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Best Saltwater Fishing Rig Setups: 7 Different Tried and True Ways to Catch Them

Best Saltwater Fishing Rigs

These saltwater fishing rigs produce again and again.

If you're new to the world of saltwater fishing, figuring out the best fishing rigs can be a little intimidating. Anglers have developed a swath of unique set ups for salt over the years.

Don't worry, we are here to help with some helpful fishing tips.

From pier to surf fishing, these tried and true rigs will catch fish every time.

Saltwater Carolina Rig

Many people know this rig as a freshwater setup for bass, but it works very well in salt too. It's a good saltwater fishing rig for beginners because it is so simple.

Saltwater anglers have adopted this style to not only fish soft plastics and swimbaits but cut bait and live bait as well.

As for how to make a Carolina rig for saltwater fishing, the steps are simple. All you're doing is threading a bullet or egg sinker above a plastic bead and swivel. The bead and sinker make noise that helps attract the fish.

On the other end of the swivel, tie on a monofilament leader and then your hook. The size of hook and sinker will vary depending on what you're fishing for.

Carolina rigs are often used on strong fighting predatory fish like tarpon and snook, but they can be used on just about any species. Certain prized game fish, like redfish and snapper, are often caught on Carolina rigs.

Some saltwater anglers refer to the Carolina rig as "fish finder rigs." We just figured we'd mention that so you don't get confused.

Sabiki rig

While this rig is usually associated with catching baitfish, it has become a popular staple for pier fishing for many different saltwater species.

Some people refer to the Sabiki as a "mackerel rig" since it is so effective for them. This is a multi-hook setup with hooks coming off the main line at different depths. Some anglers like to tie small, simple flies on these setups, but you can use live or cut bait too.

Most people attach a sinker to the bottom of this rig, but some people like to add a jig or jigging spoon.

You can either make your own Sabiki hook rig using swivels and loop knots or buy one pre-made. Either way, it isn't uncommon to catch multiple fish on a single cast with one of these setups.

Two hook bottom fishing rig

This rig goes by many different names and has just as many variations. But the most basic bottom fishing rigs are two hooks tied above a sinker. This setup keeps your bait just off the bottom in prime position for a hook up. This is a preferred method of surf or pier fishermen, but it is also done from boats.

Most of these setups are a swivel and then a leader. Some fishermen use a three-way swivel to attach the two hooks above the sinker. Other anglers prefer to use a dropper loop setup to simplify the rig.

The hook sizes and line vary depending on what you're targeting. Some anglers have used this bottom rig to take on fish as large as grouper!

Balloon Fishing Rig

This type of rig is usually reserved for sharks, but people target many different gamefish species using balloons including striped bass, cobia, sailfish, marlin and more.

All you're doing is suspending a live or dead bait on circle hooks under a floating balloon. Use a strong leader material if you're targeting sharks or other toothy species.

You can tie the balloon on your line at the desired depth you wish to fish, but some tackle companies have taken notice of the popularity of this method. Now there are specialty fishing gear gadgets that are made for the sole purpose of attaching a balloon to your fishing line quickly and efficiently.

We'd recommend going that route if you want to try this kind of rig, just because it will make your fishing trip simpler and more fun.

This is usually a boat fishing technique, because you're using heavy fishing reels that aren't designed for casting. But some ambitious anglers have found ways to balloon fish from shore using the help of jetskis, drones, kayaks or surfboards to take the bait far offshore to where the fish are biting.

Popping cork rig

This setup is especially popular for targeting redfish. It's an incredibly simple rig made for shallow waters.

Popping corks help you put your bait or lure in a very specific area where the fish are hanging out. Most anglers use popping corks with jibs, but you can use this as a live bait rig too.

In any case, popping corks are simply floats rigged up with plastic and metal beads to make noise and attract the fish. Some corks feature a cup-shaped opening like a topwater lure to help displace water.

The whole setup draws the attention of fish because it sounds like a struggling or dying baitfish, and many species just can't resist hitting it. This is mostly an inshore technique that you'll be wanting to try from shore near structure.

Three-way swivel

It doesn't get much simpler than this. Attach a three-way swivel to the end of your line and then add a weight to one end of the swivel and a hook or lure to the other.

This nice thing about this technique is that you can suspend a lure that doesn't normally dive deep at greater depths just above the bottom. People sometimes use this setup for trolling as well.

This fishing method is so simple and so effective that it is a staple not just in saltwater, but in freshwater too. The only limits on what you can catch on it depend on the type of lure and bait you are using and the strength of your gear.

Use this technique when the fish are holding at a very specific depth just off the bottom to keep your bait or lure in the strike zone consistently.

Pin or "Trolley" rig

This method is a bit more complicated and will test your fishing skills. The technique goes by many names including pin fishing, trolley fishing or king fishing. Whatever you want to call it, this is a popular technique for fish like mackerel or cobia from piers or bridges.

Basically, you're using two rods to get the bait out there to where the large fish are. One fishing rod serves as a "guide line." You throw it out and snag it on the bottom with a large sinker.

The second rod is often referred to as the "fighting rod." This is the one you'll use to catch the fish. The pin rig attaches the bait and line to the guide line, usually via a clothespin. This helps you to get the bait out to where the fish are.

Then you simply lock down your rods and wait for a big fish to strike. Bites pull the hook and bait free of the guideline, giving you room to fight the fish.

It sounds complicated, but it is easier to understand once you see someone rig one up.

For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis Youtube channels

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Best Saltwater Fishing Rig Setups: 7 Different Tried and True Ways to Catch Them