Live Bait Rigs: Best Overall Rig For Inshore Fishing (And The Worst Rig)

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Today, you’re going to see the best overall rig for live bait that catches all sorts of inshore fish, from redfish and trout, to snook and flounder, and much more.

One problem that many anglers make is that they spend all sorts of time and money on their rod, reel, or even boat, and don’t worry about the simplest, yet potentially most important part of their setup: how they rig their bait.

People go out and buy pre-tied rigs from the store that are bulky and flashy, not knowing that these rigs are costing them loads of fish!

So in this video, you’re going to learn how to tie this simple live bait rig that catches a ton of fish.

And not only does it work well, but it’s also cheaper than the store-bought rigs!

Check it out below.

P.S. Not only will you learn how to tie it, but you’ll also see how it looks underwater compared to the store-bought rigs — huge difference!!

How To Tie the Best Overall Live Bait Rig [VIDEO]

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When you’re tying rigs for saltwater fish, simpler is better.

Here’s how to tie the best overall live bait rig:

Step 1: Tie your leader to your main line

We recommend using an FG knot to connect these two lines (see how to tie the FG knot here), but you can also use a swivel if you have to.

As for the leader, 2′ of 20 lb. fluorocarbon will catch most inshore fish.

Step 2: Tie a #1 octopus hook to the end of your leader

Be sure to go with a quality brand of hook, such as Gamakatsu or Owner, because you want a sharp and strong hook that’s able to easily penetrate the fish’s mouth.

A quality #1 hook is small enough for sheepshead, yet strong enough for big snook.

Step #3: Put a split shot about 1′ up from the hook.

The weight of the split shot depends on how deep you’re fishing — the deeper the water, the heavier the split shot.

Conclusion

Although pre-tied rigs are convenient, they’re not good for catching fish.

Sure, you may fool a scent-driven fish, like a catfish, but you’re missing out on game fish such as redfish, trout, and snook.

The rig in this video will help you catch more fish, plus it’s super simple to tie and cheaper than store-bought rigs.

Want more tips about how to catch fish with live bait?

Keep an eye out for our new course, Underwater Bait Forensics, which shows exactly how different live baits act underwater, and how you can maximize your time fishing.

It’ll be available on August 19th at SaltStrong.com/Products.

Have any questions about tying live bait rigs?

Let us know in the comments below.

P.S. Want access to our best fishing spots and tips, plus discounts to our online tackle store? Click here to join us in the Insider Club!

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Richard Fiorentino
20 days ago

Is it less effective to not use the split shot?

Carmelo Midolo
5 months ago

Hard to find a 1 ounce split shot ! I like the set up ! I’ve been using a egg sinker on the main line against swivel ! Foot and half leader ! In the River or bay I guess a Carolina rig ! How heavy do the split shots go too !

Carlos Orosco
9 months ago

This was a great video, but I have a few questions I did not see asked on the You Tube stream.

1. Is it better to use an Octopus hook with an angled eye, or a straight eye?
2. If you use an angled eye, do you snell the hook, or use some other knot? Which one?
3. Do any of the answers to the above depend on where you are placing the hook in the bait or on what kind of bait you are using (finger mullet vs pinfish vs shrimp)?

Thank you.

-Carlos Orosco

Tony Acevedo
9 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Orosco

Hey Carlos!

All Octopus hooks have that bent (or slanted) eye on them. You can snell the hook or just tie a knot directly to the eye.

Deeks always ties a knot directly to the eye, doesn’t matter what type of bait or where the bait is hooked.

Peter C
9 months ago

what rig to use for beach fishing?

