Taking up fishing is one of the most rewarding things you can ever do, however it can also be very overwhelming and extremely frustrating, especially for those who haven’t been fortunate enough to be taught the basics from a more experienced angler. When first starting out there is always a lot of trial and error with fishing rigs, you will find you will over time be constantly improving your skills and be absorbing knowledge from all over the place. Once you have started out and mastered the basics progression will come naturally.
When selecting line to use as leaders and terminal tackle to configure your fishing rig keep the following points in mind.
- If using a small hook use a lighter leader because if you use a really heavy leader your hooks can tend to straighten; however there is a range of smaller stronger hooks available if you need to use a smaller hook and stronger line for live baiting etc just be sure to make sure the hooks are a good quality more solid hook;
- Don’t use too big of a hook on a lighter leader as this can cause your rig to snap when you try to hook a fish and it also makes it difficult to set the hook in the fish’s mouth as you are not able to apply enough pressure when you jag.
- Make sure you don’t use too heavy a sinker on your fishing rigs as if you over weight your fishing rigs with too much weight when you let rip a cast the whole thing will snap and you will have to start again! Not much fun when the fish are biting around you!
- Use the lightest line possible for the fish you aim to catch.
Over the course of this article I am going to cover a few basics fishing rigs that you can start off with and explain a little bit about them, so hopefully this will help you out a long the way. The first rig I will talk about is probably one of the most universally used fishing rigs, it’s certainly one of the most popular rigs used in Australia and can be adapted to suit most fishing conditions, it’s of course the Running Sinker Rig.
The Running Sinker Rig – Sinker under swivel
This is a pretty deadly rig which can be used for most types of fishing, from light lines to heavier lines. The beauty of this rig is that by running the sinker under the swivel it makes the rig somewhat more snag resistant, which is good for when fishing in snaggy country. Sometimes if you do get snagged and the rig isn’t coming off, if you leave it sitting for a while and there is still bait on it if you wait a little while fish may pick the rig off from where it’s stuck, if they do this be sure to wind your rig in quickly to prevent it getting snagged again.
With this particular rig your ideal sinkers would be a ball, bean or barrel sinker. You can either thread one sinker on or use two smaller sinkers; sometimes this is a better option as they are less visible. The sinkers will rest nicely on top of your hook for the cast, but once your rig hits the water the sinkers will end up further up your leader away from the bait, this will allow the fish to pick your bait up without feeling immediate weight, do keep in mind though as soon as your sinkers reach the swivel they will stop and fish will feel weight, so be sure to be swift when setting the hooks.
You would use this style rig when fishing over snaggy ground and for live baiting.
The Running Sinker Rig – Sinker above swivel
This is very similar to the above rig, however the sinker sits on top of the swivel. This is a better option for when you want to keep you sinker away from the bait. This is probably more commonly used than the sinker under swivel rig. It’s a very versatile rig which you can use for almost any types of fishing. By using this rig you effectively allow your rig to be held under water with your bait floating above the rig, this type of rig can often be better for finicky fish.
No sinker rig
This is probably the simplest of all the fishing rigs there are! All as it is your main line connected to a swivel which is connected to your leader which is connected to your hook! As a rough guide you wouldn’t tie your swivel any more than a meter away from the hook as it can make casting a little more difficult and can cause problems if you wind up too much line and get the swivel caught in the eye of your rod, not only is it frustrating it can cause a lot of damage to the eyes on your fishing rod.
Basically you can either use a rig such as this on heavier gear if you’re using pretty heavy baits or on lighter gear if you are only have to make short casts to get to where the fish are. It is an ideal rig for fishing freshwater, lakes, quiet estuary backwaters and shallower grounds. Adding a swivel to this rig gives you a little bit of extra weight and will assist in getting a little bit of extra distance with your casts. Alternatively for surf casting I use an improved Albright knot to join my leader and main lines together then use a heavy bait such as a whole mullet which is how I get the extra distance on casts. However you will usually not get much distance without a sinker. When selecting line strength finer line is better for aiming at catching smaller species, whilst a heavier line will reduce bust offs and bite offs from fish.
The main things to consider when using this kind of rig is the strength of currents as if the current is too strong your bait will end up every where but where you want it, In which case you would end up using a running sinker rig. The no sinker rig is a great rig to use for finicky fish such as bream, trout and whiting or even for live baiting for bigger fish such as barramundi and threadfin salmon.
Paternoster Rid / Dropper Rig
This is a perfect rig for when you want to keep your bait away from your sinker and when you want to use more than one hook to either test out what the fish are feeding on or just to increase your chances of getting a hook up. These rigs are most commonly used for bottom fishing and surf casting.
When tying these rigs you can either tie dropper loops into the line and connect your hooks directly to the loops or use swivels such as a 3 way swivel and tie your hooks to the swivel. A good point to bear in mind when using these rigs is to keep your sinker attached to the rig by using a lighter line, this way if you get snagged you only lose the sinker and not the whole rig!
These rigs are great for catching fish such as salmon, tailor and mulloway from the beach as you can make the rig extra strong and heavy to contend with the rough ocean conditions you most often encounter when targeting these species. They’re also great for using when bottom bouncing as you can have quite a long rig which is streamlined, great for fishing deep water as your hooks can sit quite away above the sinker which is better as the fish do not feel any weight.
More important points to consider.
- Wait until you get to your fishing location to select a rig to use, otherwise more often than not you will get to your chosen spot and the rig you’ve carefully constructed will be wrong for the ground you are looking to fish. I.e. the wind/current may be too strong and you will need to change the rig.
- Tie all of your rigs as if they’re going to catch you the fish of lifetime! Occasionally a bigger fish will pick up a bait that’s meant for a smaller fish, if you’ve taken care with your preparation you will optimize your chances of landing that monster!
- Take time when tying your knots. Always check your knots by grabbing each opposite end of your rig and giving your rig a couple of sharp jerks just to make sure that you have tied them correctly. (if using really light line be a little more gentle when testing as you don’t want to snap your rig!) and finally
- Frequently check your rig during your fishing session. Check your lines for nicks and abrasions, if you find deep cuts in your leader or main line change your leader and if they’re in your main line cut your rig of and cut off above the damaged line and then re tie your rig, it may be annoying but it’s much better to be safe than sorry, because guaranteed, that one time you get lazy and don’t change it, the fish of a life time will swim by and pick up your bait, then bust you off at the weak part of your line! It’s not worth the risk and you will kick yourself for a very long time!
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