You are looking to rig up live bait. Yet, have no idea of what rig to use? One of these 5 live bait rigs will work for freshwater. These work in any waterway, whether calm or flowing with heavy current. You will have an option for each situation while fishing.
All the rigs use a few common pieces of terminal tackle. All you need is hooks, sinkers, and swivels. Adding a plastic bead is recommended for a couple of the rigs. They are all easy to tie, including beginner-level anglers.
Each type of rig has pros and cons. This leads to them being better for specific situations when fishing. Also, the correct sinkers affect the rig. Different sinkers work better based on the bottom composition and current.
Learn the waterways you plan to fish in. Then get the needed weights and terminal tackle. A few types of sinkers, hooks, and swivels are standard items in a tackle box or bag.
You will find many names for the following rigs. I used descriptive names for clarity. You can call the rig what is normal in your region. There are too many different names for most of the rigs to list them.
Split Shot and Hook
A split shot and hook is the simplest rig for fishing. You tie on a hook and add a split shot at the desired distance above the hook. The distance will vary depending on the situation you are fishing. Use this rig with floats or bobbers and in shallow water also.
Using this rig allows you to fine-tune the weight. The rig allows live bait to swim freely under a float or bobber. Plus, you can bounce along the bottom in a stream. This method naturally presents the bait. The method is useful for pressured or finicky fish.
In general, the technique works well with ultra-light or light power rods. The lightweight of the rig does not load stronger rods for a good cast. This rig limits you to shorter casts on streams and near the shore on larger waterways. Using a light line helps with distance also.
Hook Above the Weight
Use this type of rig to keep a bait in place on the bottom of the waterway. When using the rig, the correct sinker is important. A sinker needs to be the type for the bottom composition and current.
Examples are a coin sinker for heavy currents or a pyramid sinker for sandy bottoms. A basic 6-sided sinker works in many situations. You need to learn the right sinker for the different bottom compositions.
This rig is common for catching catfish and other bottom-feeding fish. It keeps the bait on or close to the bottom. The length between the hook and sinker affects how close to the bottom the bait will be.
Use a dropper loop knot for attaching the hooks. You can tie one loop or more. Check with your state’s regulation on how many hooks are allowed on a line. The use of two or more hooks is a high-low rig. It allows you to present more bait.
The dropper loop is easy to tie after a little practice. This knot is preferred since it has less impact on line strength. Some people choose to use an overhand knot to make loops. An overhand knot can slip and cause weak spots.
Live Bait Slip Rigs
A slip rig is common in some types of fishing. The rig allows the line to pass through the sinker. This helps with fish spooked by line tension. Plus, it allows a fish to run with the bait. Some fish need to run with bait to be caught easier.
This method uses slip sinkers or a sinker slip. You slide the sinker or slip on the line. Then add a plastic bead onto the line. Tie on a swivel to hold the sinker from sliding down towards the hook.
The next step is to tie a leader line to the swivel. Add a hook to the other end of the leader and the rig is done. The rig works well for walleye and catfish, plus other species at times. It allows the fish to take the bait without feeling the weight of the sinker.
Adding a snell float will keep the bait off the bottom. This makes the bait visible to more fish. This is the Lindy rig used for walleye fishing.
A 3-way rig uses a 3-way swivel. The mainline attaches to one eye, the sinker leader to another, and the hook leader ties to the last eye. This rig can be used with snell floats to keep bait high up from the bottom. The leaders will determine how high the bait will be presented. A 3 feet sinker leader and 2′ 6″ hook leader will have the bait about a couple of feet off the bottom. This is useful in deeper water where using a slip bobber is not practical.
In currents, the length of the leader is adjusted for different effects. Casting the sinker close to overhanging cover allows a long hook leader to go under the cover. Sometimes the fish are in those spots you simply cannot cast to without snagging.
Live Bait Bobber Rigs
A common rig used for panfish and sometimes for other species. Using a bobber or float allows you to set the bait at a specific depth. This technique works well for suspending fish. In other words, fish not close to the bottom. There are many types of bobber on the market. Use a bobber that will float but pull under easy for the fish. These tend to be a stick or bulb-type floats.
Setting up the floats is a simple task. The slip float does have more steps to rig. This article will show you how to rig the slip float. A slip float is better when fishing in slightly deeper water. If fishing over 4 feet deep with a bait, uses a slip float rig. The weight will vary based on water depth, water flow, and bait. This method uses bobber stops which are explained in the article mentioned.
The fixed float is good for the shallow water presentations of the bait. Use a split shot rig, then attach the float to the line 2-3 feet or farther above the bait. The spring is pushed up and the line is placed in the slot then release the spring.
The 5 live bait rigs cover the basic types of freshwater fishing. You add variations, such as the snell float or walking sinkers, to name a few. The rigs will cover almost all fishing situations. Practice the knots and tying the rigs. A few can be tied in advance. You will find several of the rigs will fit your fishing style.