10 Best Rigs For Redfish You Shouldn’t Miss

Redfish are one of the most popular inshore species caught by fishermen and there are many good rigs designed for catching them. 

However, effective rigging for redfish is more difficult than most people realize since redfish are caught in a variety of locations and by a variety of fishing methods.

In this article, we’ll go through the most crucial redfish rigs, how to set them up, when to use each of them, and how to optimize the fishing results. So let’s get started!

How to rig for Redfish?

There are some popular rigs for redfish such as:

  • Fish finder rig
  • Carolina rig
  • Popping cork rig
  • Slip bobber rig
  • Fish finder rig with a short leader
  • Jig rig
  • Swimbait rig
  • Dropper loop rig
  • Cannonball rig
  • Texas rig

However, most anglers probably only need 2 or 3 of these rigs for their objectives.

Depending on the fishing locations, the size of the targeted redfish, and the level of fishing pressure in the fishery, we can employ the best redfish rigs for those conditions.

Fish Finder Rig – The most common

Fish finder rig for redfish

The fish finder rig is one of the most well-known setups for catching redfish. It is also especially helpful when casting from the shore or the surf.

Below are the components to set up a fish finder rig:

  • Leader: 1 – 3ft, 20 – 50 lb, monofilament or fluorocarbon
  • Swivel: 100-300 lb, Barrel Swivel
  • Sinker Slide or Snap Swivel
  • Hook: 1/0 to 10/0 size hook or J-hook
  • Weight:  1 to 3 oz Sliding Sinker such as Pyramid, Tongue, Storm

How to set up:

In order to set up a rig, anglers should tie the leader to the hook with a snell knot or a single uni knot. Next, cut a piece of leader to the desired length (for example 1 to 1.5 feet), and connect the other end of the leader to the barrel swivel.

Then thread the main line (30 to 50-pound test braid) into the sinker slide, and secure the main line to the other end of the barrel swivel. The weight may be directly linked to the main line or secured with a swivel or sinker slide.

Fish finder rigs work for all species, from fluke to brown sharks. However, anglers need to change the leader length and hook size depending on their target fish. The longer the leader, the more wind resistance is, and the shorter casting distance is.

Lastly, attach the snap of the sinker slider to the sinker and then bait the hook. Keep in mind that there are many choices of sinker for a fish finder rig, such as pyramid, storm, or tongue sinker. 

When to use:

The fish finder rig setup is well-suited for surf fishing or when fishing in strong currents. This makes it a great option for a big bull drum as it is a relatively heavy redfish rig.

How to use:

Live or cut bait is the ideal type of bait to use with a fish finder rig. Simply rig up, cast it out, and wait for a bite. Reel it in occasionally to check that the hook is still baited and that the rig wasn’t tangled during the cast.

Fish finder rig with a short leader

Fish finder rig with a short leader for Redfish

The fish finder rig with a short leader is almost the same as its “standard version”, except for the short leader’s length. Thanks to this feature, this type of rigging can perform better with a longer casting distance.

How to set up:

The components and setup procedures are the same as for a regular fish finder rig (see above). However, use a thicker leader material and make sure that it is only 1 to 2 inches long rather than tying a 1 to 3 feet leader.

In some cases, some fishermen prefer to place a plastic bead between the sinker slide and the swivel because it prevents the swivel’s knot from chafing. For some redfish anglers, this is not necessary as it makes no difference to them.

When to use:

This version of the fish finder rig is the best pick for casting over extremely great distances to reach the fish, most often on shallow beaches, where fishermen need to cast a hundred feet or more.

How to use:

Cast the rig from the beach after baiting the hook with cut bait, such as cut crab or fish.

After that, reel in the rig occasionally to re-bait the hook and then wait until a fish gets trapped. Note that live bait is not a wise choice because it will frequently come off the hook when you make long casts.

Carolina Rig

The Carolina rig for redfish is a simple but clever setup. Commonly, the rig gets the bait to the bottom, where redfish and red drum will typically be holding and looking for their next meal.

The weight will glide up and down the main line, which is a fantastic feature of this rig. This implies that if a red drum catches the bait, there won’t be any strain created by the fishing line as it passes smoothly through the weight; this will lead to more hookups because the redfish will perceive it as more natural.

