3 Types of Saltwater Shore Fishing Rigs

By Andy Whitcomb

Sep 19, 2018

Saltwater shore fishing rigs can seem complicated, but you can keep it simple if you focus on the best bait location. 

Saltwater fishing rigs used by shore anglers usually consists of three basic components: bait, hook, and a weight. The type of each used and the arrangement varies with the location (beach, pier, rocks) and the conditions (current, tide, waves).  Consider where the bait is best presented when assembling your saltwater shore fishing rigs.

1. Bottom Fishing Rigs

For example, bottom fishing rigs may be a good place to start if fishing sandier areas.  Select a weight just heavy enough to keep the bait anchored. Style of the weight or fishing sinkers also can affect how stationary the bait remains. Some anglers prefer bell or bomb shape anchors tied to a three way swivel, with a piece of shrimp or squid tied to a hook a couple of feet of line tied to the remaining swivel end.  You also may want to experiment with a version of the drop-shot for your saltwater fishing rigs. Here, it is the weight that is the terminal part of the rig, with the hook tied higher to suspend the bait just off the bottom.

2. Rigs using Floats or Bobbers

If the fish are suspended or the bottom rocky and easily snagged with saltwater shore fishing rigs, look into using floats or bobbers.  Then, the trick will be adjusting the depth of the bait until it reaches actively feeding fish.  This works great for shorter casts when fishing off a pier or long jetty. However, if longer casts are needed, construct this rig with a slip bobber.  With bait, weight, and bobber all closer together, longer casts are less cumbersome. A small piece of string usually tied on the line will stop the bobber at the desired depth.

3. Combination of Bottom and Float rigs

I’ve also fished rocky areas that required a combination of bottom and float saltwater shore fishing rigs. Here a small float that cannot remain suspended, sinks below the surface. Although it no longer serves to alert the angler of a bite, it aides in holding line at an angle that reduces nicks or snags of rocks and still lets bait be presented on the bottom.

Experiment with components and leader lengths until you discover the best saltwater shore fishing rigs for your scenario.   And if you keep it simple, it will be less expensive when rigs are lost. Also, patronize the local tackle shore. Not only will they be happy to offer helpful rig suggestions, but they generally have the sizes and styles of tackle needed for the area. And as always, when saltwater fishing with bait consider a circle hook especially if catch and release is the goal.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.