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Saltwater Rigs for Surf, Inlet, and Pier? HELP

6357 Views 23 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  philjam
I'm a bass and trout fisherman. I have spent precious little time in the salt. I've decided I'm going to try to teach myself some new skills this year. Going to Ocean Isle later this month and I need some rigging help. I understand reading current and target species plays heavily into what you do. If I wanted to be minimalist as I learn and then expand, what few clutch rigs and baits would you keep in your tackle bag to fish the inlet from shore, some surf fishing, and a bit off the pier?

I've been pouring through old threads and writing things down, but I feel like I could blow a whole paycheck on tackle right now. I want to keep it simple and see what happens. I'm most interested in the most common terminal tackle sizes for c rigs/ setups and weights for surf and pier rigs. Looks like with artificials I'm covered with DOA shrimp and saltwater flukes on a jig head? Jig head weight?

Thanks for the help and PMs always welcome if you prefer.
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C-rig with 3\0 circle hook for drum(might need a pyramid weight in surf or inlet). C-rig with 2/0 kahle hook is my preference for flounder. Can't go wrong with a topwater, or a gold spoon( for inshore fishing).
Thanks drumfisher. What size egg weights are most common during a moving tide?
Size depends on the area you fish. Best to get a variety of sizes from 1/4 ounce to 3 ounce so you are covered for every situation.

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Thanks drumfisher. What size egg weights are most common during a moving tide?
What he said & I will add, also depends on wind direction, current & where it's the top, middle or end of the tide.
What your fishing rod will handle.
Have 1, 2 & 3 oz. egg sinkers, with you.

Key to surf fishing is be mobile, walk, search & pay attention to what's happening
OR get yourself a buddy nicknamed " Bird Dog "

Hope this helps. ....... ICM

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Look for the bait there you'll find the fish!
I recommend a bottom rig and just bait fish. I have had success with a bottom rig with 4 oz pyramid weight and no. 2 hook at Emerald Isle during some aggressive tides! Even one night I had a skate on a panfish hook and it decided until it was halfway up the pier to break and fall back to the surf
I really have not done a whole lot of good fishing from the surf, most of the fish I've caught surf fishing have been on Gotcha plugs or straw rigs with a 1 1/2oz Diamond Jig on the end. But have done very well on Oak Island piers and Lockwood Folly Inlet.

I'm like you my fishing was for Musky, Smallmouth Bass and Trout and I found out that most of the fishing I do you really don't need heavy tackle for or big hooks. Just about the same size you would use for bass or catfish in fresh water using a 3" or 4" creek chub minnow. And for Speckled Trout using live shrimp a little smaller. My bottom rigs I use on the piers I make myself usually out of 20lb or 30lb test monofilament line. I put a 1 to 3oz pyramid sinker on the bottom depending on the wind and surf, come up about 30" and make a big double slip knot for my 1st drop hook then come up about 24" and make a big double slip knot for my 2nd drop hook when you get done your rig is going to be about 5' or 6' long. That rig is good for Blues or Trout the Blues will hit cut bait, minnows or shrimp for trout live shrimp is what really catches them and sometimes minnows and for flounder just a Carolina Rig with a egg sinker and a mullet minnow or pinfish bounced off the bottom.

But what I like to do is catch the Blues and Spanish Mackerel on Gotcha Plugs on the piers and believe it or not saltwater rattletraps for the flounder in the inlets. I catch shrimp and minnows with a cast net, and a minnow trap using dry cat food.

Hope you have fun and catch some fish, one thing that will shock you is saltwater fish like blues and mackerel slam your plugs they don't peck around on them and you'll need some tie-able 7 strand or Tyger leader the blues and mackerel, they will cut your line off real fast and keep your fingers away too. Just watch what the locals are using and how they are fishing is the best way to learn, most are friendly and will help you. After I started fishing in the ocean I have really lost interest in fresh water fish except for Musky, trout and bass just don't compare to blues or mackerel.
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In my opinion everything depends on timing. I've never had much luck on the surf till around late September. That don't mean I haven't caught anything till then but the baitfish are running then and it brings a lot to the table. Blues will show up often and all you gotta do is throw some cut mullet on a bottom rig. And if ya know what to do they're as tasty as s flounder. Far as flounder in the surf for me, I've got about 200 to 10 fishing a fillet off of a mullet minnow over live. And 90% have been caught within 10 feet of the edge of surf. The Reds I've caught have been in troughs on outgoing tide just behind the first breakers not more than 20 ' in front of you. I don't really mess with anything else in the surf so that's about all I know. For the flounder,cut fillet off the minnow pitch it out in front of you,keep enough tension to feel your egg sinker and let the surf move it got ya. Can't go wrong!
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The big thing is to learn how to read the beach, looking for sand bars, sloughs and cuts. That is where you find the good fishing. If you don't know how to read the waves there are a couple of good videos on YouTube on how to find good spots.
Good luck!!!
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When you go to the pier, go early. I fish the suds close to the beach for trout, flounderand puppies, with a curly tail grub (or flukes) then around 9AM go out to the end for blues and spanish with a red/white gotcha. At some point I get tired of casting/catching and go bottom fishing with bait around the cleaning tables. Last time at Oceanana pier I caught pigfish and puffers bottom fishing. If you get there around dawn the suds are worth a try. The beauty of pier fishing - variety, structure, tide, comraderie and usually get some kind of fish. Watch others on the pier and ask the person at the check in counter.
Thanks Philjam. I'll probably come up there Sunday or Monday. Let the joliday craziness die down. Not that I don't like it cause I Love to celebrate. Just it gets aggravating trying to fish.
Love the surf. I'd start with Carolina rigs and your standard two drop rig.
Baits, squid, finger mullet, mullet fillets, Fish Bites, and sand fleas.
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tds777, where do you Musky fish?
I like using a "fishfinder" rig for the surf, it can work for pretty much any species as long as you adjust the hook.

basic setup that I use is hook ---- short piece of line ---- small barrel swivel --- Shock Leader ------ Plastic slider with clip and sinker attached that slides up and down the shock leader. I tie a shock leader to them main line using an albright knot or spider hitch to no-name.
Philjam, how are you rigging those grubs/ flukes?
Thanks for all the input! On rods--- is a 7' med heavy rated up to 3/4 ounce good enough for inlet jig head fishing and ICW c rigs? Or do I need to go up to a 7' 1 ounce capacity or larger?
I've been checking out this guy lately. Experienced surf fisherman.good info and videos.
You'll be fine with your 3/4 ounce rod.

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