Below are the components to set up a Carolina rig:

  • Leader: 10 to 20 lb test monofilament or fluorocarbon for small redfish, 50lb for bigger ones
  • Hook: #2 to 3/0 size circle hook or J-hook
  • Weight: 1/4 to 2 oz sliding egg sinker
  • Swivel: 100-pound rated barrel swivel
  • Plastic bead

To set up a Carolina rig, cut the length of the leader line to 1 to 3 feet, then tie the swivel to one end of the leader. Next, tie the hook to the opposite end with a snell knot or single uni knot. Slide the egg sinker over the main line, followed by the bead. Finally, tie the main line to the remaining side of the barrel swivel. 

When to use: 

The Carolina rig is lightweight and best used for inshore puppy redfish fishing in creeks, estuaries, and piers. Because a strong tide or current tends to drag the bullet sinker over the bottom, this type of rig works best in low current conditions.

The Carolina rig can also be used as a mobile rig that is pulled by the current across the bottom and thereby covers more ground.

How to use it: 

Use live or cut bait to bait your hook, such as shrimp, mullet, croaker, or pinfish. Cut bait is best, such as recently cut blue crab. After that, cast your rig out and wait for a bite.

Slip bobber rig

Slip Bobber Rig
Slip Bobber Rig

Generally, the slip bobber rig is a well-suited type of rigging for redfish in water that is over 5 feet deep.

The components to set up for a slip bobber rig include:  

  • Slip bobber (or sliding float)
  • Bobber stopper
  • Plastic beads
  • Barrel swivel
  • Hook: #2 to 5/0 size circle hook
  • Leader: 10 to 20 lb test mono or fluoro
  • Split shot weight: 1/16 to 1/2 oz split shot ( or sliding sinker)

How to set up:

First, anglers need to add a bobber stopper to the main line. In this step, braid or monofilament are both good options as they frequently float on top of the water, which is great for fishing with a float.

After that, attach a plastic bead below the bobber stop to the line and then thread on the slip bobber below the bead. Next, add a split shot weight or a sliding sinker underneath the bobber, depending on each angler’s preference.

Sliding sinkers such as egg sinkers will lower the bait faster as they have a more compact weight, especially in greater depths. And a few split shots can be used in place of the somewhat heavier egg sinker if anglers are using a smaller slip bobber. 

Thereafter, beneath the bobber comes a swivel and a leader. The swivel is a connection between the main line and the leader line. For the leader, fluorocarbon can be the best choice as it has the lowest visibility, and tends to sink in the water.

Measure out 2 to 3 feet of the leader length, then tie a circle hook to the other end of the leader. Lastly, bait the hook and the slip bobber rig is ready to cast out. To change the depth at which the bait is presented in the water, simply slide the bobber stopper up or down. Now, let’s start fishing!

When to use:

The slip bobber rig is an excellent choice for fishing in deeper water in streams, harbors, or piers, as anglers can easily modify how deep or how shallow they fish simply by changing the position of the bobber stop along the fishing line.

A slip bobber rig is an effective setup for drifting the bait along the creek edges with the current.

How to use:

Determine the depth of the water where you intend to fish, and then adjust the depth of your slip bobber rig so your bait is presented with one or two feet of the bottom.

Live or sliced bait can be used to bait the hook before casting it to potential fishing spots. In order to maintain the bait near the bottom, another choice is to use a jig head rather than a circle hook.

Popping cork rig – The most effective for luring fish

popping cork rig

The popping cork rig is one of the most effective inshore fishing setups for catching redfish or speckled trout.

The components of a popping cork rig include: 

  • Spinning setup (7-foot rod with the 4000-size reel)
  • 20 to 30 lb test braided main line
  • 20 to 40 lb test fluorocarbon or monofilament leader line
  • Popping cork
  • Jig head or circle hook
  • Split shot weight (optional)

How to set up:

First, tie the main line to the top swivel of the popping cork by using a Palomar knot or a single uni knot. Remember that the top end of the popping cork is the one that has plastic beads, but without weight or brass beads.

