Best Rigs for Bottom Fishing

Tried and true rigs for bottom dwelling species.

By Brenton Roberts

When hooked up, short pumps seem to work best to keep the fish out of the rocks. Try to keep your rod tip below eye level to maintain maximum leverage.

When thinking of bottom fishing, most imagine a cooler full of fish and a hot meal on the table. What about the days you can’t convince a keeper to eat? Fishing with the right rig can make all the difference.

Things to Remember When Bottom Fishing

Make sure to size your tackle to the fish you are targeting. Not only is it frustrating to lose terminal tackle, as well as a big fish, because you were undergunned, but the fish is now dragging around a hook and line.

Fluorocarbon is a key component for these bottom rigs. Not only is it less visible to the fish, it is stiffer and more abrasion resistant. If a fish decides to take you in the rocks, fluorocarbon can stand up to the abuse. Although more expensive, fluorocarbon can be justified when it helps put a big fish in the ice box.

If possible, the less terminal tackle used, the better. There are many knots you can use, eliminating the need for extra tackle.

The length of your leader should change with current speed, typically the stronger current, the longer the leader. This will vary depending on targeted species, structure, depth etc.

If a fish takes you into the structure, don’t pull as hard as you can to get him out, generally this will break your line that’s rubbing against the structure. Go into free spool and wait 15 to 30 seconds, a lot of the time the fish will swim out of the hole allowing you to have another shot. I have personally used this technique, waiting up to three minutes for the fish to swim free.

Always take care of the fish caught. If the fish is not a keeper, make sure to remove the hook, vent (if necessary) and revive it. Dehookers allow the hook to be removed from even the toothiest critters without slime being removed.

Below, you will find a photo gallery of five great bottom rigs that catch all the bottom species. All rigs used Uni knots, loop knots and overhand knots. Check out Florida Sportsman’s Bait, Rigs & Tackle book for information on rigs and more.