How To Use Fish Finder Rig For Surf Fishing

Fish finder rig for redfish

The Fish Finder Rig is one of the most well-known saltwater rigs for fishing in the surf. It is generally used for fishing in rough conditions to catch fish in regions with little shelter and minimal structure. 

In this article, you will go through a thorough explanation of each feature of the Fish Finder Rig for surf fishing. Also, you will be amazed by how this tool may make surf fishing more successful and profitable. Therefore, knowing and choosing a proper rig can efficiently get your lure into the strike zone and catch more fish.

What Is A Fish Finder Rig?

A Fish Finder Rig is a basic yet efficient saltwater bait rig for surf fishing. The rig can be used with hooks, lines, and weights of different sizes, but its main purpose is to allow you to cast your bait very far out into the surf without worrying about it being carried away.

1.1 Tackle Off Fish Finder Rig


To set up a Fish Finder Rig, these components are needed:

  • Pyramid Sinker – 3 to 4 oz
  • Sinker Slider – XL
  • 8 mm Bead
  • 36’’ Leader – 40lb
  • Circle Hook – 5/0

Species and Bait

Next, the table below will show you the suitable baits for each species:

SnookS. Mullet
SharkAll cut baits
East CoastStriped BassBunker/ Clam
BluefishBunker/ Clam
SharkAll cut baits
West CoastStriped BassShad
Ling CodLg. Squid
SharkAll cut baits


If you are going for big fish, then a fish finder rig can be your perfect missing piece. Cast it as far as you can after having your hook baited with any kind of cut bait. 

After that, as you wait for a significant hit, keep the line taut and put it in a beach spike. Keep in mind, before setting your hook firmly, let the fish slightly peel your drag. 

1.2 Tackle Off Fish Finder Float Rig


For a Fish Finder Float Rig, below are the components to set this rig up:

  • Pyramid Sinker – 3-4 oz
  • Three-way Swivel – #3
  • Dual Lock Snap – #4
  • 18” Leader – 40lb
  • 2” Peg Float
  • J-Hook – 3/0

Species and Bait

The best baits for different species are shown in the following table:

Triple TailLadyfish
SharkAll cut baits
East CoastStriped BassBunker
SharkAll cut baits
West CoastStriped BassShad
Ling CodLg. Squid
SharkAll cut baits


Add a float a few inches away from your hook if your bait might be eaten by innumerable crabs or other fish species that aren’t your target species. With this addition, your bait will be elevated above the ocean floor where crabs hide, and its larger profile will prevent pests like sea cats. 

However, remember that this will not be an ideal method if you want to catch picky species like snook. On the other hand, sharks, bull drums, bluefish, and stripers are less picky feeders, so adding a peg float to your leader won’t affect them.

2. How To Tie The Fish Finder Rig

As mentioned earlier about the components of a Fish Finder Rig, in this section, let’s dive deep into the benefits of each part. 

A Pyramid Sinker

Genuinely, the pyramid-shaped sinker is an essential element of the Fish Finder Rig. When your rig sinks to the bottom, the sinker will help you hold the rig in the casting place no matter how strong the waves trying to send it back to the shore. 

Moreover, the pyramid form also aids in dragging your bait along the bottom in a naturally wiggling manner, making it appear like a wounded fish in the eyes of surrounding hungry sharks or other target fish. 

In some cases, some anglers will use storm or tongue sinkers instead of pyramid ones. An egg-shaped sinker can be an alternative. However, if you are fishing in big waves, it might not have the same staying ability as the pyramid, since it can’t anchor itself in the sand like the sharp points on the pyramid can.

A 3-ounce pyramid weight is appropriate to hold your rig in place while angling for inshore fish that are typically 20 to 40 inches in length. Otherwise, choose a 6-ounce sinker if the fish are larger than 40 inches in length or the area has significantly heavier surf and undertow.

A Sinker Slider 

For the Fish Finder Rig, a sinker slider is truly helpful, as it lets your bait move around and wiggle in the water while the pyramid sinker holds the rig in place. 

It is not advisable to use a braided line with a fish finder setup since the constant friction from the sinker’s sliding motion may eventually cut your line. To avoid this, only use monofilament, fluorocarbon, or steel wire leaders when tying your fish finder rig.

Plastic Bead

In general, plastic beads are used to prevent the sinker slider from getting tangled up in the barrel swivel or snap swivel. As a result, when the rig is in the surf, the line is protected from unexpected slaps and frequent friction. 

Monofilament or Steel Leader

When choosing a leader, there is no fixed guideline for the optimal length of a leader. Depending on the place where you think fish can be found, it can range from 4 to 30 inches or even more. 

As monofilament is the most typical recommendation for a leader, you can cut a length of 24 to 30 inches for fish that are frequently found along the break line and closer to shore, such as flatfish. By doing so, your bait will move naturally, luring a variety of hungry fish in.

Aside from monofilament, steel leaders are used for fish that are more aggressive, such as sharks and bluefish. You can measure out about 20 to 24 inches of leader or beyond, determined by the size of the fish you’re aiming for and the type of bait you are using.

Though you can have your leader vary in a wide range of lengths, bear in mind that long leaders of any kind will also come with more wind resistance than usual.

Circle Hook

Last but not least, the hook is an indispensable part of any type of rigging. It is recommended to use a circle hook for the Fish Finder Rig, as this kind of hook has a space that is big enough for the fish to self-set the hook into their mouth.

How to set up

To create a Fish Finder Rig, start by tying the leader to the hook with a snell knot or a single uni knot. Then, after trimming a piece of leader to the required length, attach the other end of the leader to the barrel swivel or the snap swivel.

After that, insert the main line into the sinker slider and use the barrel swivel to connect the main line and the leader. The weight may be fixed with a sinker slider or it may be connected directly to the main line. Finally, bait your hook, and that’s it. You’ve got your rig done; let’s go fishing!

The Fish Finder Rig is versatile, as it can be used for all species, including brown sharks and fluke. However, based on the fish you are targeting, the leader length and hook size should be altered to achieve optimal performance.

3. How The Fish Finder Rig Works

When to use

This rig is an ideal fishing setup for surf fishing and still fishing. While surf fishing with a fish finder rig, try targeting regions with breaking surf where the wave crests are whiter. You’ll probably find flatfish, halibut, striped bass, and redfish in the shallower water here.

How to use

Cast your rig to the spot where you believe your target fish may be hiding. Consider utilizing a leader clip for simpler casting and greater distance since long leaders may limit the distance you can get. After that, once your rig has been cast successfully, the only thing left to do is wait.

Check your rods frequently to see whether there has been a bite. Additionally, you might want to check to make sure your bait is still on the hook every 20 minutes. It might have been taken by a fish that was too small for your hook, or it might have fallen off the hook due to water movement. Crabs and shrimp, which are bottom feeders, can also eat your bait without troubling the hook.

In detail, the Fish Finder Rig is often used with cut bait while surf fishing or still fishing in saltwater. While you can use live bait instead, dead-cut bait is more useful and widely used for this rig. By allowing more of the natural oils of the bait fish to be released into the water, the cut bait can attract fish easier.


Surf fishing with a Fish Finder Rig can be a lot of fun, as it is super low-labor and you will have a high chance to catch a monster-sized fish. That sounds fascinating, right? Then take your box, get a rig, and explore the world of surf fishing as soon as you can.  

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