Fish Finder Rig: How to Tie & When to Use

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The Fish Finder Rig is a popular surf fishing rig used to find where the fish are congregating. It’s similar to the Carolina Rig, but rather than a sliding egg sinker, it typically is used with a pyramid weight to keep the rig in one area.

In this guide, we’ll cover what the video above illustrates including when and when not to use it.

How do you tie a Fish Finder Rig for Surf Fishing?

To make your life easier for tying a fish finder rig, you’ll need the following tackle.

Fish Finder Rig Tackle

Steps for Tying a Fish Finder Rig

Fish Finder Rig
  1. Start by cutting a piece of leader line, generally, around 18 inches will work.
  2. Tie one end to your hook using a Palomar Knot.
  3. On the other end of your leader line, tie on your swivel using a Palomar Knot.
  4. With your mainline, fish the line through your pyramid sinker and your bead.
  5. Tie your main line to the other side of your swivel using a Palomar Knot. The Palomar makes it a bit tricky since you need to pull your entire leader line with the hook through to finish the knot but just take your time.


When it comes to weights, most anglers opt for lead, but there are other options better for the environment. Instead of buying storebought weights, experiment with using steel which will corrode in the saltwater environment if you lose it.


The plastic bead helps protect your line from your weight in the water. If you choose not to use one, you’re risking an unnecessary breakoff of your line.


Depending on the fish you are targeting will determine which leader line you use. If you’re going to be fishing around rocks then you should likely opt for monofilament which is a bit more abrasion resistant than fluorocarbon.


Your hook size should be based on your bait. If you’re going after perch for example and plan to use sand crabs, your hook will be around a #6. However, if you’re going after bigger fish and want to use a chunk of cut bait, then you should think about going up to a #2 or more. We like to use circle hooks since they are self-setting.

What is a Fish Finder Rig?

The Fish Finder Rig is a popular surf fishing rig used to catch a wide variety of fish like redfish and stripers.

It involves a sliding sinker that allows the bait to move freely while the bait anchors itself to the bottom.

How to Cast a Fish Finder Rig

Casting a fish finder rig can be challenging depending on the weight used and the length of the leader. If you’re using braid and a weight over two ounces, then we highly recommend that you use a Breakaway Cannon so you don’t cut or slice off your finger if you’re using a spinning reel.

A longer leader will also add more wind resistance limiting your casting distance. There are some innovative rigging clips you can use that keep everything streamlined until they hit the water, making your cast easier.

Fish Finder Rig With Float Option

Sometimes it’s helpful to keep your bait off the bottom and away from unwanted critters like skates, rays, or crabs. Having a small float with beads on either side near the hook will allow that bait to hang up off the ground and hopefully away from bycatch.

Fish Finder Rig Offshore?

Out here in California using the fish finder rig offshore isn’t as popular as other rigs such as the double dropper loop, single dropper loop, or knocker rigs. Using a pyramid or sinker that digs in would likely cause a good number of unwanted structural hookups.

Less knots between your hook and your line is ideal, so keeping your rig simple offshore is advised.

Fish Finder Rig for Redfish

When targeting redfish, you’re going to need to beef up your rig. We recommend using a braid mainline with your sliding sinker tied to a 100-300 pound barrel swivel.

Use 1-3 feet of 20-50lb monofilament or fluorocarbon of your choice. Tie that leader off to a 4/0 to 12/0 circle hook depending on the size of red you’re targeting. Use a snell knot or whichever knot you feel comfortable tying.

Fish Finder Rig for Stripers

The fish finder rig for stripers doesn’t deviate much from the version for redfish. We recommend sticking with a six to 30 inch 30-60 pound fluorocarbon for your leader, keeping the rest the same as above.

Fish Finder Rig vs Carolina Rig

The fish finder rig differs from the Carolina Rig in that it generally uses a weight that will secure itself against the bottom whereas the egg sinker for the Carolina will move easier.

They both have the disadvantage of using multiple knots between the hook and the mainline which can lead to breakage.

The fish finder rig also has a disadvantage of allowing the weight to cause a stress point if they get hung up on structure or are big enough to violently toss the weight around.

What Is the Best Rig for Surf Fishing?

The best rig for surf fishing depends on what you’re targeting, the tackle you have available, and your comfort rigging it up.

If you’re limited on tackle and don’t have access to swivels, sliders, and beads, then you can opt for a rig like the Spider Hitch Rig. If you wanted more than one hook you can cut the main loop and double up your hooks.

This will allow one knot between your hook and your mainline which can be safer if you’re not proficient in tying knots.

How Do You Fish a Spec Rig?

Another less common rig to check out would be the spec rig. This is a good option if you want to fish two artificial lures at the same time. You can fish it from shore, but there’s likely a high probability of hooking up on structure. Using it like you would a double dropper from a boat would be more idea.

The Anglers Behind This Article:

Jon Stenstrom

Johanes Godoy

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Articles » Skills » Fishing Rigs » Fish Finder Rig: How to Tie & When to Use


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