Best Florida Surf Fishing Rigs

Daniel Brown
• Monday, 26 October, 2020
• 7 min read

Hooked up in the Surprising the surf zone along the beach requires some specialized tackle. Terminal tackle for fishing the beach needs to be strong enough to deal with potentially toothy critters.

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It will also need to hold itself in place amount the wave action and currents of the surf zone. Of course, with all of that, we will need a rig that can be cast a good distance off the beach to reach the fish.

If you are likely to encounter sharks, bluefish, mackerel, or other fish with sharp teeth, you can make the leader section out of wire or cable. Hook type and size will depend on target species.

Weight type and size will vary with current and wave conditions. Pompano are a small, but very tasty, fish that frequent the surf along the gulf coast.

In order to keep your bait in place, some specialized weights or sinkers will be needed. They need to either be very heavy, or have some designs feature to dig into the bottom and hold your rig in place against the current and waves.

Like its namesake, it is pointed on the end and the corners of the sinker will dig into the bottom to hold in place. Similar to the pyramid sinker, the hurricane sinker has a broad upper surface with corners and edges that can dig into the bottom to anchor your bait in place against the waves and currents.

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A lead weight with typically four lengths of heavy wire (legs) attached, these legs will dig into the bottom just like a boat anchor and securely hold your rig in place against some of the roughest of conditions. Hooks for surf fishing will be as varied as the species of fish being targeted.

Even if a fish swallows a circle hook, when the line is pulled tight the hook will pull out of the fishes stomach and catch in the corner of its mouth. This gives us the opportunity to release fish with a high probability of survival to fight another day.

In fact, in some areas and for some species, circle hooks are now required by law. Mr Nick Meyer of breakawaytackleusa, is an expert at surf fishing as well as a long distance casting coach.

He has a great selection of surffishingrigs that are designed for long distance casting. A type of spider weight that has a quick release feature when you want to retrieve your rig.

Please, leave the beach cleaner than you found it, and always stay safe and enjoy the journey. The Jacksonville-based Reals, a popular writer and seminar speaker, led our most recent revision of the classic fishing how-to book, Baits, Rigs and Tackle, originally authored by the late Vic Dunaway.

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You’ll need a sliding float with a stopper on the lightest rod, or even better, a flexible “bream buster” pole. The advantage of a pole over a rod and reel is the ability to pick up your cricket, worm or small minnow straight up from one hole in the lily pads, or one side of a fallen branch, and move the bait without attempting to cast.

With a tiny float, and a small sinker pinched on the line above your hook, your bait will move freely on the fall, if you use 4- or 6-pound test. Ingredients: Flexible 16-foot bream buster poles or ultralight spinning rod, with 4- or 6-pound-test monofilament line.

Number 6 or 8 Aberdeen style hooks, small slide through floats, and 1/16- to 1/8-ounce pinch-on weights. The Texas-rigged worm is very effective in the grassy waters typical of Florida lakes and rivers.

It is rigged so that the point of the book is shielded by the body of the bait, where it will not snag vegetation. Two keys to fishing it effectively: choose the right size slide on “bullet” weight, and prick the hook back in the worm so it’s weedless but poised to pop free when a fish strikes.

If you’re fishing still, open water, a 1/8-ounce bullet weight will allow your worm to sink slowly and seductively. Move up, perhaps to a full ounce, if you’re trying to sink a worm through eel grass or other heavy cover.

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Note: Quickly catching up to the Texas rig, in terms of popularity and effectiveness in Florida waters, is the simple wacky rig, with the hook positioned at the midpoint of a straight worm. Salt-impregnated Genotype worms are very popular here, and many fishermen use rubber O-rings to affix the small hooks which are most effective with the rig.

Texas rig begins with offset-shank hook inserted into head of worm and emerging about a quarter inch back. Step two of Texas rig, slide worm up to eye of hook, covering offset.

Ingredients: Classic Texas rig is best fished on 20-pound braided line with optional 20-pound mono leader. Medium spinner, or bait caster with rod tip stout enough to drive hook home.

The most versatile rig in Florida, the fish finder can be used for everything from freshwater catfish to offshore grouper. Fishing this rig in an area where you want it to stay put (freshwater catfish, in heavy cover) may require a flat sinker.