Next, tie the leader to the bottom swivel of the popping cork. Measure out the length of the leader depending on the angler’s preference, and then tie the other end of the leader to a 1/16 to 1/2 oz jig head. 

Finally, the angler’s choice of bait size and desired depth of water column settling will determine the weight of the jig head. Commonly, baits such as an artificial shrimp, a live shrimp, or a chunk of cut blue crab are well-suited for this type of rigging.

When to use:

Popping corks are usually fixed to the fishing line; therefore, they are most used in shallow water between 2 and 6 feet deep. 

The advantage of this design is that every time a popping cork is yanked at the water’s surface during retrieval, the beads on the cork generate a rattling and popping noise. When fishing in murky water, these rattling noises can be quite effective at luring fish, which prompts them to approach and investigate the noises.

Moreover, popping corks can also be effective in any situation where fish are feeding at the surface of the water. They can even entice fish in deeper water to the surface to explore the disturbance caused by the rattling and splashing sounds.

How to use:

Snap the rod periodically while reeling in to generate as much commotion as possible. The rattling sounds from the rig can thus attract the attention of redfish. Anglers should also pause their retrieves from time to time to allow the bait to settle to the bottom of the water. 

Another benefit of a popping cork rig is the relatively long casting distance, and anglers can use them as search bait to cover a lot of ground.

In a creek with a current, the rig can also drift along the current to the regions where fish are feeding. But always keep in mind to regularly pop the cork to make some noise at the water’s surface and give your bait some movement.

In case the live bait initiates action to trigger strikes, the anglers can still reap the benefits of covering more water by slowly reeling in their fishing rigs.

Swimbait rig

Swimbait rig


A swimbait rig is similar to a jig head rig but is made specifically to be used with soft plastic swimbaits and has the benefit of weedless rigging for redfish.

How to set up:

To set up a swimbait rig, anglers need to tie a weighted worm hook on their main line first (or to a shock leader). 

Then, thread a soft plastic swimbait onto the hook so that the tip of the hook is pushed into the swimbait’s belly and the head of the swimbait is fixed on the bend at the top of the hook shank.

With this weedless setup, which conceals the hook point within the swimbait, anglers can safely fish for redfish on spartina grass flats.

When to use:

A Swimbait rig is an impressive choice when casting for redfish close to shore, or from a boat, around piers and docks, as well as in creeks. 

How to use:

Simply cast the swimbait rig out, and then bring it back up to the bottom in brief jerks.

Dropper loop rig – The best for pier fishing

dropper loop rig for redfish

A dropper loop rig is a great option when fishing for redfish in strong tides or currents.

The components of a dropper loop rig include:

  • Spider weight
  • Barrel swivel
  • Leader: 30 to 50 lb test monofilament or fluorocarbon
  • Hook: 4/0 to 10/ circle hook

How to set up:

First, tie the leader line to the spider weight with a single uni knot. Measure out about 3 feet of the leader line and fasten one end of it to the barrel swivel. Next, make a dropper loop that is roughly in the middle of the leader.

Finally, put the loop through the eye of the hook, loop it around the hook, and tighten it down. Your setup is ready to be used.

When to use:

The dropper loop rig works well for fishing in strong currents as the weight is at the end of the line and acts as a firm anchor point for the rig.

Additionally, if a spider weight is attached to this rig, the metal arms will dig into the bottom as it is being pulled along by a strong current, adding even more stability.

How to use:

Cast the hook out to a potential fishing spot after baiting it with natural or cut bait. Once it is done, set the rod in a rod holder and wait for bites. The circle hook is usually set in the corner of the mouth when a redfish eats the bait, making it perfect for catch-and-release fishing.

Cannonball rig – The best for surfishing

Cannonball rig for Redfish

The cannonball rig is similar to the fish finder rig, but the sinker slider on the cannonball rig rides on the leader rather than the main line.

This type of rigging works especially well for times when longer casting is required. As the bait rests on the bottom, this rig is great for catching red drums, redfish, and puppy drums.

How to set up:

The cannonball rig uses the same components as the fish finder rig. 

Initially, tie the hook to the leader. Measure out 1 to 3 feet of the leader line, then thread the plastic bead onto the other end of it. After that, place a slider sinker connected to a pyramid weight on the leader.

