Chunk Bait Bottom Rig Setup

For presenting cut bait effectively to predatory fish in the surf, follow these steps to create a reliable setup:

  1. Attach a 3-Way Swivel: Begin by securing a 3-way swivel to the main line using a clinch knot. This swivel will serve as the central connection point for your rig.

  2. Add a Monofilament Line: To the bottom-facing swivel ring of the 3-way swivel, tie a stretch of monofilament measuring between 1 to 3 feet in length.

  3. Attach Pyramid Sinker: Tie the pyramid sinker to the end of the monofilament line. This weight will help anchor your bait near the bottom.

  4. Connect Leader Line and Hook: Use the remaining swivel ring to tie your leader line and hook. This setup keeps the bait suspended above the bottom, mimicking the movement of a swimming prey fish and reducing the likelihood of it being scavenged by bottom-dwelling creatures.

Pro Tip: When fishing near rocky shorelines, opt for a lower pound test monofilament for the leader line compared to the main line and leader. This precaution ensures that in case of a snag in a rock crevice, only the weight is lost, minimizing the need for retying the entire rig.

Alternative Floating Setup:

For deterring crabs and keeping your bait elevated, consider this floating setup:

  1. Use a Circle Hook: Tie a circle hook onto your line using a clinch knot. Circle hooks are effective in hooking fish while minimizing injury.

  2. Attach a Bobber: About 3 feet above the hook, attach a bobber to the line. The bobber helps keep the bait suspended and visible in the water.

  3. Add a Small Weight: Place a small weight on the line between the bobber and the hook, approximately a foot above the hook. This weight helps control the depth at which your bait floats.

  4. Bait Preparation: Bait the hook with a live fish, hooking it through the lip or the back just below the dorsal fin. This presentation entices predatory fish while deterring crabs from stealing your bait.

Chunk Bait Bottom Rig

New Hampshire Saltwater Rigging Basics

Mackerel Rig Setup

Atlantic mackerel, a common catch in New Hampshire waters, are versatile and enjoyable targets for anglers, whether from shore or boat. Here's how to set up a rig for targeting mackerel:

1. Choose the Right Rig:

  • Opt for a "sabiki" rig, commonly used for catching mackerel. These rigs typically feature a 1 oz. diamond jig or spoon with multiple 1/0 size hooks attached above it.
  • You can find pre-made sabiki rigs in coastal bait shops, or create your own using dropper loops on a leader.

2. Rig Assembly:

  • Attach the diamond jig or spoon to the bottom of the rig.
  • Above the jig, tie multiple 1/0 size hooks spaced along the leader. These hooks can have colorful tubes or flies attached to attract mackerel.

3. Fishing Technique from Shore:

  • Cast the rig out into the water, allowing it to settle.
  • Once settled, lift the rig with a quick jerk motion, then reel in.
  • Repeat the lifting and reeling motion to mimic a school of smaller fish being chased by a predator.

4. Fishing Technique from Bridge or Boat:

  • Drop the rig into the water and allow it to descend to a depth of 15-20 feet.
  • Once at the desired depth, jig the rig by lifting it with a quick jerk motion.
  • Allow the rig to settle before lifting again.
  • If you're not getting any bites, adjust the depth of the rig until you find success.

New Hampshire Saltwater Rigging Basics

Dropper Loop Knot (use to attach a second hook)

New Hampshire Saltwater Rigging Basics

Use Circle Hooks for Conservation and Efficiency

When angling for striped bass, sharks, or bluefish with bait, it's crucial to use non-offset corrodible circle hooks, as mandated by regulations. Circle hooks offer several advantages, both for conservation efforts and angling success:

1. Conservation Priority:

  • Circle hooks are instrumental in conservation efforts aimed at protecting fisheries. Many anglers now practice catch-and-release fishing to preserve fish populations for future generations.
  • Using circle hooks can significantly reduce fish mortality rates compared to standard J-hooks, especially when releasing fish after capture.

2. Enhanced Fish Survival:

  • The design of circle hooks, with their inward-turned point, minimizes the risk of deep hooking and internal injuries.
  • When a fish takes the bait, circle hooks often hook the fish in the lip or jaw rather than deeper inside the mouth or throat, reducing the likelihood of fatal injuries.

3. Improved Angling Efficiency:

  • Experienced anglers find that baited circle hooks result in efficient hook-ups with minimal effort.
  • Unlike J-hooks, circle hooks do not require a traditional "setting" motion. Instead, anglers can simply allow the fish to take the bait and then begin reeling in to secure the hook.

4. Increased Catch Rates:

  • Once anglers become accustomed to using circle hooks correctly, they often report higher catch rates compared to traditional J-hooks.
  • The inherent design of circle hooks lends itself to secure hook-ups while minimizing the risk of losing fish during the fight.

New Hampshire Saltwater Rigging Basics

Let’s Go Fishing! Explore the World of Angling with N.H. Fish and Game

Are you eager to delve into the exciting world of fishing, whether you're a novice angler or looking to refine your skills? Join the Let’s Go Fishing classes hosted by N.H. Fish and Game’s dedicated Aquatic Resources Education team! These engaging and informative courses offer a fantastic opportunity to:

1. Learn from Experienced Instructors:

  • Led by trained volunteer instructors with extensive experience, Let’s Go Fishing classes provide valuable insights and hands-on guidance to participants of all skill levels.
  • Whether you're a beginner or seeking to enhance your fishing prowess, our instructors are committed to helping you develop essential fishing skills and ecological knowledge.

2. Discover the Joys of Fishing:

  • Immerse yourself in the wonders of the outdoors and learn the basics of ecological concepts, fishing techniques, and strategies for year-round angling in various aquatic environments.
  • Our courses cater to both adults and children, fostering a shared passion for fishing and outdoor recreation among families and friends.

3. Enjoy Free, Interactive Sessions:

  • Participation in Let’s Go Fishing classes is entirely free of charge, making them accessible to everyone interested in exploring the art of angling.
  • Experience hands-on instruction, interactive demonstrations, and engaging discussions designed to instill confidence and enthusiasm for fishing.

4. Put Your Skills to the Test:

  • Put your newfound knowledge into practice with exciting field trips that allow you to apply your fishing skills in real-world settings.
  • Whether casting lines in ponds, lakes, streams, or the ocean, Let’s Go Fishing offers unforgettable experiences that connect you with nature and the thrill of angling.

5. Dive Deeper with Specialty Clinics:

  • Explore specialized topics through our diverse range of specialty clinics and workshops, including fly fishing, saltwater fishing, fly tying, ice fishing, and more.
  • Delve into advanced techniques and gain valuable insights from experts in the field, elevating your fishing adventures to new heights.

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