How To Rig Cut Bait For Bull Redfish & Big Black Drum (In Any Depth)


Do you like to catch big, rod-bending, drag-screaming fish?

There’s no better feeling on the water than when your rod nearly gets yanked out of your hand by a big black drum or redfish.

And although I love using artificial lures, one of my favorite ways to target them is with cut bait.

These fish are hungry and lazy, so when a lively baitfish or darting lure won’t get the job done, a smelly piece of cut bait will usually close the deal for me.

However, if you want to catch fish with cut bait, you need to get the bait to where the fish are.

In the videos below, I’ll show you three ways to rig cut bait:

  • On the flats with little current
  • In a little bit deeper water with moderate current
  • In deep water with heavy current


How To Rig Cut Bait In Shallow Flats [VIDEO]

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If I’m fishing a shallow flat or bay, this is the rig I use.

It’s essentially just free lining the chunk of cut bait.

Since there’s little current, you don’t need any weight, and since there’s usually not too much structure around these areas, you don’t need a very strong leader.

Plus, the water is usually more clear, so you’ll want to use a thinner leader to help the fish not get spooked off.

I use about two and a half feet of 20-25 lb test Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon leader with a 5/0 Owner Mutu Light circle hook.

The hook and leader are connected by a non-slip loop knot, and the leader is connected to the main line by an FG knot or double uni knot.

How To Rig Cut Bait In Slightly Deeper Water [VIDEO]

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If I had a default rig for cut bait, this would be it.

When fishing where there is some current and it’s a little deeper than 1-3 feet, I like to use a knocker rig.

I like a knocker rig better than a Carolina rig because it helps me cast far and get snagged less.

Just like for the shallow water rig, I like to use a 5/0 Owner Mutu Light circle hook.

However, because I have an egg sinker sliding up and down my leader, I like to use a little bit stronger of a leader at 25-30 lb test.

As far as the weight, that depends on the current strength and depth.

How To Rig Cut Bait In Deep Water With Current [VIDEO]

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This is the rig I like to use if I’m fishing deeper, heavy-current areas, like jetties or bridges.

The biggest issue here is that you need to battle the current and keep your bait on the bottom where the fish are.

To do this, I like to use a spider or sputnik weight of at least two ounces.

I use at least a 30 lb leader and tie a dropper loop with a T knot to hold the hook ( 5/0 Owner Mutu Light circle hook).

I tie a loop at the bottom of the rig for the weight, and then I tie a Trilene knot to connect the leader to a swivel.

And here’s a modification for this if you’re fishing in areas with really heavy structure: connect the weight with a piece of lighter line so that if you do get stuck, and you pull really hard, just the weight and light line will break off instead of your whole rig.

The Most Important Thing When It Comes To Catching Fish…

Although these rigs will help you hook into big fish, it doesn’t matter what rig you’re using if you’re not fishing where the fish are.

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redfish trolling flats

Have any questions about these rigs?

Do you have another way that you prefer to rig cut bait?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who would love to catch big redfish and black drum on cut bait, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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J M Giesen
3 years ago

Tony, thanks for doing this video. I found it very helpful and informative. I’m new to saltwater fishing and need all the help I can get.

I made up one of the second type rigs you call the knocker rig. In setting it up on my rod and playing with it, a question came up. I notice that the egg sinker goes down over the loop knot and sits right on top of the hook. Also, the knot kind of sticks inside the weight. Seems like this would tend to stay that way when bait was on and the whole thing was on the bottom. So the bait would be kind of stuck on the bottom with the weight right there and not move around much. Also, since the weight slips over the loop knot it would kind of defeat the purpose of having the loop knot in the first place and interfere with the free movement of the hook. I just don’t see how the chunk of bait is going to get free of the weight.

I haven’t fished with it yet,but I thought I would ask about this. Will the knot slide in and out of the sinker more easily with use? Maybe I’m not realizing how strong the current can be, as well.

Eric Black
3 years ago

Good stuff. I’m a rigging novice, so this was very helpful.

Darryl Eaton
3 years ago

For big bull reds 26-48″ in 20-25 feet of strong running current, dropping straight down, I prefer to use either a three sided pyramid weight or a frog tongue attached to a sinker slide on the main line to keep that weight from rolling. Depending on the current I will use anything from a 4-8 ounce weight (less is better). I will use a 6-9 inch 20-25# leader, mono or flouro. I like VMC circle hooks. For bait I’ll use 1/2 a crab, live mullet, bluefish cut bait steak, or fresh shrimp in that order.
I prefer 2 hours before high tide or 2 hours after high tide to catch the current when it starts slowing down. At high tide its lunch time the skates and sharks are much more prevalent.

Randy Edwards
3 years ago

This is a totally contrived rig. Double leader to the hook surely will deter any wary fish (while providing very little extra strengh, because if one strand fo the double loop were to be frayed through or cut, the loop would slip out of the hook). Why tie to a swivel when one can save time, gear and a few cents (not to mention eliminate extra hardware that would deter a fish) and just tie the leader to the line with a normal knot? There is no need for a swivel on a bottom rig with a big pyramid sinker that surely is not going to be twisting. Overall, thiis rig is not anything to be recommended. Joe, you can do better than this.
By the way, you never sent the free tackle you promised online in a reply…not that I really need any more tackle … but failure to follow throught with your promise does not make you look very good

3 years ago
Reply to  Randy Edwards

A pyramid sinker does not stop a bait from spinning. Ive tied knots with the line doubled…like 4lb-8lb test to a 40lb leader. Ive landed fish that one of the strands of the double main line broke and the one strand still landed the fish. (Snook)

Randy Edwards
3 years ago
Reply to  Rick

A pyramid sinker below a dropper loop will only allow the leader material that the rig is made out of (30# in this case) to spin until the leader material itself becomes twisted. A swivel above does not prevent the leader material to twist. Also fishermen should know that a standard swivel (as opposed to a ball-bearing swivel) does very little to prevent line twist. Also, your comment about tying knots with doubled line is irrelevant. When a knot is made between the main line that is doubled with a Bimini or Spider Hitch, both strands of the doubled line are knotted, and yes one of them can hold the leader even if the other is broken or cut. However, the rig in question is a dropper loop where the hook is attached by slipping the loop through the hook eye — with no knot there. Thus, if one side of the loop is cut or broken, the hook will simply slide off the loop.

3 years ago
Reply to  Randy Edwards

Evidently i wasnt paying attention when he talked about his dropper rig. Something i never use other than deep droppoing. And a drop loop TIED to a hook…not sliding freely will def hold a fish if one strand breaks.
Have a good day.

Joseph Simonds
3 years ago
Reply to  Randy Edwards

Hey Randy, all lures are sent out the next day. You should have received an automated email with a tracking number. Double-check your spam box. We’ll also have Carrol research and get back with you. If you ever have any issues, please email or call us immediately. We want to hear from anyone who had their lures lost in the mail (otherwise we assume you got them).

3 years ago

I’ve seen some of the fish you’ve caught, so yeah. Good stuff.


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