Two Hook Bottom Rig
A two-hook bottom rig is probably the most versatile saltwater fishing rig. You can use a two-hook bottom rig to catch everything from pan fish to giant grouper. While premade saltwater fishing rigs are available, it is easy to tie your own. For smaller fish, start with an arm's length of 30- to 50-pound monofilament and tie four 2- to 3-inch dropper loops 3 to 4 inches apart. Attach a sinker to the bottom loop, a hook to each of the two middle loops, and the line running from your fishing reel to the top loop.
For larger fish, use 50- to 100-pound test leader, a snap swivel, two three-way swivels and a regular swivel. Tie a 6- to 8-inch piece of leader between the snap swivel and one of the three ways. From the second eye of the three-way, attach an 8- to 10-inch piece of leader and tie on the second three-way. Attach another 6- to 8-inch piece of leader to the second eye of the second three-way and tie on the swivel. From each of the remaining three-way eyes, tie a short piece of leader snelled to a hook. Make sure the leaders are short enough that the hooks don't become tangled. The hooks can be dressed up with bucktail hair, beads, spinners or floats to attract fish.
A three-way rig is similar to a two-hook bottomrig, except that it only has one hook. Start with a three-way swivel, tie a short piece of leader to one of the eyes, then tie a longer piece to the other eye. The shorter piece of leader gets a sinker or jig, and the longer piece of leader gets a hook or another lure. The idea is that when the three-way is dropped, drifted or trolled, the lure or bait on the longer piece of leader hovers just over the bottom.
A Carolina rig can be used with an artificial or natural bait. This rig puts the bait close to the bottom while keeping it from getting hung up on the bottom. To make a Carolina rig, start by threading the main line through the hole in an egg sinker. Tie a swivel to the mainline and attach a 6- to 12-inch piece of leader that is snelled to a hook or artificial bait like a soft plastic or a jig.
A Carolina rig works with egg sinkers up to 3 or 4 ounces. For a heavier weight, replace the egg sinker with a fishfinder slide and clip on a heavier weight. To keep the sinker or fishfinder from snagging on the terminal tackle, place a small plastic bead on the mainline between the weight and the swivel. The advantage of a Carolina rig or fishfinder rig is that it allows the fish to pick up the bait without detecting the weight of the sinker.
A popping cork preys on a fish's keen sense of sound and features a short piece of stiff wire threaded through a foam or cork float and a couple of metal or plastic beads. A loop at one end of the wire is tied to the mainline, while the loop at the other end is tied to a piece of leader long enough to dangle a jig or natural bait just over the bottom. A quick snap of the rod tip makes the float pop against the beads and causes the bait to hop below. Let the float settle before popping it again. This rig works best where shrimp or baitfish are popping on the surface.
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