Lastly, connect the leader and the main line by using a barrel swivel. The setup is now finished.

When to use:

The cannonball rig is considered to be better than the fish finder rig in terms of maximizing casting distance. This is perfect for surf fishing in situations when fishermen need to cast far out into the surf.

How to use:

In general, cut baits or natural baits are used to bait the hook in this case. Then cast the rig out, secure the rod in a sand spike, and wait for the redfish to bite are the only remaining steps.

Jig rig – The most basic rigging


The jig rig is one of the most basic riggings for redfish. Moreover, it is versatile and can be used with a huge range of bait and fishing methods.

How to set up:

The simplest option is to attach a jig head directly to the main line. A monofilament or fluorocarbon shock leader can also be used, as it is very helpful in clear water.

The second method is to rig a jig head underneath a bobber (such as a popping cork or slip bobber), which combines the benefits of two rigs into a single setup and enables fishermen to fish over cover without getting snagged.

When to use:

When fishing from a boat or from any location where redfish are located near the shore, such as piers, jetties, or streams, the jig rig can be employed. However, be careful when using them since the jig heads frequently get snagged in the cover.

How to use:

Anglers can use a wide range of baits, such as soft plastic baits, cut bait, and live bait, to bait the jig head. Cast it out, let it sink to the bottom, and then retrieve it by hopping the jig head in quick jerks along the bottom.

Texas rig


Texas rig is an excellent setup for inshore gamefish like redfish and speckled trout as it is extremely adaptable and useful in a wide range of circumstances.

The components of a typical Texas rig are:

  • Micro swivel 
  • 4 feet monofilament leader
  • Bullet-shaped sinker (or egg-shaped sinker, split shot weight)
  • Fishing bead
  • Offset hook: 2/0 to 8/0 size circle hook
  • Soft plastic lure

How to set up:

Tie the main line to the micro-swivel with a uni knot. The swivel will prevent line twists when retrieving. Next, tie the leader line to the other end of the swivel and slide the bullet-shaped sinker through the leader line.

Thread the fishing bead onto the leader, and the hook is then fastened to the end of it. Lastly, bait the hook with a soft plastic lure, and the Texas setup is now finished.

When to use:

Texas-rigged fishing can be done in a variety of places, but sites with steep drop-offs are the best options. The Texas rig is also perfect for areas with a lot of vegetation and recently cleared land.

How to use:

Almost any soft-plastic bait can be “Texas-rigged”, but many anglers prefer long, slender patterns like worms, grubs, and slugs.

Find a bank that has catch covering and cast broadly over any potential hiding places. Allow the rig to sink to the bottom, then rake or glide the worm back to the boat or bank.

How to rig shrimp for Redfish?

Shrimp Hooked

One of the best baits for redfish is shrimp, which may be used either alive or dead. Although there are other ways to rig a shrimp for redfish, this article will explain the two most popular methods.

The first method is to horn-hook the shrimp and drift fishing with a circle hook or jig head set below a float. However, as the shrimp will usually be torn during the cast, it is not recommended if you want to cast and retrieve the shrimp.

The second way is by tail-hooking the shrimp. For casting and retrieval, it is recommended since it keeps the shrimp on the hook far longer than horn-hooking does. Artificial shrimp may also be used for this.

How to rig crab for Redfish?


Crab is one of the favorite foods for redfish. Soaking a blue crab is an excellent way to catch picky bull reds that are prowling the flats. There are some tips to rig up crabs for redfish:

  • Remove the claws to make it easier for the fish to eat the crab.
  • Pinch the tips of the crab shell off to release scent into the water.
  • Hook these crabs through one of their fin or leg holes to reduce the odds of the hook coming out and causing you to lose your crab.
  • To make the crabs more streamlined, hook through the corner of their shell and cut off the legs.
  • Use a 4/0 or 5/0 circle hook for big redfish.
  • To acquire a proper hook set, make sure to keep the hook point exposed. You may not hook into the fish if the hook is buried in the crab.
  • For smaller fish, you can cut the crab into halves or quarters.

Another way to attract redfish is to take advantage of their excellent sense of smell by chumming with crushed crabs. This can entice more redfish schools.

How to rig minnows for Redfish?

