How to Rig a Live Pinfish for Catching Snook, Tarpon, & Grouper [VIDEO]

By: Luke Simonds on April 2, 2015
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how to rig a pinfish

Want to see how to catch fish such as snook, tarpon, and grouper using a live pinfish?

After receiving a lot of Shares and Comments on our recent video showing “How to Catch Pinfish”, we decided to put together a follow up video showing how to rig a live pinfish as bait for catch snook, tarpon, redfish, grouper, and a whole host of other game fish that dine on pinners.

In this video below, you’ll learn how to rig a pinfish for fishing in a spot with current (where you want to have the pinfish hug the bottom, while also swimming naturally when the line gets pulled by the current and/or when reeling in for another cast).

You’ll also get to see me get lucky and catch a nice snook on the first cast (which rarely happens when the cameras are rolling).

First, let’s talk about the three most common ways to rig a live pinfish.

3 Most Common Ways to Rig a Live Pinfish

  1. Through the top of the head (first soft spot behind/above the skull bone)
  2. Through the mouth (go in under the jaw and exit through the nostril)
  3. Through the nostrils (go in one nostril and out the other)

In our opinion, options 1 & 2 work best for catching the most fish overall.

The problem with option #3 is that it is prone to casting the bait off given that the nostril area cannot withstand much pull.

When deciding on option 1 or 2, I usually always go with the top of the head method whenever I’m fishing an area with a sandy bottom as I was in this video.

This method drives the pinfish further down in the water column which is mostly a good thing because many target species like snook and grouper hang near the bottom to ambush prey.

When fishing an area with a lot of snag-happy bottom structure like Sebastian Inlet, I’ll rig the pinfish through the mouth because it will not be pulled down quite as much and also because this method results in the hook point aiming directly up which helps lessen the probability of hooking the bottom.

Check out the video to see first hand how to rig the pinfish.

How To Rig A Live Pinfish [VIDEO]

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We hope this video helps you land some big fish.

Use the comment section below (or email if you have any questions on how to fish a pinfish.

And if you have any related fishing tips, please leave them in the comments as we’d love to hear from you.

Fish On!

Related Posts:

1. The #1 Reason Anglers Aren’t Consistently Catching Snook

2. 5 Shortcuts To Catching Snook In Florida

3. How to Catch Tons of Pinfish Without a Cast Net or Pinfish Trap

Related Courses:

1. How To Catch More Snook In Less Time… Guaranteed!

2. How To Catch Inshore Slams (Snook, Redfish, & Seatrout) Without Needing Live Bait

P.S. – If you think that your angler friends or fishing networks would enjoy seeing this, please Tag them or Share this with them. Thank you.

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John SpoonerLuke SimondsDan FribergMitch MTom Bowden Recent comment authors
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John Spooner

Thanks for the tips

Dan Friberg

I learn something good every time I watch you !!! Thanks the Club is so worth it !!!

Mitchell McLeod

Hey Luke. First, I would like to say thank you for your amazing website and videos. I have become a SIGNIFICANTLY better fisherman since I have joined. Keep up the outstanding content!

Question: I have become a huge fan of the FG knot thanks to your video. Today I caught four 30+” snook in Naples, but had a couple of others break off. It seems like my FG knot may have failed (20# Powerpro, 30# Seaguar with FG knot). Do you recommend the FG or is there a better knot for freelining pinfish when targeting larger snook. I have moved to 30 wraps and 6 alternating half hitches (x2) and it held up for four of the fish.

Tom Bowden

Do you rig pin fish like this to catch Redfish?

Richard Fiorentino

Looking to get the a good rod and reel for redfish and trout. I like a short butt as I have some shoulder problems . I guess a 7′ rod with 2500 reel . Thanks for your help

Darryl McCalmont

Do you reel the pinfish in like you would a lure or just let it sit? Seems like I feel you let it sit it would hide from any predator fish. I haven’t had much luck with live pinfish. I have free lined them and put them under a popping cork.

Pablo Diaz

What is the hook size and fluoro leader length used? Are you using the 10lb braid and tying on a 20 to 30lb fluoro leader?

Cary Perkins
Cary Perkins

Am very much enjoying your site and your videos. I am 68 and live in Kentucky though I have fished inshore a little over the years. I visited St. Maarten last year and found small tarpon (three to three and a half feet) every where. Actually landed one. No one fishes for them. Had limited jigs with me and lost them all in fish. Actually landed one. Had insufficient leader material too. No one fishes inshore there and impossible to find tackle. Was with my wife so fishing was a limited side line. But…I learned. Am headed back next month solely to fish. Am really enjoying your website with that in mind. They have snook too and hope to catch them as well. Keep up the good work.

P.S. If I lived on the coast or was able to fish inshore more often, I’d subscribe to your website.


Thanks for the tips. I’m a West Virginia girl new to inshore fishing. I hope to catch a tarpon soon!

Paul Snead

I saw this video for first time a few months ago but just now looking to get out and catch my own bait very cool that these tips are here when we need them. Thanks Joe and Luke. Keep the tips coming.


hook the pinfish just above the anus will drive the pinfish UP and try to swim away from the line. Just as you would hook near head area naturally makes the bait swim AWAY towards the bottom. If you hook the tail … they’ll tend to go in between I’ve noticed.

Chris Wishart

Thanks for the info. Very helpful to me since I just moved here from the Midwest.


Would rigging a croaker the same way work?


Where is the location in this video ?


Where is the location of the bridge ?

Rob Bendick

What kind of line and leader did you use?

Mike Simek

Thanks for posting that vid! What size hook? and could you use a circle hook?

Luke Simonds

Well done!!! Thanks for sharing the tip.