Unless youre a totally dedicated lure fisherman youre going to need some bottom fishing rigs - and theres plenty to choose from. In fact, although they continue to be refined, Id bet there isnt a bottom fishing scenario for which a suitable rig hasnt been designed.
The rig body line and hook snoods will most likely be nylon monofilament if you buy your bottom fishing rigs already made up, but if you tie them yourself youve got the option of using the near-invisible fluorocarbon.
Tying bottom fishing rigs is a straightforward affair, providing you follow a few simple rules and take care with the knots. Hook patterns and sizes will depend on the type of bait you intend to use, and the species and size of fish you hope to catch.
Swivels must be up to the task expected of them; I would always go for crane swivels rather than the cheaper but less reliable barrel swivels. If you're making up bottom rigs for large fish like conger eels that spin like ballet dancers on steroids, then ball-bearing swivels are what you need.
Ready-made bottom fishing rigs are relatively cheap to buy, so instead of making your own, you may decide to stock up from a trusted on-line supplier.
But the best route in my view and I dont see it as cheating is to get yourself a kit of rigging components (hooks, beads, swivels, fluorocarbon line etc), buy a few professionally made-up bottom fishing rigs to use as patterns, and simply copy them.
The ones shown here by Greys Rigs have reputation for good quality, and a real plus this, each one has a fully dimensioned sketch of the rig in the packet.
A few of Greys sketches of bottom fishing rigs for boat fishing are reproduced below.
This is a 'two up' version of the flapper rig, meaning that both baits will be presented above seabed provided that the tide is slack.
Note that neither hook snood is longer than the distance between the two attachment swivels. Vital, this, or the snoods are likely to tangle together.
Similarly, the lower snood isn't longer enough to tangle around the lead clip.
Typically you'll use this rig when boat fishing for cod, pollack, bream, whiting and dogfish. But I'm not sure I know anyone who intentionally fishes for dogfish...
In this version of the flapper rig - although not made clear by the scale of the sketch - the lower hook snood is longer than the distance between its attachment point and the lead link.
This ensures that the lower bait will be presented on the seabed, and the other a short distance above it - hence 'one up' and 'one down'.
As with the 'two up' version you'd typically use this rig when boat fishing for cod, pollack, bream, whiting and dogfish.
Additionally, depending on the bait and hook size, you could be in line for a flat fish or a ray.
As its name suggests, this rig is intended to be cast uptide and away from the boat where the fish won't be spooked by the anchored boat lurking above them.
A bow of slack line is allowed to form between the spiked lead and the rod tip, leaving the terminal tackle streaming downtide of the lead.
The plastic boom, to which the spiked 'breakaway' lead is attached, ensures that the hook length is kept clear of the bowed main line.
When a fish takes the bait, the lead breaks out of its hold on the seabed and the whole shebang trundles off downtide. The line goes slack, the rodtip springs free of the load applied by the tide , and - Strike!
The version illustrated is the two-hook pennel rigged version, for presenting 'awkward' baits like a lengthy rugworm, king ragworm, whole squid or a fillet of mackerel.This is a favourite rig for boat anglers targetting winter cod in the relatively shallow and cold waters of the North Sea. Brrr!
Wishbone rigs can be incorporated into rigs designed to present a bait on the seabed, such as the flatfish rig shown here, and it could equally be used with the uptide rig.
It's a two hook rig for presenting two separate baits, unlike the pennel rig which puts two hooks in a single bait.
As most bottom feeding fish rely on scent to lead them to their dinner, having two baits exuding all the right juices can be no bad thing.
Along with scent, flatfish are known to be attracted by colour which is why this rig sports a number of brightly coloured attractor beads next to each hook.
If you like the idea of having the most popular saltwater bottom fishing rigs all described together in one place for easy reference, this handy little pocket guide is just the thing.
It sets out in step-by-step instructions and nicely drawn sketches how to make all the fishing rigs you'll ever be likely to need for both shore fishing and boat fishing.
Being spiral bound it opens flat, leaving both hands free to make up the rigs - and it's waterproof!
In the USA
In the UK
Downrigger ~ The cranelike device incorporating a line-counter reel often seen on the sterns of sport-fishing boats, which lowers a trolling weight on a wire line to a pre-determined depth. The trolling line is attached just above the weight, which gets the lure down to depths that would otherwise be unachievable.