto the mainline above a swivel, with a length of leader line (at least two-foot-long) down to a single or gang hook tied on with a Clinch or Improved Clinch Knot. A variation would be to have the sinker run between the swivel and hook as shown.
Another Variation would be to have a sinker tied to its leader going to swivel that runs on the mainline.
Whiting, Flathead, Bream, Jewfish (mulloway), Shark, Coral Trout and Snapper in saltwater, and Trout, Redfin, Carp, Perch and Murry Cod in freshwater
- Quick and easy to tie
- Probably the most used rig by fishers
- Good for fresh as well as saltwater
- Easier to feel bites
- Susceptible to snags
- If you snap off you will lose all of your rigs
The last rig I will talk about is a float rig. Sometimes the fish you are targeting isn’t on the bottom, and you need to fish higher up the water column. This is when you need a float or bob float rig. A rig with a float is used to present a bait near the surface of the water, rather than on or near the bottom, which was the case with the previous two rigs.
A quill float can be attached with plastic elastic bands, or some have an eyelet at the bottom of the float to thread the line through.
A bob float is attached with wire clips located at the top and bottom of the float. The top of the float is pressed down to open the clips and the line is threaded through and run down to a hook tied on with a Clinch or Improved Clinch Knot.
Alternatively to these types of floats, you can have running floats with beads spaced 1 to 5 feet apart with the float running between. As with most rigs, you have lots of variations you can try. With both types of floats, the distance between the float and the bait can be adjusted. Usually, you want at least two feet from float to hook but can go a lot further depending on the depth of a target species.
Between the float and the hook, split-shot sinkers can be added to the line to make sure that the bait sinks away from the float. A good idea if there is a bit of current or fishing with smaller baits.
Herring, Tailor, Salmon, and Bream in salt and most species in freshwater. ( great for garfish)
- Can have bait anywhere you want in the water column (just increase/decrease leader)
- The float is a good indicator of bites
- The float can help in hooking the fish
- Keeps bait and gear out of weed/rocks/reef, minimizing break-offs
- Can see where the line is
- Moves around a lot in the surf
- Tends to move out of fish hot-spot if a lot of current/surf
- Can’t cast as far
To Finish up
Well, guys and girls, these are the most widely used rigs when going surf fishing. of Course, These aren’t the only rigs you can use. Each rig has many variations. To see a few of these variations, check out
They all have their place depending on the conditions and target species. Of course, head into any tackle store and they will have pre-made rigs if you’re not so confident in trying them yourself.
As with making any rig, make sure to use a good quality leader, and change it every time you go out fishing (don’t use the same rig for days or weeks) This can mean the difference between catching that fish and heartbreak.
I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the different surf rigs you can try. If you have any feedback about this post or have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below and I will answer as soon as possible. As Always
Tony, Creator of Get Reel Fishin