Best Fishing Bait Rigs

Whether you’re a fan of artificial lure or rigging with live or dead bait, there are times when you’ll need to use a rig. Sometimes the fish just don’t want to bite the plastic stuff, and that’s where rigging comes in. 

No matter where you stand on the side of the fishing bait rigs debate, we’re here to offer guidance. If you’ve never used fishing rigs in the past, read on to discover a brand new way to fish.

Here are our top five fishing rigs to help you snag more fish on your next trip!

Breakaway rig – best fast-moving current rig

 Perfect for those snaggy bottom rivers, this hook doesn’t sink to the bottom of the riverbed. The line connecting the swivel to the lead is also weaker than all the other lines.

What makes the breakaway rig so powerful is if you snag up your lead, you break off the lead and not the whole rig. This type of rig is especially useful in fast-moving rivers with rocky bottoms. 

When connecting up your lead, your lead should be half as strong as your main line, but strong enough to not break when casting.

A good rule of thumb: Use ten pounds of tensile strength for each ounce of lead. 

Fish finder rig – best rig for bottom fishing

The fish finder rig is one that I really like and use often. It’s simply a lead that slides on the main line, a bead, a swivel, a leader, and a hook. 

You can use flat, no-roll inline leads. You can use egg sinkers, and put different leads on there. A slider is good in rivers because you can adjust the weight depending on the current. 

Also, adding a bead above the swivel protects the knot. It prevents the swivel from getting stuck inside the lead, though it isn’t always necessary.

I like to fish with large leads when using the fish finder rig because the lead acts as an anchor. It also helps pull the hook point into the fish’s mouth as they try to swim away. This improves your hookup ratio. 

High-low rig – best surf fishing rig

You might come across the term pickerel rig when researching high-low rigs. It is a great rig to use for surf fishing because of the large weight on the end.

It also has two wire arms that swivel. Attached to the wire arms are leaders and hooks.

It’s an excellent rig for keeping your bait away from crabs, out of rocks, and above the seaweed. It also works really well in the current.

Tackle shops sell these fishing rigs in all different sizes with and without hooks. I typically use the Eagle Claw, pre-snelled hooks. 

Having two hooks really works well because you can test out different kinds of bait and allow you to catch two fish at the same time.

The biggest drawback to this rig is that it’s not ideal in areas that are prone to snags. The extra hook makes this an easy rig to get caught, so you want to use it away from snaggy areas.

Related: Check out our picks for the best baitcasting reels

Live bait rig – best snaggy bottom rig

 Live bait rigs are an excellent option for really snaggy areas. You can use live bait with these rigs, or an alternative like cheese or bread. This type of rig uses an anchor, swivel, and bobber.

 The bobber keeps your bait in one place. It allows your live bait to swim around in a small area. The fish can swim in circles, but you’re locking him into one spot.

You can do this by feeding a swivel onto your line and locking it between two beads. There is a toothpick that pegs the beads.

To do this, slide the toothpick into the bead, and then clip it off. This step keeps the swivel in place. It also allows you to adjust the height of the swivel if you wish. 

Basic bobber/float rig – best all-purpose rig

The basic bobber/float rig is a great rig that allows you to suspend your live bait above snaggy areas and also keeps your bait at the other fish’s level.

If there is a current, you can use a little split shot; otherwise, you can use a bare line by itself. It’s also a great rig that allows you to stay mobile if you’re fishing in a small river or fishing in the current. 

This rig allows you to drift your bait to cover a lot of ground quickly and increase your chances of getting a bite. There are a million different types of floats and bobbers. You have the spring-loaded type, and the kind with the bobber stops that you can tie yourself.

Combining bobbers with live bait is a great way to catch bass, catfish, and pike. 

Try one of these great rigs yourself

We hope that this detailed guide gives you some great ideas to try out on your next fishing trip. Whether it’s the river, surf fishing, or in snaggy areas, you have the perfect rig. 


About the Author

Trey is a lifelong hunter and avid camper. He lives outside Denver, CO with his wife Kaci and their lab mix Ziggy. They spend as much time as possible outdoors - hunting, fishing, and camping.

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