How to Rig a Surf Leader for Saltwater Fishing

How to Rig a Surf Leader for Saltwater Fishing
Surf fishing is an excellent way to introduce someone to saltwater fishing or to simply enjoy an afternoon at the beach. There are various rigs and methods of presenting a bait or lure to fish in the surf depending on the species for which you will be angling. Many saltwater species including whiting, pompano and spot actively feed closer in to shore hunting for food in the breakers. It is possible to fish for and catch many smaller species with some of the same tackle you use for freshwater fishing.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • 7-foot medium heavy rod with matched reel
  • 12-pound test monofilament line
  • 15-pound test fluorocarbon leader
  • 1/4 to 3/8 oz. sliding egg weight
  • Bead
  • Barrel swivel
  • Size 6 circle octopus hook
  • Scissors
Step 1
Slide a 1/4 to 3/8 oz. sliding egg weight onto the end of your main fishing line. Your main line should be at least 12-pound test monofilament. The size of the egg weight will depend on fishing conditions as well as personal preference. Slide a glass, plastic or metal bead on the line below the weight.
Step 2
Tie a barrel swivel onto the end of your main fishing line below the weight and bead with a Uni knot. Form the Uni by feeding several inches of the main line through the eye of the swivel. Bring the line up beside the main line creating a double line. Turn the free end down toward the swivel forming a loop beside the double line. Wrap the free end around the double line and through the loop three times. Moisten the knot, pull tight and trim excess line with scissors.
Step 3
Cut a 2-foot length of 15-pound test fluorocarbon from a filler spool. Attach one end of the fluorocarbon to the opposite end of the barrel swivel with a Uni knot. This will serve as a leader for your surf fishing rig.
Step 4
Tie a No. 6 circle octopus hook to the end of the fluorocarbon leader with a Palomar knot. Tie the Palomar by feeding 6 to 7 inches of line through the eye of the hook and then back through forming a loop on one side of the hook and a double line on the other. Tie an overhand knot with the loop and double line, pull the loop around the bend of the hook, moisten and pull down tight. Trim excess line with scissors.
Step 5
Attach a 1- to 2-inch piece of fresh cut shrimp, heavily scented artificial bait or small sand flea to the circle octopus hook. Cast the rig, that is essentially a Carolina rig, into the surf and allow the rig and bait to work in and around the breakers. Maintain a tight line and set the hook by raising the rod tip when a fish takes the bait and turns.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.