Five Tips for Bottom Fishing

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Bottom fishing can result in all kinds of catches.

No, bottom fishing isn’t the most “sporting” way to fish. It’s not the most artful, nor the most challenging. In fact, many anglers turn up their noses at the idea of dropping baits on top-and-bottom rigs. But all of that said, it’s also an incredibly productive way to fish, it’s relatively simple to master, and the quick results it usually provides are ideal for fishing with kids and their short attention spans. You’re ready to break out the rods and reels, grab some bait, and partake in some bottom fishing action? These five tips will help make sure your next outing is a success.


Bottom fishing can result in all kinds of catches.

  1. Choose fresh bait over frozen or otherwise packaged bait. And when you’re done fishing at the end of the day, rather than freezing the leftovers toss them over the side of the boat. Saving it for later will only cut down on the catch next time.
  2. If you haven’t ID’d a specific hotspot, probe the surrounding waters by making a long cast, then slowly reeling in three or four feet of line. Let the bait sit for a moment or two, then creep it along again. Continue until you get a bite, or it’s all the way back to the pier, beach, or boat. If you get a bite, on your next cast try to match the distance and direction. If not, try the same thing in a new direction.
  3. When fishing from a bridge or pier, try dropping your rig down right next to a piling. Often, fish will be hiding right next to the structure.
  4. When fishing from a bridge or pier, also try “bridge trolling.” Drop down to bottom, leave your bail open, and walk 10 or so feet down the pier. Then close the bail and keep your rod tip out over the water as you continue walking along, slowly enough that the weight drags along the bottom.
  5. Be careful not to over-bait your hook. Generally speaking cut baits shouldn’t be much bigger than the hook itself, especially if there are fish with small mouths around. Also make sure that the hook point is always exposed, as opposed to being buried in the bait.



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