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Saltwater Rigging Basics

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Chunk Bait Bottom Rig Setup

To create a setup that will allow you to present cut bait (herring, Atlantic mackerel, or clams) to predatory fish patrolling the surf:

  1. Attach a 3-way swivel to the main line using a clinch knot
  2. To the bottom-facing swivel ring, tie a stretch of monofilament (1 to 3 feet)
  3. To the end of this line, tie a pyramid sinker
  4. Tie your leader line and hook to the remaining swivel ring

This configuration will allow the bait to remain near the bottom where the pyramid sinker is resting, but the swells and current will pull the chunk bait a few feet up in the water column. By keeping the bait above the bottom, its movement imitates a swimming prey fish and helps to keep it out of reach of bottom-dwelling crabs and lobsters.

Hint: When fishing around rocky shorelines, use a lower pound test monofilament than the main line and leader, so that in the event of a snag in a rock crevice, only the weight is lost and will need to be retied.

Alternative floating setup: Helps keep crabs at bay. Tie a circle hook on your line, using a clinch knot. Attach a bobber about 3 feet above it. Clamp a small weight on the line in between, about a foot above the hook. Bait the hook with a live fish hooked through the lip or the back just below dorsal fin.

Basic Cod Rigging Setup

Spool your reel with more than 200 feet of monofilament or dacron line, at least 50 pound test. With dacron, use a metal swivel to attach a monofilament leader to the terminal end.

Tie a Norwegian cod jig to the end of your line or leader, using a clinch knot.

About 12 inches above the clinch knot, tie in a dropper loop (see below) with a 4-inch length extending from the line. Attach the bait hook to the dropper loop by feeding the end of the loop through the eye of the hook, then passing the loop down over the barbed end of the hook and pulling the loop tight against the other side of the hook eye.

Finally, thread a plastic curly tail grub, plastic shrimp or plastic tube onto the dropper loop hook; this is called the “teaser.”

Bait setup: For cut baits like clams and herring, replace the Norwegian jig with a large sinker, 8 oz. or more. Tie two dropper loops into the line or leader, the lower one about 12 inches above the sinker, and the second loop at least 6 inches above the first. Tie both loops with bait hooks. Use this setup for catching haddock and smaller cod.

Seacoast Fishing Guide

For fishing tips and places to cast your line on New Hampshire’s beautiful coast, check out the Seacoast Fishing Guide.

Also available: shoreline fishing guides to the Manchester/Nashua Region, the Lakes Region, the Great North Woods, Southeastern and Southwestern N.H.

Call (603) 271-3211 and we’ll send you one, or download from:

Let’s Go Fishing! Classes with N.H. Fish and Game

Want to learn how to fish, enhance your fishing skills, help turn a friend into a fishing buddy? Check out Let’s Go Fishing classes from N.H. Fish and Game’s Aquatic Resources Education team! Courses are offered throughout the state by trained volunteer instructors who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to help anglers get started.

Courses for adults and children are free of charge, and designed to teach basic ecological concepts, fishing skills and new ways to enjoy the outdoors together. Courses cover basic techniques for year-round fishing in ponds, lakes, streams and the ocean. A typical course offers hands-on instruction, plus a field trip to put your new skills to the test on the water. Let’s Go Fishing also offers specialty clinics and weekend workshops on fly fishing, saltwater fishing, fly tying, ice fishing and more. For a class schedule, visit

For more saltwater fishing tips and information, log onto

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