How to Rig a Bait Fish to Float

How to Rig a Bait Fish to FloatBig saltwater fish spend most of their time in the upper water column searching for prey. Shark, sailfish, cobia, tarpon, tuna, dorado--you name it. With these proven methods for fishing offshore and inshore, you will be ready for any situation that comes up.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Balloons
  • Cork floats
  • 4-inch chunks of Styrofoam
  • Terminal gear
Step 1
Fish a cork bobber in this manner. Run the main fishing line through the hole in a big baseball-size cork float. Tie on the terminal tackle--such as the leader, hook and light sinker or split shot--to keep the line vertical from the float or bobber.
Step 2
Pull out the correct distance from the hook to the float and insert the wooden or plastic plug to be snug against the line. The correct distance is determined by where you think the fish are feeding in the water column.
Step 3
Go after the big boys with this method. Rig up a fishing rod with your hook and leader. Put an adequate split shot just above the hook about 1 foot.
Step 4
Play out the line until the depth you want to fish is achieved. Blow up a kid's balloon (the round style), and tie it on the line at the point where you want the so-called bobber.
Step 5
Throw the balloon overboard. Let line play out and the bobber drift with the wind, tide or current. When the balloon is as far away from the boat as you desire, lock down the drag on the reel and put it in the rod holder, or just hold it if you want.
Step 6
Find yourself in a pinch with fish breaking on top and no bobbers or balloons on the boat? Rig up the line as above, putting your terminal tackle on (hook, line and sinker). Go to the desired distance or depth to fish and wrap the line around a piece of Styrofoam several times. When the fish takes the bait and you set the hook, the line will cut through the foam, and the foam will fall off.

Tips & Warnings

Blow the balloons up accordingly to the weight of the bait and size of the quarry. The balloon will stay on the line and can be pulled off when the fish is near the boat or pier.
The cork and balloon methods are more easily adjusted for depth while you are fishing than the Styrofoam type.
Use the Styrofoam method in a pinch when you either didn't plan on top-fishing or when the situation arose unexpectedly. After the fish is boated, retrieve the broken pieces of Styrofoam from the ocean surface.

Article Written By Dennis Seabright

Denny Seabright has been writing for since Nov. of 2008 with most articles being in the "How to" category. Graduating from James Wood High school in 1976 and going straight into the work force left little room for formal education but writing has always been dear to his heart.

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