When bottom bashing over heavy structure, the best fishing rig for coral trout in my opinion is a free running rig.
What fishing rig to use in different applications is super important and something few people get right.
Mostly because what happens under the water in different conditions has never been explained.
For example, when fishing from rocks walls or over deep water structure I use the paternoster or dropper rig.
A dropper rig with the sinker below the hook reduces snagging on rocks. It also allows you to stay tight to the bait in deep water with little current.
On the other hand, in shallow water with decent current, I use a running rig with the sinker above the leader.
But… if you use this rig in deeper water with no current, the bait can wrap around the main line.
The resulting tangle does not present your bait in the best light and you could lose fish.
The best fishing rig for coral trout hiding in deep cover.
While the paternoster rig is great for fishing around structure, it can get snagged if the bommie or structure is higher than the dropper.
In that case the hook will snag and be very hard to get off.
As you can see, coral trout can hang in tight at times and snagging up is inevitable.
By using a totally free running sinker, you can sometimes bounce the hook off.
This saves re-rigging. It also saves the reef environment getting covered in broken fishing line and hooks.
Fishing rigs for coral trout: Hook type.
The use of a Kahle pattern hook or circle pattern also reduces snags compared to the J hook pattern.
Just note when using circle/Kahle/wide gape hooks you’ll need to be a bit more patient. Only strike when you really feel the weight.
Letting the fish hook itself is important when using circle type hooks.
Because coral trout are so aggressive and often hang in so tight to structure, my fishing rig for coral trout typically uses 80 lb leader and 50 lb braid.
If the current is strong I’ll drop down to 30 lb braid as there so there is less drag on the line.
You always want to maintain contact with your bait with no belly in the line.
So when you get smashed you can turn their head up.
Not get dragged into the coral resulting in a lost fish.
Check out the video below as I demonstrate why a free running rig is the best fishing rig for coral trout. Plus some top fishing action with me and my mate Ruffy.
Finding coral trout and other big demersal predators on your sounder.
Learning to recognize big predators hugging in tight to coral is quite an art.
I cover how to set your sounder up for this kind of assessment and what to look for in our Sounder Skills 2 course.
If you are not familiar, Sounder Skills 2 is part of our Fish Smarter online courses and has been helping anglers set up their sounder and find more fish worldwide.
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