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Surf Fishing Rigs – The Fish Finder Rig


Fish finder rigs are ideal surf fishing rigs when using live bait or artificial lures, though they can also be used with artificial lures. When targeting areas using this rig, look for breaking surf with small waves that pose minimal underwater rock and coral threats.

Fish finder rig components include a central line, sliding sinker, bead, swivel, and leader. When fishing this rig, cut baits such as fresh mullet, herring, bunker, or croaker fish well.


Fish Finder Rigs allow your bait to drift naturally with currents, reducing snags and increasing catch rates as resistance from weight and line is reduced. A circle hook is recommended as its wider opening makes setting through fish heads or cuts bait without much resistance; furthermore, it reduces gut-hooking in caught fish so they can be released without injury.

To create the Fish Finder Rig, trim a section of the leader line and secure it to a hook using either a clinch knot or a Palomar knot. Next, slide on a pyramid sinker with a plastic bead attached and slide the barrel swivel using another Palomar knot so the sinker slider doesn’t strike against it and damage your leader. Lastly, secure it to the end of the leader line using another Palomar Knot while ensuring its surface has smooth surfaces to not strike against it while sliding on and damaging the leader line or the leader line itself.

Fish Finder Rig fishing works best in areas with breaking surf that feature light winds and are free from rocks or coral. Flatfish, halibut, and striped bass frequent these spots where they make their home.

Fish Finder Rig is designed for use with dead cut bait; bunker, mullet, mackerel, and sardines are popular choices; however, pieces of clam, mussel, or squid can also be successful when anchoring or drift-fishing in areas of structure such as pilings. Sheepshead are known to frequent this technique since they feed off barnacle-covered pilings!


An effective Fish Finder Rig relies on having a proper leader, which should be 10-20% stronger than its main line and feature a smooth surface resistant to abrasion and stretching. Monofilament leaders tend to blend better into most water conditions and won’t alarm fish by showing too much activity; braided lines may be less resistant due to coral damage and debris underwater.

The pyramid-shaped sinker is an essential component of the Fish Finder Rig as it ensures your rig stays where it was cast even during strong waves that try to bring it back. Furthermore, its shape also helps pull your bait along irregularly and naturally, which mimics wounded fish – ideal for baiting predatory sharks or other target species.

Fish Finder Rig fishing requires keeping in mind that fish utilize both sight and smell to locate prey, cutting bait a highly efficient method of increasing scent release into the current. Such amounts include fresh mullet, herring, bunker, croaker, and sardines.

To achieve optimal results, your bait must be monitored continuously – particularly in cloudy or dirty water environments. A general guideline would be checking your rig every 20-30 minutes, as the scent from your bait may have become lost within that period due to currents diluting its fragrance in the winds. Furthermore, switching your bait after some time may be more successful in getting results than its original intention.


Fish finder rig leaders should be between one and two feet long. This length allows the bait to move along the bottom, imitating wounded bait fish to help trigger strikes and prevent falling off or tangling with other lines. Selecting an ideal leader may prove challenging depending on circumstances; mono or fluorocarbon are generally recommended.

Your choice of pyramid sinker should depend on the bait you are fishing with; smaller fish are more likely to strike with smaller pyramid sinkers, while larger species often require heavier weights. A 3 to 6-oz pyramid sinker works great when surf fishing, as it allows your bait to move freely through the current while keeping your line near the bottom of the ocean.

Attach a barrel swivel to the end of your leader to prevent it from becoming tangled with your main line when casting, as this helps avoid getting caught in your cast and potentially getting tangled up with it. A shock leader is also highly recommended since they absorb some of the force associated with casting when fishing from beaches or other challenging locations.

The fish finder rig is an increasingly popular surf fishing setup targeting snook, striped bass, redfish, flounder, and speckled trout. However, it can be used to target sharks under certain circumstances. When using this rig, it is best to reel slowly and steadily without jerking and lifting your rod, as this could cause the fish to spit the hook either out wholly or miss it entirely – watch out for crabs or any predatory crabs, as these could steal away any bait you’re fishing this rig can even work against the shark.


This sliding sinker allows your bait to move freely while its weight anchors your line, making it the ideal rig for surf fishing as it helps your appeal stay secure against strong currents and waves.

Pyramid sinkers help ensure that once cast, your rig remains in its proper place no matter the rough water present. Furthermore, this unique shape also allows your bait to drag along the bottom in an undulating motion, which mimics wounded fish to attract hungry sharks or target fish.

When creating your fish finder rig, ensure the sliding sinker you choose fits snugly onto the leader without any sharp edges that could cut your line. Monofilament or fluorocarbon lines are best as they’re more resistant to damage from corals, rocks, and other underwater debris than braided lines; braided lines may even become damaged due to friction created between them and the barrel swivels.

Once your hook and leader lines have been tied with a snell knot, attach a barrel swivel or sliding lock snap at the end of your main line. Add plastic beads and sliding sinker sliders, followed by pyramid sinkers of similar colors; choose beads to reduce line friction by matching their color to your pyramid sinker.

If using cut bait, such as bunker or mullet, a simple yet effective surf fishing rig like this one works well. When fishing with live bait, however, this rig allows for capturing various saltwater species like stripers, redfish, and many more gamefish species.


Fish finder rigs are designed to aid anglers in finding bait and predatory fish such as red drum and sharks, such as those located by cut bait fishing techniques that release oils or scents that attract predatory species such as red drum or sharks. Components include a barrel swivel, sliding pyramid sinker, plastic bead, and hook. Fish finder rigs are incredibly effective when fishing with cut bait since their oils release oils that draw in predatory species. However, live bait fishing can also benefit significantly from such rigs.

The barrel swivel is integral to this tackle set as it prevents aggressive saltwater fish from biting through your leader and into the water. To withstand conditions in which it will be used, such as monofilament or fluorocarbon line. Once attached to a leader using either a clinch knot or Palomar knot, its size will vary between 6-3 feet long depending on the location and species targeted.

A plastic bead should be attached after attaching the swivel to your line. This bead reduces friction between the sinker slider and barrel swivel and is attractive to numerous varieties of saltwater fish. Orange, purple, or chartreuse-colored beads are recommended because these colors attract plenty of aquatic life.

An octopus hook or circle hook is ideal for this rig as its wider gap makes setting the theme easier in a fish’s mouth. When choosing the appropriate hook size for bait being used, too big may cause it to become stuck on the bottom, while too small won’t hold it securely enough.