Freshwater Fishing Rigs

A fishing rig is the way you tie together bait, lures, hook, swivels, leaders, sinkers, bobbers, flashers, dodgers, cheese doodles and anything else you can attach to a piece of fishing line.

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.

Still Fishing Rig

Still fishing is an easy way to get started fishing because it’s versatile and can be done when fishing from a pier, a bridge, an anchored boat or from shore. It allows you to fish on the bottom or with your bait suspended above the bottom in ponds, lakes, rivers and streams for a variety of species. Still fish can be done during most seasons and during any part of the day. The fishing rig you use depends on what kind of fish you're after. But the key to still fishing is patience. You have to wait for the fish to bite.

Basic Bobber Rig

For still fishing, beginner anglers should try the basic bobber rig. Follow these steps to put together the basic bobber rig:

 

 

Drift Fishing Rig

Drift fishing allows you to fish over a variety of habitats as your boat drifts with the currents or wind movement. You can drift fish on the bottom or change the depth with a bobber or float. Fishing rigs with natural baits work best. But jigs, lures and artificial flies in your drift fishing rig will produce good results too. You can drift fish on ponds, lakes, rivers and streams any time of the day and year.

Sliding Sinker Rig

For drift 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. The presentation of the rig allows the sinker to rest on the water bottom with the bait suspended above. This feature prevents the fish from feeling the weight as the line passes through the sinker. Follow the steps in this video to put together the sliding sinker rig:

 

 

3-Way Rig

Another rig that works for drift fishing is the 3-way rig (it can also be used when fishing from shore in current). This rig is designed to keep your bait off of the bottom. Both catfish and surf anglers use three-way rigs as well. Pyramid sinkers work well to hold the line in the sand and mud and are often tied to the bottom swivel to anchor bait offerings in tides.

 

 

Live Lining Rig

Your line is “live” when your boat is anchored in a flowing body of water like a river or stream. Use live or prepared baits in your live lining fishing rig and keep them on or just off the bottom. Live lining fishing rigs allow your line to drift with the current through holes and rocks where the fish may be holding. The fishing rig you choose will depend on what type of fish you’re after.

Trolling Rig

Most trolling is done using a small electric motor that moves the boat quietly through the water so fish aren't spooked. But you can also troll by towing a fishing rig while walking along the edge of a shoreline, bridge or pier. The speed of the boat determines the depth of your bait. And the depth of the bait on your fishing rig is determined by the species of fish you’re trying to catch. Use a spinning reel or a bait caster for trolling. Some states don’t allow motorized trolling, so check out your local fishing regulations to avoid tangling with enforcement.

Bottom Bouncing Fishing Rig

Bottom Bouncing is done from a drifting or trolling boat, and it’s a great way to attract or locate fish during most seasons and times of day. Use a buck tail jig or natural bait in your bottom bouncing rig and drag it along the bottom. The dragging motion on the fishing rig causes the lure to bounce along, stirring up small clouds of sand or mud. After a few strikes with bottom bouncing, you can drop anchor and apply other fishing rigs to hook the particular kind of species you've attracted.