Minnows are best for bobbers
Minnows are best for bobbers

Mud minnows are excellent redfish bait, particularly during the winter months when the fish are sluggish so anglers need to work their bait carefully.

Naturally, minnows swim on the bottom so using a device like a Carolina rig allows them to settle down and feel comfortable. Redfish will most likely be looking for prey very close to the bottom as well. This makes bait easy to stay in the redfish strike zone.

However, redfish can be caught with a floating rig and live mud minnows too. With rigs such as the bobber or a popping cork, minnows can’t reach the bottom and will make a lot of flash and actions trying to swim down, which will lure in more predator fish. 

Keep in mind that the minnow will make every effort to reach the bottom. The key to catching redfish with live mud minnows is to keep them a foot or less from the bottom so that the baits can be in the redfish strike zones.

To rig them up, put the hook into their lips. Find the slit under their chin, move the hook along the slit until it stops at the lips, then press the hook up, out, and up through the nose. 

Using lures for Redfish?

Lures can also be very efficient for capturing redfish. Surprisingly, many of the lures that capture largemouth bass also catch redfish.

Hard baits

There is a wide range of hard baits, including heavy spoons, plugs, jerkbaits, and crankbaits, which can be used to catch redfish quite successfully.

Anglers can use these lures to catch redfish in some potential fishing spots such as shallow sandbars, mud flats, shell bars, and grass flats. Additionally, they can be suitable for casting in coastal locations along creek banks and rock jetties.

Soft plastic baits

Soft plastic lures, such as paddle tail lures, flukes, and plastic minnows, are another excellent lure type for catching redfish. 

Fishermen can cast their lures to potential fishing places by rigging them with a jig head or a worm hook (as demonstrated for the swimbait rig above), or even utilize vertical jigging from a boat.

Redfish rely mainly on their sense of smell rather than their vision, therefore, scented lures are often the ticket to success. Anglers can soak any soft plastics, plugs, bucktail jigs, and other artificials in some liquid fish attractants. 

However, they must experiment with various brands and lures until they find the ideal set-up for the given circumstances because these liquids come in a variety of colors, flavors, and consistencies.

What is the best rig for Redfish?

The ideal rig to employ for catching redfish will vary depending on the fishing strategy of the angler, the location, and the size of the redfish. Nevertheless, the fish finder rig, the popping cork rig, and the Carolina rig are the three most popular redfish rigs in the fishing community.

Best Redfish rigs for surf fishing?

The fish finder rig, the fish finder rig with a short leader, and the cannonball rig are the three best redfish rigs for surf fishing.

In fact, all of these rigs were created for surf fishing. The most suitable one can be chosen based on the angler’s preference for casting distance, which means how far they need to throw the rig to reach the redfish feeding areas.

The cannonball rig has the longest casting distance, followed by the fish finder rig with a short leader.

Best Bull Redfish rigs?

Targeting huge redfish requires the use of heavy redfish tackle and heavy-strength rigs as these fish can grow to tremendous weights north of 50 pounds. Considering these criteria, the fish finder rig, dropper loop rig, and cannonball rig are the best rigs for bull reds.

In order to catch enormous bull redfish, fishermen need to use rigs that work effectively in deep waters and against powerful currents. A Carolina rig or a slip bobber rig can be an option, but keep in mind to use heavier lines and bigger hooks than what would be used for puppy redfish.

Best Redfish rigs for pier fishing?

Pier fishing takes place in deep water so anglers must utilize rigs that can effectively place baited hooks in the strike zone near the bottom. In case there is a strong current in the pier, the dropper loop rig is a fantastic alternative.

To prevent the rig from being dragged down the bottom, you can consider using either a pyramid sinker or a spider sinker with this setup.

Best Redfish rigs for live bait?

The Carolina rig, popping cork rig, slip bobber rig, and jig rig is the top redfish setups for live bait. These rigs are all excellent for fishing with live shrimp, finger mullet, croaker, or pinfish.

Final thoughts

At this point, you may have gained a quite large amount of data about redfish rigging. Based on your fishing preferences, narrow down on one or two fishing rigs won’t be a problem for you anymore.

Let’s now begin your adventure so that you can return to us when you have something new to share.

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