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Best Surf Fishing Rigs to Catch Big Fish

Surf fishing is an exciting way to catch fish, but to be successful you have to have the right equipment for tough ocean conditions.

person tying a line on a hook

Finding the right surf fishing rod, a strong surf fishing reel, surf fishing line, lures, and more takes knowledge and research. On top of that, it’s vital to use the best surf fishing rigs.

Setting up your rigs the right way can influence whether or not a fish will bite. Rigs are also important to surf fishing, as they need to be strong and well-knotted to survive long distance casting and strong ocean currents. Learning the best rigs for surf fishing and how to tie them can dramatically improve your success.

Top 3 Surf Fishing Rigs

  1. Fish Finder Rig
  2. Bucktail Teaser Rig
  3. Fireball Rig

Fish Finder Rig

The fish finder rig is the most popular surf fishing rig, and our top recommendation. Fish finder rigs are great for presenting large pieces of bait, and they are a simple rig to set up.

fish finder rig
Source: Ultimate Fishing Site

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The fish finder rig is made up of a hook tied to a leader, with a swivel tied to the main line or shock leader and a sliding weight or sinker. The weight should be on the main line before the swivel.

This rig is great for surf fishing because the bait can move freely with the current, and the fish very likely won’t feel the weight until after it has been hooked.

A heavy weight or sinker will pull your line towards the bottom, so your bait or lure will look like a wounded baitfish bobbing along.

You can adjust hook size and style based on the fish you are targeting. Weight size is also dependent on the fish you’re trying to catch and the ocean conditions, as they’ll affect how heavy your line needs to be to reach your target. If you’re not confident setting up this rig on your own, you can buy a fish finder rig pre-tied online. 

Bucktail Teaser Rig

The bucktail teaser rig is gaining popularity as a great rig for surf fishing. It uses a bucktail jig tied to the bottom to attract fish, and a teaser with bait on the loop above.

bucktail teaser rig
Source: Striper Space

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This works to attract fish, as the hook will be presented above the bottom of the rig to trick fish and to present the bait more visibly.

The hook and bait should be about 18 inches above the bucktail jig. Use a heavier jig or add a weight to keep your line from drifting and to pull your tackle deeper into the ocean.

The bucktail should be on a duo-snap lock at the bottom. If you’re struggling to set this rig up, buy one and try to replicate it.

Jigging helps with this rig to better attract fishes’ attention. It’s known for catching fluke, but can attract a variety of fish. Like all rigs, alter hook size and style and choice of bait or lure depending on what you’re targeting.

Fireball Rig

The fireball rig is harder to set up, so you may want to buy it. It uses two smaller sized hooks, each with floaters attached close by to keep them off the floor of the ocean so that small bottom dwellers can’t pick at your bait.

fireball rig
Source: Sea Striker

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The two hooks increases your chance of a bite, since there are two baits or lures and two opportunities.

The fireball rig uses a regular swivel on one side and a snap swivel on the other with a loop in the middle. The regular swivel should attach to your main line, and the snap swivel should have a weight or sinker attached to bring your rig towards the ocean floor.

It’s common to use bright lures or other added beads or features on the fireball rig to attract fish that hunt by sight. The fireball rig is essentially a fancier dropper loop rig. Again, adjust hook size and style as well as choice of bait or lure depending on what fish you’re targeting.

Final Thoughts

Test out these surf fishing rigs to catch more fish from the shoreline. If you’re having trouble tying your own rigs, ask for help at your local tackle shop, or buy a pre-tied one and try to replicate it!

You’ll need to have the best surf lures too for days when the rigs just aren’t bringing the results you want.

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