Shore Fishing Rigs, A Beginners Guide - Sea Tackle

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This is a guide to making shore fishing rigs, I will cover a few of the basics of rig making and then I will show a few of the most popular rigs used in the UK.

There are a few very common mistakes made by newcomers to sea fishing and hopefully after reading this guide anyone will be able to avoid them! There is also some suggestions when buying componants to make your own rigs.

I have been shore fishing for 25 years, have won many competitions and have represented England a few times, I mainly fish matchs, but also enjoy targeting Bass and Cod, I feel I have a very sound knowledge of all aspects of sea fishing and hope I can pass on some tips to any keen angler.

The Basics

  • You need to use the right rig for the type of fishing you are doing, if you are targeting small fish its no use using a 4/0 hook, and likewise if you are targeting big fish then you usually want a big hook and usually a big bait. The rig must also be suited to the range you need to acheive to catch fish, you will catch more with 1 hook amougst the fish, than with 3 hooks not reaching the fish.


  • Whatever type of rig you use, its essential that the dimensions are right to avoid tangles. Good Bait presentation is very important, this will never be achieved with a tangled rig. Simply making rigs with hooks that cannot tangle with each other will increase your catch.


  • SAFETY - You need to use rigs that are safe for you and those around you, Always use a minimum of 10lb breaking strain per ounce of weight you use, for the rig body, so if you use a 5oz lead, the rig body must be a minimum of 50lb breaking strain. Remember a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so having 50lb line is no use if you only have a 20lb swivel tied to it, you must ensure that all parts of the rig that will be put under pressure during casting are strong enough to deal with the forces casting excerts on them. 


  • Hooks - Possibly the most important componant of any rig, the hook needs to be sharp to hook the fish and strong to land the fish, I never use a hook for more than one session, they cost very little and blunt easily, replacing hooks is as simple as tying a knot.


  • A good selection of rigs is essential, you ideally want a wallet full of rigs in your tackle box at all times, the best place to tie rigs is at home, tying rigs on the beach is not ideal, the beach is for fishing, all the time you are tying rigs you are not concentrating on fishing. Spend a couple of hours at home before you go fishing and tie a selection of rigs and enjoy your fishing a lot more.


The Flapper Rig

Easily the most popular rig in the UK, the flapper can be made with 1,2 or 3 hooks, the choice of which depends on the type of fishing you are planning, as a rough guide 1 hook is ideal for big baits for bass or cod etc whilst the 2 and 3 hook is more suited to general beach fishing for smaller fish. Virtually all match anglers use 3 hooks at all times, this is the maximum number permitted in most competitions and as such gives the maximum number of baits in the water.

The rig consists of a main body with hook lengths attached, as the name suggests the snoods flap, and are not clipped down for casting, a swivel is tied at the top of the body and a weight clip at the bottom. The bottom hook(nearest the weight) can be tied above the weight or below, you will often find that certain venues fish better with all hooks up(above the weight) whilst others are better with 1 down (below the weight), this can even vary at different states of the tide and differnt times of year depending on species being targeted. The only way to find out whats best is to experiment and then remember your findings, watch out for signs like not catching on the bottom hook or always catching on the bottom hook!


The Clip Down Rig

As with the flapper rig the clip down can have from 1 - 3 hooks, however as the rig is designed to be cast long distance a 1 or 2 hook is most common. The idea is the baits are held in place with bait clips or cascade swivels to make the rig more aerodynamic and ultimatly increase the casting distance.

The most poular method for making a clip down rig is to have an impact shield or an impact lead at the bottom of the rig, then instead of a swivel on the lower snood a cascade swivel is used, so the bottom hook clips down to the impact and then the upper snood clips down to the cascade. The more traditional method is to attach bent bits of wire, known as bait clips to the main body of the rig using rubber tubing , thee are then positioned so the hooks clip into them, this method has the problem of occasionaly not coming unclipped, so you could be fishing with no chance of a fish getting hooked!

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