Surf Casting Rigs: Long Casts, Tough Leaders, and Sharp Hooks

Fishing from the shore presents unique challenges. We’ve already covered the special tackle that is the best for the job. You can find our articles about the best surfcasting reels and rods if you aren’t sure where to start.

Surfcasting requires extraordinary rigs. Extremely long casts are the norm. Current and tide can drag your rig from the place you want. Standard leaders will be torn apart by monster fish with sharp teeth.

You’ll want to make the most out of your time on the sand. Rigs should cast well and hold tight. Leaders that can withstand the abuse of sharks and blues are essential.

We have the best surfcasting equipment so read on!

Get Ready for Surf Casting: A Complete List Of Supplies

Irwin Vise-Grip Long Nose Pliers

A serious wire-working tool is essential if you plan to work with wire leaders, crimping, and cutting your rig. While angling tools can be used to accomplish the same tasks, they are not meant for cutting heavy wire leader material.

You’ll be glad that you went for the real deal.

IRWIN VISE-GRIP Long Nose Pliers, 6-Inch (2078216)

Rio Powerflex Wire Bite Tippet 40Lb

Nothing beats strong nylon-coated tileable metal for toothy fish like the blues.

Rio’s Powerflex is simply amazing for creating almost indestructible leaders. This is why I reach for it when I fish for species with sharp teeth.

IRWIN VISE-GRIP Long Nose Pliers, 6-Inch (2078216)

Malin Wire Leader

Ultra-tough wire leader is recommended for larger, more powerful fish such as sharks. Malin is a trusted name, and their leader material can withstand anything a shark can throw at it.

Although it is tempting to choose a pre-tied leader with clip and swivel, many brands fail to deliver the performance promised.

Tie your own leaders made of superior material to ensure that the shark, wahoo, or king mackerel you tie in will be on the beach.

American Fishing Wire Single Barrel Crimp Sleeves are recommended. Choose the right size for the wire. I prefer sleeves that have an interior diameter slightly larger than my line diameter.

If you have #15 wire diameter of.036″, then choose a sleeve that is close to (but larger than).072. In such cases, I would choose the larger size:.082.

Malin Wire Leader| King Mackerel Wahoo Shark Rigging (#10 (131lb) 163' roll)

Gamakatsu Circle Hooks

A circle hook is the best choice for surfcasting where long linens will result in weak hooksets. They are self-setting and can be rigged correctly.

Gamakatsu hooks can be strong, sharp, and extremely reliable. They come in sizes ranging from 8 to 8/0 so you can find the perfect size for whatever you are looking for in the surf.

Gamakatsu Octopus Circle Hooks Offset-Point (25-Pack), Black, Size 2

Eagle Claw 8 mm beads

Surf-casting rigs often include beads. They can be placed between a sliding sinker or a barrel swivel to protect your line from the pounding caused by all that lead.

Eagle Claw A8BEAD20R Plastic Beads, 8 mm, Red, 20 Piece

Ice Sea Sinker Slides

A slide is useful when you need to be able to slide easily with a large sinker. The clip makes it easy to adjust sinker weights according to changing conditions.

See also  How to Attach Bait to Fishing Rod Stardew Valley?

ICE SEA 25-50pcs Fishing Line Sinker Slide with Duo-Lock Snap Blue High-Strength Sinker Slider Stainless Steel Snap Kit (Light Blue, 25pcs)

Bullet Weights Pyramid Sinkers

A pyramid sinker, an old-fashioned design, allows for long castings and holds well. It will keep your surfcasting equipment where it needs to be. It can hold onto the water by laying on its side. The points and flat at its top grip will protect it from current and tide.

Bullet Weight’s sinkers come in a variety of weights from 1 to 6 ounces making them an excellent choice for any situation.

Dr. Fish Cigar Float

Pesky crabs can destroy live bait. A cigar float can help keep your hook afloat and keep you in the game for longer.

Dr.Fish 30 Pack Fishing Rig Floats Cork Float Pompano Floats Walleye Rig Lure Making Accessories Surf Fishing Foam Bobbers Snell Float Pencil Float

Portail Barrel Swivels

Barrel swivels, which are also essential for rigging, are needed to cast surf. Portail has swivels that can be used for anything from fluke to specks up to sharks.

