Not all anglers have access to a boat so they rely on fishing from the shore. Even though fishing from a boat has its obvious benefits, shore fishing can also be very productive. Most anglers fish from the shore by using a simple float (bobber) and baited hook method. One method when bait fishing that is very under-utilized is the bottom line set up.
The bottom line set up is the means of presenting the bait suspended off the bottom rather than below a float. This positions the bait deeper in the water column and near the bottom which is where most of the larger fish reside in the warmer months.
To setup this presentation you will need the following items:
- 3 Way Swivel
- 1/2 & 3/4 ounce Casting Weights
- Size 6 & 8 Bait Hooks
- Fishing Corkies
- Extra Fishing Line
Tie the main line to the top of the 3 way swivel. Then tie a separate piece of fishing line to the casting sinker, and then tie this line onto the bottom part of 3 way swivel. The line between the weight and the swivel can vary but 12 inches works well. The leader (section between the 3 way swivel and hook) is tied onto the middle eye of the swivel. Before you tie on the hook you can slide on a small fishing corky onto the leader line. This will help float your bait up off the bottom and give it more movement while positioned in the water. If you don’t have corkies, bait marshmallows or power bait balls work well.
When fishing this rig start with a long leader between 4 to 5 feet then shorten it until you find where the fish are feeding. Some day’s fish will be cruising at 5 feet off the bottom and other days they will be feeding at 1 foot.
Bait the hook with which ever type of bait you prefer, worms, krill, power bait, etc. Cast the rig out into the water along the shoal lines or drop off ledges. Once the weight makes contact with the bottom tighten your line just until there is a slight bend in the rod tip. As soon as you sense a bite set the hook. The idea is to hook the fish in the snout and not allow it to swallow the hook. Adding a corky at the end of the leader can also help prevent the fish from swallowing the hook.
There are numerous variations of this bottom line setup such as the Carolina rig, slip weight, or even drop shot methods. I find this method to be the best as the line between the swivel and weight helps reduce snags, it’s also easier to adjust to locate the fish and the bait gets the most action under the water.
This method of fishing is ideal for family fisheries when harvesting the fish for table fare; this is not a good practice for catch and release. It’s a great way to fish with the kids as you can simply place the rod in a rod holder and wait for the bite! Good luck!