How to Fly Line Live Bait

Fishing with live baits makes the lively offering irresistible to your target fish. Learning how to fly line live bait calls for the simplest and most versatile fishing rig that every angler loves and knows.

No matter how much you love using artificial plastics in fishing, there are times when they just don’t make the cut, and you have to turn to a live bait fish.

Flying lining live bait is a technique that is somehow a mix of fly fishing and baits fishing. It differs from fly fishing in that the live baits swim and pull the line instead of the river or stream. 

A variety of fish species caught by anglers through live lining prove that this rig presentation works in more ways than you thought.

Fly lining Tackle

  • Leader – Fluoro preferred
  • Hook
  • Live baits depend on the fish you’re after

How to Tie Fly Line Rig

  1. Prepare your rig tackle. You can use your preferred hook when doing this rig. It works well with a treble hook, circle hooks, and J hook. 
  2. Attach your leader line to the eye of your fishing hook using the Palomar knot, surgeon’s knot, or any knot that you prefer.
  3. The key to a correct Palomar knot is to ensure that everything is flat before tightening it and cutting the tag end. 

How to Fly Line Live Bait

Fly lining live bait is relatively easy to use in fishing. It especially works when targeting regular or hybrid striped bass, yellowtail fish, snapper bluefish, blackfin tuna, and other variety of fish species.

Without the use of egg sinkers, this rig has many uses in terms of shallow water column fishing.  One thing to remember is to be extra careful and patient, especially anglers who fish with party boaters.

It is best to check your drag before you cast your bait line. When live lining, you should always feel the pull of the bait. If you don’t feel one, regain the slack line by thumbing your spool or reel line backward.

Locations for Hooking Bait

  1. Nose
  2. Butt
  3. Behind the Gill Plate
  4. Tail

Also, if your line is not straight out from you and the boat, it means you’re out of position. And being out of position gives you fewer chances to hook your fish. When a fish bites your bait and line, keep it straight and without angles.

It helps to follow your fish and be mindful of the line of other anglers. Using short rhythmic pumps and reel turns to allow your large target to keep coming to you.

When it nears the top, keep the pump style slow and short until it comes to the gaff. For smaller species, you can hoist them up and over the rail as they near the top. 


  • Very easy to do
  • Versatile in shallow water and with any lure or bait
  • Simple to use 


  • The line can tangle when fishing on a party boat
  • One of the rig techniques that take a little practice 

Fly Line Live Bait Tips

When fishing with a lot of guys on a boat, you should listen to the boat captain and what the deckhands tell you. An early cast of your line with live bait can cause entanglement with the line of another fisherman.

It also makes sense to check the wind direction because you don’t want your live bait and line to go under the boat. Staying in a spot where the wind hits your face lets it blow the boat away from your live bait.

Fly Lining Rig Alternative

If you’re looking for a way to get your bait a bit further down, try a knocker rig. It’s the same as fly lining but you add a sliding sinker with or without a bead.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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Articles » Saltwater Fishing » How to Fly Line Live Bait