Using this rig with finger mullet for redfish or flounder requires a short 10- or 12-inch leader to keep the bait from rising too high in the water. Fishing in deep water, using a 30-foot, 40-pound-test fluorocarbon leader, with an 8-ounce egg sinker can fool the wariest mutton snapper.

pompano rigs fishing surf florida coast east nuts drive
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Just remember to drop your long leader slowly to avoid bait wrapping around the mainline during the descent. When your rig hits the bottom, just keep letting it roll back with the current.

For flounder (which commonly live around rocks and other shaggy bottom) I often use 30-pound monofilament fishing line and a 20-pound leader. A basic surf fishing rig can be used to catch the usual beach suspects: pompano, whiting, bluefish, shook, redfish and jacks.

Almost every big box store you visit will have heavy braided cable surf rigs.” They may be the ultimate in “too much tackle” for the job. Pull not as snug as possible, and clip one end, leaving a 16-inch “branch” off main line.

Pompano anglers often slide a pink bead above the hooks to imitate sand flea eggs. The beauty of this rig is, the ease of changing sinkers depending on depth and current.

Add a 6-foot surgeon loop to the third eye of one swivel and your main line to the opposite end. The beauty of this rig is, the ease of changing sinkers depending on depth and current.

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You’ll feel the bites better on braided line with as small a teardrop sinker as you can hold bottom with. The rig is superior for schooling bottom fish like sea bass and vermilion snapper.

The click a popping cork puts out, is supposed to perfectly mimic the snap of a shrimp; the splash sounds like a feeding fish. Redfish, trout, shook and flounder all cruise the edges of grass beds, oyster bars, and docks.

Dropping a jig or live shrimp in front of a cruiser, and then calling his name with the snap of a popping cork is a deadly method in 3 to 6 feet of water. The beauty of the rig is, it not only appeals to the fishes sense of hearing, but weighing down your live shrimp or mud minnow with a tiny split shot while leaving it in the strike zone as it drifts along an area, calling up a strike every time you sharply pull on the line just enough to “pop” or “click” the cork.

Ingredients: Popping cork, 2 to 4 feet of 20-pound-test mono leader, 1/16- to ¼-ounce split shot (set 8 inches above the hook) and 3/0 live bait hook or ¼-ounce jig head with soft plastic tail. Whereas South Florida drift boats may provide you with a triple hook rig, using a little stealth will catch you the biggest and best fish on the spot.

Whereas South Florida drift boats may provide you with a triple hook rig, using a little stealth will catch you the biggest and best fish on the spot. Using a figure eight knots will secure your hook on one end and a swivel on the other with a ¼- to ½-ounce egg sinker in between.

rig fish finder surf fishing tackle tailored
(Source: tailoredtackle.com)

I can attest to the fact that the biggest snapper and grouper on a spot will watch the smaller fish get hooked, spit out the bait on the way up, and then gobble what is falling back to the bottom. Knowing the 30-second king fish rig will make your day easier and more productive.

Maybe you moved to Florida with an offshore boat, or maybe your neighbor has invited you fishing for king mackerel. Knowing the 30-second king fish rig will make your day easier and more productive.

Place the end of the cable through the eye on the flat side of the treble, barely extending beyond shaft. Hold the wire down while you make six tight wraps of the cable around the shank of the hook, starting at the eye.

A correctly rigged ballyhoo will make a huge difference in your fishing success. Circle hook rigs may well play a role in your first Florida sailfish (they are also deadly on black fin tuna).

Without removing them from the tube, wrap the end of each piece through a #3 rubber O ring (if it’s hard to see it in your hand, it’s the right size). Put a pencil or wooden dowel of similar size through the eyes of a dozen small to medium ballyhoo.

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Take a rigging needle and bore a hole through the head of a ballyhoo, right where his “lip” is attached. The copper wire is inserted down through the jaws of the ballyhoo (pull to snug the O-ring tight against the bait).

Eyes of bait removed with dowel or arrow shaft, and bill, or beak, was snipped to about one-quarter length. When you check the fish finder rigs of the best snapper and grouper fishermen in your area, you’ll see what makes them successful.

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1 www.bdoutdoors.com - https://www.bdoutdoors.com/florida-fishing-regulations/
2 myfwc.com - https://myfwc.com/viewing/how/ethics/
3 www.visitflorida.com - https://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/things-to-do/florida-fishing/why-florida-is-the-fishing-capital-of-the-world.html