Riptail Barrel Fishing Swivels - Steel with Corrosion-Resistant Finish, Size #8 (45lb) - 100 Pack

Thundermist Lure Company 3-Way Swivel

Some anglers prefer to tie their double-hooked rods. However, a three-way swivel works better at preventing tangles. It also allows live bait to swim more freely, which attracts more bites.

T-Turn Thundermist Black Nickel, Medium

Breakaway Super Sinker

Breakaway Super Sinkers come in standard surfcasting weights and offer a better grip for anglers who have to deal with rocky bottoms.

Breakaway Super Sinker 4oz

Fishing lure float balls

These float balls are the best for Fireball Rigs. They are available in sizes 12 and 18 mm, which is just the right size to keep a hook off the bottom.

Fishing Lure Float Balls,100Pcs EPS Foam Buoyancy Ball Fishing Float Bobbers Drift Ball Strike Indicator Fishing Tackle Foam Indicator

The Best Surf-Casting Rigs

The Fish Finder Rig (A Modified Carolina Rig).

The Fish Finder is the most popular rig among surf casters. The Fish Finder is essentially a Carolina Rig, but with a modified cast length and tide-bucking grip. Every angler should be able to assemble it.

The only time the Fish Finder Rig can fail you is when confronted with an angry horde of crabs. They’ll grab your hook, steal your meal, and, depending on which live bait option you choose, will be able to access it as fast as you can rig it.

These steps will help you assemble a Fish Finder Rig.

  1. Attach sinker sleeves to your mainline.
  2. You can stop the bead by following it. This will protect your barrel from the sinker.
  3. Attach a barrel swivel to a Uni Knot.
  4. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  5. You can trim the leader to 18-25 inches. Use wire to support species with aggressive teeth.
  6. Attach a Palomar knot to one end.
  7. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  8. Attach the other end of the leader to the barrel swivel using a Uni Knot
  9. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.

For sharks and other large fish that have razor-sharp teeth:

  1. Attach sinker sleeves to your mainline.
  2. Continue the process with a bead stop.
  3. Attach a Uni Knot to attach the size 4 or 5.barrel swivel.
  4. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag. It’s easier to tie a tie if you have heavy mono.
  5. You can cut 18-25 inches of heavy wire leader.
  6. The wire should be run through the hook’s eye, then slide on one barrel connector. Finally, crimp the wire with pliers.
  7. The wire leader should be crimped to the barrel swivel.

The Floating Fish Finder Rig

The Floating Fish Finder Rig offers a unique way to keep live bait from the bottom at a certain depth. This not only puts your bait right where hungry fish will find it but also stops pesky crabs from stealing it.

See also  Resor Wreck GPS Coordinates

These steps will help you to assemble a floating fish finder rig.

  1. Attach sinker sleeves to your mainline.
  2. You can stop the bead by following it. This will protect your barrel from the sinker.
  3. Attach a barrel swivel to a Uni Knot.
  4. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  5. You can trim the leader to 18-25 inches. Use wire to support species with aggressive teeth.
  6. Attach a Palomar knot to one end.
  7. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  8. A split shot or two should be crimped 3-4 inches from the hook.
  9. Place a cigar float on your leader.
  10. Attach the other end of the leader to the barrel swivel using a Uni Knot
  11. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.

For sharks and other large fish that have razor-sharp teeth:

  1. Attach sinker sleeves to your mainline.
  2. Continue the process with a bead stop.
  3. Attach a Uni Knot to attach the size 4 or 5.barrel swivel.
  4. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag. It’s easier to tie a tie if you have heavy mono.
  5. You can cut 18-25 inches of heavy wire leader.
  6. The wire should be run through the hook’s eye, then slide on one barrel connector. Finally, crimp the wire with pliers.
  7. A split shot or two should be crimped 3-4 inches from the hook.
  8. Place a cigar float on your leader.
  9. The wire leader should be crimped to the barrel swivel.

