Fishing rigs are the combination of hooks, sinkers, snaps and swivels that you add to the end of your fishing line (also called terminal tackle). You can also add a bobber or cork, or in some cases, a second hook.
Each type of rig has a different purpose, and some rigs may have several names. Some rigs are work well for species and are referred to as trout rigs, flounder rigs or catfish rigs, others can be used for many species.
To get started, you’ll need you rod and reel, extra line, a variety of hooks, sinkers, and swivels. If you’re not familiar with your options in this department, check out our terminal tackle page for more details.
TIP: To create the fishing rigs below, you will need to attach your terminal tackle using fishing knots. A standard fishing knot like the Improved Clinch Knot or the Uni Knot will work.
But just because you can tie a lot of different things to a line, doesn't mean that making a fishing rig has to be complicated. Most fishing rigs are designed fairly simply and are used for specific fishing techniques.
For still fishing, beginner anglers should try the basic bobber rig. These are very simple fishing rigs, and the bobber will show you when a fish is biting your bait. This rig can be used when fishing for panfish, crappie, perch or any other small fish. Follow these steps to put together the basic bobber rig.
TIP: A cork bobber can be used on a basic bobber rig as well. But remember to slide it on your line before you tie your hook.
For bottom fishing, anglers should try the sliding sinker bottom rig. It is a popular, versatile rig and is an effective way to fish bait off the bottom, both from shore and while drifting in a boat. Sliding Sinker or Carolina rigs can be used as catfish rigs, flounder rigs, trout rigs or for fishing for redfish or striped bass.
The presentation of the rig allows the sinker to rest on the bottom of the river or in the surf with the bait suspended above. This feature prevents the fish from feeling the weight as the line passes through the sinker and keeps it from getting hung up on rocks or weeds.
To make a Sliding Sinker rig:
Another rig that works for bottom fishing is the 3-way rig (it can also be used when fishing from shore in current). These rigs are typically considered catfish rigs and is frequently used in surf fishing as well. They are designed to keep your bait off the bottom by using a 3-way swivel. The idea is that when the three-way fishing rig is dropped, drifted or trolled, the lure or bait on the longer piece of leader hovers just over the bottom.
A two-hook bottom rig is probably the most versatile of all fishing rigs. Two-hook bottom rigs can be used as flounder rigs or really to catch everything from panfish to giant grouper. This particular rig is commonly pre-made and sold at tackle shops, but you can tie your own. If you choose to purchase, you will notice that the rigs made with spreader bars instead of fishing line, this can help prevent your hooks from getting tangled.
If you choose to create you own, follow these steps. For smaller fish:
For larger fish:
TIP: When using two-hook bottom rigs as flounder rigs, consider adding a spinner blade or beads for flash to help attract the fish.
A popping cork is a fishing rig that preys on a fish's keen sense of sound and features a piece of terminal tackle called a popping cork. A popping cork can be purchased at most tackle retailers and is made up of a short piece of stiff wire threaded through a foam or cork float and a couple of metal or plastic beads. These are some of the best fishing rigs for redfish or they can be used as trout rigs for speckled trout. To create a popping cork rig:
Some fishing rigs are a bit more complicated and are used for specific situations like catching bait. Here is one to know:
Sabiki rigs are designed to catch baitfish, and are rigged with tiny hooks. The hooks are typically jigs tipped with feathers. Baitfish feed on plankton, so a sabiki rig has to imitate the very small prey of a baitfish, and fit in their modest mouths.
Sabiki rigs usually come pre-made with 5-10 hooks and can be purchased at tackle shops. While you could make your own, they are relatively inexpensive, and are difficult to keep untangled when stored.
Whether you are creating catfish rigs, trout rigs, or any other rigs, make sure you secure all your terminal tackle tightly to ensure the rig does not come loose when you have a fish on the end of your line.
Once you have created your fishing rig, you are ready to begin casting.
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