Darren Anthony shortt
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter C

I use a leader with crimp to hook wide gap hook rig up with ragwrom and color beads to just give it bit of flash I would put long leader and single hook with a one r two oz lead to get to the sand bars that hold the likes of Ray, place sole, as the single leader and hook move around I have a lead on with wire spikes to keep the lead on the sand with out it moving around, that’s the way ido it on Irish beaches,,,,

Tony Acevedo
9 months ago
Reply to  Peter C

On beachesI would use a drop rig with a pyramid sinker. The drop rig consists of a 3 way swivel. Tie the 3 way swivel from your mainline to your leader. on the 3rd loop on the swivel, attach a short piece of leader and the pyramid sinker.

David Andrews
9 months ago

I prefer using a circle hook for live bait. The one exception is if I plan to pull it around (like trolling).

Rick
9 months ago
Reply to  David Andrews

I trolled live pichards,goggle eye etc… for mahi,tuna etc…for years using circle hooks. Has no effect on hook ups. I like them better because no drop back is needed.

Tony Acevedo
9 months ago
Reply to  David Andrews

A big difference in using a circle hook vs. a j-hook is whether or not you are actively fishing the live bait or just placing it in the rod holder. If you are actively fishing (rod in hand, constantly paying out line) I would recommend J-hooks so you can set the hook. Setting the hook ensures a good hook set and helps rip the hook out of the bait and into the fish’s mouth. With a circle hook, its tough to actively fish with them because once you feel a strike we have the natural reaction to set the hook – which results in a missed hookset by pulling the hook out of the fish’s mouth. Circle hooks are much better if you are letting the rod sit and waiting for a strike, this way when a fish grabs the bait and runs, they hook themselves.

Malcolm Hayward
9 months ago

As usual, many issues.

Most worthwhile fish hit livebaits very hard. Pre-set your drag stack very carefully.
Most rods used successfully for live baiting have lots of action because of this.

Different fish attack their quarry in different ways.
The perch family chase and nibble the caudal fin until the quarry is effectively immobile.
They then prefer to eat the catch at night.
Many fish will attack the head.
The Pike family, grab a livebait in the middle, swim off, turn the bait and then swallow it head first.
Many fish, especially marine fish just inhale.
Know you’re fish, you will know where you need you’re hook / hooks.

Casting a live bait will either kill it or at least reduce it’s attractiveness.
“Treat him as though you love him” Izaac Newton, The Complete Angler 1653.
If any distance is needed, cast an anchoring sinker.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/AbuAdiyat-fishing-Live-Bait-Slider/dp/B07L23C7WD

Then use a one way slider as above, to take the bait, mounted according to predudice, to the required area. No additional weights are needed.
The best slider system, is South African. Will pull over 50lbs and is used to catch big sharks off the beach. Use an unweighted slider off the beach, weighted if from an higher point or off a boat. Works with big dead baits as well. How else do you put out a big bait 150 yards.
Trace is a matter of choice.
I usually use 6″ mackerel on a 10ft snood.
Do not insert the hook behind the eyes. Tuna are commercially killed with a spike here.

Never simple.

M.D. Hayward.

Robert Bigelow
9 months ago

I only have one of those rigs that are labeled as a redfish rig with a 2oz sinker and heavy wire leader but my 7 year old son bought it for me in a pack of stuff for Father’s day one year so I don’t have the heart to throw it out haha. But I agree taking the time to tie the rigs yourself is definitely worth it in the long run; and I really love octopus hooks they’ve always been money for me.

Anonymous
9 months ago

Do they make 1 oz. split shots or were you using an egg sinker?

John S
9 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

^^^Same question

Anonymous
9 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

That was my question!

Anonymous
9 months ago

Hey, guys! Awesome video! I was very guilty of buying those metal rigs a few years ago, but soon realized that the convenience wasn’t worth it.
By the way, I was wondering if you had an article in which you described your inshore setups (rod/reel/line) and what you used them for. If so, could you respond with the link?
Thank you, and tight lines!

Tony Acevedo
9 months ago
Reply to  Anonymous

Thank you for the great feedback! I am actually working on a cheat sheet for that as we speak and it should be up on the site soon!

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