Bottom Rigs for Saltwater Fishing
This page describes a variety of bottom rigs for saltwater fishing. Popular setups include two hook top and bottom rigs, three way rigs, fish-finder rigs, and Carolina rigs.
Top and Bottom Rig
The top and bottom rig is one of the most common bottom fishing rigs. This type rig is usually available in multistrand wire or mono. Some designs use loops for attaching snelled hooks, while others employ some form of stand-off. Top and bottom rigs come in several lengths and hook placements. One of the most popular variations is the flounder-fluke rig, which often includes hooks, beads, spinners, and teasers.
3 Way Rig
The 3 way rig is another popular setup for bottom fishing. This rig is used extensively for surf fishing and other situations when anglers are targeting large gamefish. Variations of this rig are also used for drifting and slow trolling. When rigging, the length of line between the swivel and hook is usually important. Popular sizes include 18, 36, and 42 inches.
Fish Finder Rig
The fish finder is a variation of the basic 3 way rig. The rig is made by passing the main line through a special tube which has an attachment for the sinker. Unlike a conventional 3 way rig, this setup allows a fish to take the bait and move away without dragging the sinker. Fish finder rigs are designed for still fishing.
The Carolina rig is one of the most versatile leader configurations for catching saltwater fish. The Carolina rig is best known for rigging eels, minnows, crayfish, shrimp, and other live baits. The free moving properties of Carolina rigs are especially useful when a bait or lure is being slowly worked over bottom structure, by drifting or slow-trolling.
Carolina rigs employ a leading inline weight, followed by a swivel, leader and single hook. Although there are endless variations, all Carolina rigs feature those design elements.
Some setups use an egg sinker, followed by a plastic bead and snap swivel. The bead is included to protect the knot from being damaged by the weight during casting and fishing. When properly rigged, egg sinkers will allow the line to pass thru as fish to move away with the bait.
Another variation uses an inline weight with rings or snaps on each end. Some inline weights have a built in snap-swivel. These weights allow anglers to quickly adjust sizes while fishing. The disadvantage is that fixed weights do not allow fish to swim away with a bait.
Carolina rigs are sometimes used for catching flounder. When targeting flounder with these rigs, anglers use kahle or circle hooks, combined with strip baits and colorful skirts.