Pulley Rig Guide

HOW TO: Pulley Rig

Don’t you hate it when your catch gets snagged and ripped from the line as you try and reel it in over structure? All of that hard work wasted! You can prevent that from happening if you learn how to make a pulley rig.

This unique setup increases the chances of anglers reeling in hooked fish without snagging their weight. The strategic design allows the rig to act as a pulley when a fish is being reeled in with the weight raising the hookup and away from snags. This is why this setup is known as the ultimate rock rig for big fish that are taken at a long-range. 

How to Build a Pennel Pulley Rig

how to make a pulley rig
A pulley rig is a great option when surf fishing.

To make an up and over pulley rig, you will need:

  • Two swivels
  • Two beads
  • One bait clip such as the Breakaway Impact Shield 
  • One lead weight 
  • Leader line that can withstand 60 to 80 lbs
  • 4/0 or 2/0 hook

Step-By-Step Guide

pulley rig

The video above will go into detail on the exact way to construct your pulley rig. If you want to save time, Breakaway makes a great pre-made pulley rig which you can check out down below.

Step 1

Use the main trace line to attach the lead link and the bait clip. Then thread a bead on along with a swivel or the swivel bead.

Step 2

Add the second bead and then tie a swivel to the free end.

Step 3

Attach the hook snood to the swivel that is at the end of the trace body and then tie a single hook on there. To make the rig body a Pennel pulley rig design, attach Pennel rigged hooks instead.


  • Use a hook with an offset eye on a Pennely pulley rig to make the sliding hook easier to adjust. 
  • This setup is suitable for extreme rough ground. 
  • Shrimp is a great bait for these fishing rigs, but it all depends on what you’re targeting.
  • Use a shock leader in the rig to prevent it from snapping and flying off as you cast. 
  • Use a breakaway impact shield to clip down the hook into the cast position. The impact shield will make the rig aerodynamic as well.

Pre-Made Pulley Rigs

If building your own pulley rig is an issue, then check out some of the options you can buy online.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do you use a Pennel rig?

A: Pulley rigs work best for large fish such as cod at a range that increases the chances of snags. When the fish bites, its weight pulls the lead weight up the line right up against where the swivel is connected to the mainline. In other words, when the angler reels in, the lead line don’t dangle in a position that can make it snag on ledges and rocks you are fishing over. 

Q: Can this setup suit all kinds of fish?

A: You may have to adjust the rig according to the location you are fishing from and the fish you are angling for. For example, if you are angling for bass, you should use smaller lead weights and a lighter fluoro snood line. If you are chasing larger fish, on the other hand, you will need to increase that weight to ensure you don’t lose your catch and tackle. 

Q: How to bait a pulley Pennel rig?

A: Take the bottom hook on your Pennel and pass that into your squid from the bottom and all the way through the body. Then pass the front of the hook through the top of the head and then take the top hook, bring it down to the top of the squid, wrap the line around it about four times and stick the hook end at the base of the squid. Pull the line to tighten it up.  

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing and spearfishing enthusiast. He's been fishing since he was 5 years old in the backcountry of Yosemite for trout and in the surf near his home in SoCal. Over the past 4 years, he's been spearfishing up and down the coast of California. He started Cast and Spear to help inspire others to get outside and chase their dream fish. Notable catches include spearing a 65-pound white sea bass, large grouper, and yellowtail down in Baja. When he's not in the water, he's usually fishing from his Gregor Baja aluminum boat or inflatable Takacat catamaran.
× How can we improve it?
× Thanks for your feedback!

We're always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better fisherman.

While you're here, why not follow us on Facebook and YouTube? Facebook YouTube
Articles » Skills » Fishing Rigs » Pulley Rig Guide

Come Join Our Tribe!

FREE access to our private group + helpful tips & advice

No thanks, I'm a lone wolf