Bottom fishing is very popular with most saltwater anglers. It’s a combination of challenge and excellent eating in many cases that makes dropping baits down to the bottom in search of grouper or snapper. There is no end to the variation in bait choices and presentations, but there are a few methods I will recommend that can be applied to many fisheries.
As I mentioned, we use a wide variety of bottom fishing rigs depending on the target species, depth, current, and types of bait available. One recurring problem that I see with anglers newer to bottom fishing is how they hook their bait. If you hook it wrong, the bait becomes a helicopter that has your leader spun up by the time you hit the bottom and they stand there wondering why they can’t get a bite when others are hooked up.
Here is a list of quick tips to help eliminate leader tangles and get your bait to the bottom faster.
Often, we like to use cut bait from fish that we have, either our live baits that have died or sometimes when a really sturdy bait is required to endure the small fish attacks that are stripping softer baits off immediately. We like to use what we call a “plug” bait. It is the center-cut sirloin of any small baitfish and it can endure the nibble-attack long enough for a big fish to swoop in and steal the prize from the little fish.
I’m going to show you how to cut it and then just as important, how to hook it on for a streamlined drop. I’m using mullet in my photos, but often we are using more oval-shaped fish like grunts, pinfish, croakers, and blue runners. These less streamlined baits really require proper trimming to ensure the “plug” is not a “spinner”.