Saltwater Fishing Rigs

Learn a variety of saltwater fishing rigs. How to set up your saltwater bait, two-hook, three-hook rigs, popping cork, fishing tips and more information.

Types Of Saltwater Rigs

There are different types of saltwater fishing rigs that you can use to catch fish. These are the most common rigs you can make and have ready for your next fishing trip.

Two-Hook Bottom Fishing Rig

Considered one of the most basic fishing rigs for saltwater, the two-hook bottom rig is probably the most versatile of all saltwater rigs. 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 to tie your saltwater rigs. 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.

Three-way Saltwater Fishing Rig

A three-way saltwater fishing rig is very much like the two-hook bottom rig, except that these saltwater fishing rigs only have 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 saltwater bait on the longer piece of leader hovers just over the bottom.

Carolina Rig Or Fishfinder Rig

A Carolina rig is one of the best saltwater fishing rigs because it can be used with both artificial or natural saltwater bait. It is probably the best fishing rigs for keeping bait close to the bottom while preventing 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 saltwater 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 these saltwater rigs is that they allow the fish to pick up the bait without detecting the weight of the sinker.

Popping Cork

A popping cork is a fishing rig that 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 saltwater saltwater 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.

To learn about different types of saltwater bait and lures.