Start Surf Fishing With Two Popular Surf Fishing Rigs | By Randy Meyers
To start surf fishing you will need to get familiar with the two most popular surf fishing rigs used. These two rigs are sometimes referred to by other names but most surf anglers refer to them as the fish finder rig and the fireball rig.
The Fish Finder Rig
The purpose of the fish finder rig is to allow the live bait to free line in the surf until a fish picks up the bait. The sinker rests on the bottom and the rig allows the line to feed the bait out freely. It works well with an out going tide or in moving current. As the tide moves out it takes the bait with it. When a fish picks up the bait it doesn’t feel the weight of the sinker until it’s hooked.
The hooks used are based on the size of the bait and the sinkers are based on surf conditions. The weight of the sinker has to be heavy enough so it holds the bottom. These rigs are very easy to make. The sinker must be able to slide on the main line. Use either an egg sinker (for light surf) or a pyramid sinker (for heavier surf conditions). Both sinkers are slid on to the main line before tying on a swivel. Pyramid sinkers require a plastic sleeve with a snap swivel in order to slide them on the main line. Egg sinkers can slide directly on the main line.
Whichever sinker you decide to use will go on the main line followed by a plastic bead before you tie on a swivel. The bead is used to protect the knot at the swivel so the sinker doesn’t damage it.
Make up a short leader 18″ to 24″ long with a hook of your choice on one end and tie the other end on the swivel and you’re ready to start fishing. Cast the fish finder rig out into the surf and let the line feed out freely with the current or the tide until a fish picks it up.
The Fireball Rig
The fireball rig is completely different from the fish finder rig. It’s probably easier if you buy these rigs made up rather than make them yourself. This rig is usually about 12″ to 18″ long with a regular swivel on one end and a snap swivel on the other. In between the swivels there are two hooks tied on with short leaders. Each hook will have a small float attached near it. The purpose of the floats is to keep your bait just off the bottom so the crabs won’t steal it.
Use a sinker large enough to hold the bottom based on surf conditions. Attach the sinker to the snap swivel and tie your main line to the regular swivel and you’re ready to fish.
Cast the fireball rig out into the surf, keep your line taunt and wait until a fish picks up the bait.
Both surf rigs are simple to use and can be fished with a variety of baits. The two most popular kinds of bait used on these rigs are shrimp and sand fleas.
Randy Meyers is a surf angler who has been fishing the surf for over 30 years. He is the author of Surf Fishing – The quick Start Guide To This Exciting Sport. Visit his site for a free 10 part surf fishing mini-course. Randy owns and operates the surf fishing website Surf-Fishanybeach.com where you can find more surf fishing articles.
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Photo by Edward Rooks