The High/Low Rig

The High/Low Rig ranks among my favorites. I have caught coolers filled with croaker and specks on this versatile rig.

It is ideal for running multiple live baits or jigs. This will help you to pinpoint what triggers bites and give you another chance at attracting a strike.

This rig can also be used with one hook. It’s deadly and has very little chance of getting tangled.

Fishing in areas with snags is a problem? Run a Breakaway Super Sinker, or make a dropper monoline that allows you to remove your sinker.

Some anglers only use one mainline with Dropper Loops or leaders running along with it. Although T-swivels don’t need to be used for this type of rigging I have found that tangling can cause problems.

These steps will help you to assemble a High/Low rig.

  1. Take 10-18 inches off the leader.
  2. Use a Uni Knot to tie your leader to the bottom end of a T-swivel.
  3. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  4. Take 18 inches off the leader.
  5. Use a Uni Knot to tie the leader to your T-swivel.
  6. Use a Uni Knot to tie the other end of the T-swivel to the bottom.
  7. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  8. Another 18 inches of leader can be cut.
  9. Tie a Uni Knot to the top end of the second T-swivel.
  10. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.
  11. Attach the leader’s free end to a barrel swivel using a Uni Knot
  12. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.
  13. Attach the sinker to the lower leader using a Surgeon’s Loop.
  14. high T-swivel to attach approximately 10-12 inches of leader, you can use a Uni Knot.
  15. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.
  16. Attach a Palomar loop to the end of your short leader.
  17. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.
  18. TheLow T-swivelUse a Uni Knot for attaching approximately 18-24 inches of leader.
  19. Attach a Palomar loop to the end of your short leader.
  20. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.
See also  Best Ultralight Spinning Reel - Buying Guide and Reviews For 2021

You can skip the complicated process by purchasing a high-quality High/Low Rig made from a 30-pound mono leader from Tide Rite. Tide Rite has loops at their hooks so that they can be easily removed if you don’t need the Mustad bait holders.

Bluefish can also be caught in a high/low rig that you can use to make leaders out of wire.

Jasmine offers a pre-tied wire rig in both one-arm and two-arm versions.

The Fireball Rig

Fireball rigs are very popular.

This clever rig features two hooks that can be used as live bait. A ball float is placed near each hook to buoy your bait off the bottom. This rig is used to fish for reds, pompano, and speck species.

These rigs can be purchased pre-tied at Topsail Tackle. They are equipped with heavy mono leaders and 3/0 circular hooks.

These steps will help you assemble a Fireball rig.

  1. Take 10-18 inches off the leader.
  2. Use a Uni Knot to tie your leader to the bottom end of a T-swivel.
  3. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  4. Take 18 inches off the leader.
  5. Use a Uni Knot to tie the leader to your T-swivel.
  6. Use a Uni Knot to tie the other end of the T-swivel to the bottom.
  7. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Then trim the end of your tag.
  8. Another 18 inches of leader can be cut.
  9. Tie a Uni Knot to the top end of the second Swivel.
  10. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.
  11. Attach the leader’s free end to a barrel swivel using a Uni Knot
  12. You can wet the knot and tighten it. Trim the end of the tag.
  13. Attach the sinker to the lower leader using a Surgeon’s Loop.
  14. Use a Uni Knot at the T-swivel to attach approximately 10-12 inches of leader. Use mono leader of 30-pound+ or wire if you are fishing for blues.
  15. Place a float ball on your leader, and then add a bead to it.
  16. Attach a Palomar loop to the end of the short leader. If using wire, crimp it in place.
  1. Use a Uni Knot at the T-swivel to attach approximately 10-12 inches of leader. Use mono leader of 30-pound+ or wire if you are fishing for blues.
  2. Place a float ball on your leader, and then add a bead to it.
  3. Attach a Palomar loop to the end of the short leader. If using wire, crimp it in place.

Last Thoughts

These surf-casting tools are winners and you will see them all on the beaches where you fish. You’ll be able to use them for long casts, strong leaders, and sharp hooks if you know how to properly rig them.

We hope you found this article helpful in improving your surfcasting rigs. As always, we would love to hear from our readers.

Leave a comment below

Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.