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While there are many different rigs that can be used while surf fishing, the five listed below are very effective and offer a variety of setups to suit different conditions.
You should definitely have enough options here to allow you to fish in all surf conditions for a wide variety of fish, so give some of these a go.
Five Easy Surf fishing rigs
2: High-Low rig
3: Fireball rig
4: Flapper rig
5: Running rig
Fish Finder Rig
The fish finder rig is one of the most popular choices when surf fishing. It is very to set up (could be one of the reasons for its popularity), and has proven to be a very successful rig for a wide range of species.
The fish finder rig is a free running rig, so can be used with live bait as well as a variety of dead baits.
The idea is that the fish will pick up the bait and won’t feel any resistance as it moves off due to the sliding sinker.
1. Weight: An egg sinker is ideal for this rig, or you can use a pyramid sinker clipped to a sinker slider.
2. Bead: Use a bead in between the weight and swivel
3. Swivel: Make sure you use a good quality, strong swivel for this rig
4. Leader: Use a leader length of around 18 to 24 inches
5. Hook: Circle hooks are best for this rig
The high low rig is one of the most well known and popular rigs used in fishing, due to its versatility and is a great option for surf fishing.
This rig is a little bit more detailed to set up, so it is advisable to get a few made up before you go out fishing, so you don’t waste any time when you get there.
There are a few different ways to set up a high low rig, but I have found that the following works well when surf fishing.
1. Leader: Use about 1 meter of leader for this rig.
2. Dropper line: Get two pieces of dropper line
3. Joining the line: Put the leader and the first dropper line next to each other, and then with both lines together tie a granny knot (loop the lines about three times). Once wrapped together three times pull both ends to tighten the knot.
4. Cut the tag off: On the dropper line you will have a shorter tag end, and you should snip this tag off fairly close to the knot
5. Repeat process for the second hook: Repeat the above about 20 inches further up the leader than the first knot.
6. Weight attachment: It is a good idea to create a loop at the bottom of the leader, as this will allow you to quickly change up weights if and when you want to.
To do this you should create a big loop at the bottom of the leader, then wrap the loop around your finger and then grab the end of the loop and push it through the hole you just created by wrapping around your finger. Pull the line tight and trim off the tag.
To better visualise the setup of the high low rig watch the below video:
The fireball rig has a few variations, but this particular one has been designed specifically for surf fishing.
The fireball rig is fairly similar to the high low rig, with just a couple of differences. It has the sinker located at the bottom of the line, and two dropper lines with hooks coming off the leader.
The main difference with the fireball rig is that you thread a bead first, followed by a Styrofoam float onto each dropper line so that it will float the bait off the bottom. This makes it more visible and helps to stop your bait from being eaten by crabs.
Use the same steps as in the high low rig, but just add the bead and Styrofoam float just before the hook.
The flapper rig is another rig that uses a two or even a three hook setup. It is a great option for surf fishing and is fairly simple to set up.
This is another rig that you can prepare at home and take a few ready-made with you to the beach so you don’t have to spend valuable fishing time doing it when you’re at the beach.
Setup (for a two-hook flapper rig):
1. Main leader: Get about 1 meter of main leader line (use a little bit longer if you want to make this into a three-hook flapper rig)
2. Three-way swivel: Secure a three-way swivel to the bottom of the main leader line
3. Second three-way swivel: Now secure another three-way swivel closer to the top of the leader.
4. Weight: On the bottom, three-way swivel add a sinker clip to the lower swivel loop. This will be used to add the sinker.
5. Dropper line: Now add a length of dropper line around 18 inches in length to the middle loop on each three-way swivel
That’s it. You can then attach your hooks and sinker to the rig once you get to the beach.
The running rig is similar to the fish finder rig, but I tend to differentiate the two by using a light ball sinker with this one, instead of the egg sinker as used in the fish finder rig. I also don’t use a swivel, I allow the bead and ball sinker to run right down to the hook.
I like to use this when fishing fairly close to the shore when I find a good gully that has a good amount of water moving through it. You want the bait to move along the bottom with the current, which is why I keep the ball sinker as light as possible, just enough to allow me to cast out to the preferred spot.
1. Sinker and bead: Add the small ball sinker to the main line followed by the small bead.
2. Hook: You have a lot of options to use here. A circle hook is a good option, or you can use ganged hooks if you want to use bigger bait.
These are just a few surf fishing rigs that you can use, but they are certainly some of the best and most effective that have been proven to catch fish when being used off beaches all around the world.