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Sea Fishing Guideline

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A note on saltwater fishing using a plumb line

Plumb line fishing (or vertical fishing) is the most popular type of fishing used for catching cod, halibut, wolffish, and other inhabitants of the northern seas.

Saltwater plumb line fishing takes place at great depths, using powerful tackle and heavy rigs weighing over one kilogram. During plumb line fishing, the lure sinks to the bottom, where certain actions are performed with it, depending on the rig type. Meanwhile, the angler is in a drifting boat, thus the rig is kept in constant motion. The speed of the drift is the most important factor in saltwater plumb line fishing. The drift ensures proper lure action and allows you to fish a wide water area.

Tackle selection

Saltwater fish is much stronger than freshwater fish. A hooked mackerel, even a small one, behaves like a much larger pike. Therefore, special attention must be paid to the rig components. The fishing line, hooks and swivels must be strong enough, since during saltwater plumb line fishing a large fish may bite at any moment.

Make sure your reel is certified by the manufacturer for saltwater fishing. Salt that gets into unprotected mechanisms will accelerate the wear. It is also necessary to take into account that braids and mono fishing lines get worn out in salty water faster than usual.

The larger the bait, the larger the catch, that is the principle that applies in saltwater fishing. But you should not strive exclusively to catch the biggest fish. Trophy fishing requires a special approach and can be frustrating for those who are not ready to spend several game hours waiting for a rare bite from a fish attracted by a big bait. In addition, to catch big fish, you need the –most powerful tackle, which is expensive.

Beginners are advised to start with fjord fishing. Choose a light pilker fishing rod and try to get some first experience before going to the sea. There is enough fish within the fjord to learn the basic principles of pilker fishing. If you wish, you can try casting directly from the pier.

The pilker rig is the first and the most commonly used rig in fishing in a plumb line. It is recommended as a first step in saltwater plumb line fishing. For shallow water fishing, medium-sized pilkers weighing about 100-150 grams will suffice. Use a braided line on your reel, as it enables more sensitive bite detection and a better strike. Don't forget to attach a shock leader. When choosing rig components, don't worry too much about the visibility, as you would in freshwater fishing. Saltwater fish pay much less attention to the thickness of the fishing line. So, it is better to choose a thicker one.


Finding fish

The variety of fish species that can be caught in the sea makes saltwater fishing fun and challenging at the same time if you're trying to catch something specific. Large areas and considerable depths can make finding fish rather complicated. It is important to determine the target fish before heading out to sea.

There are areas on the seabed that almost always attract fish, and will let you catch something anyway. First of all, pay attention to banks and slopes. An underwater bank surely attracts fish as it is impossible to find a better place for feeding. As a rule, banks are shallow areas. You may not find deep-sea fish there, but there will be an abundance of other fish. Some banks are located far from the coast; therefore, you will need a high-speed boat to avoid getting exhausted on the way. Slopes also attract a wide variety of fish. They can be found almost anywhere, especially in a fjord, with its complex underwater and topography.



Be sure to obtain a fishfinder. This will facilitate the search for good fishing spots and help you find assemblages of fish. When fishing for pelagic fish, a fishfinder will indicate the depth where fish occurs.

Searching for fish, you should not limit yourself to banks and slopes. Look at your fishfinder and try any spots where assemblages of fish are displayed on the screen.


It is not necessary to stick to the deepest areas. A deep hole, of course, can give you the rarest deep-sea trophies, but at the same time fishing at great depths will require considerable effort and will be a challenge for your tackle. Quite a few fish species prefer to stay in shallow waters. Fishing there can be just as exciting.

Here are a few tips for finding particular fish species.

Cod is one of the most popular trophies in saltwater plumb line fishing. There are two types of cod: local (coastal) and skrei. Coastal cod can be found almost anywhere, but its size is moderate. Skrei are mature cod that migrate at a certain distance from the coast. Skrei cod is the most desired fishing trophy, since it reaches a truly big size. Try to find it on remote banks at a depth from 40 to 50 meters. As to coastal cod, you can catch it even from the shore, not entering the sea.

Halibut is one of the most valuable saltwater trophies. It is very strong, and it can be extremely difficult to drag it from the depths. Try to find halibut on underwater banks and plateaus, bordering on slopes, at depths from 60 to 70 meters. Use big lures or baits like dead fish.

Wolffish is one of the more unique trophies chased by saltwater anglers. Wolffish are a deep-sea species. It may be found in holes with a depth of 70 meters or more using special bottom rigs with rattles. Supply your rig with colorful and noisy elements and use luminous weights.

Catching red fish is one of the most exciting events in plumb line fishing. Red fish live at great depths, and the main difficulty lies in locating a red fish shoal. Try to find red fish in sloaping deep-sea areas. Use a paternoster or droppers and dropshots equipped with medium-sized lures with bright, attractive elements. If you are lucky enough to find a red fish shoal, then fishing will definitely not be boring.

Pilker fishing rig

This is the most popular rig in saltwater plumb line fishing. The principle of fishing with a pilker fishing rig is as follows: the pilker sinks to the bottom, then by sweeping the rod or by retrieving the reel it is lifted about 1 or 2 meters higher and is let to free-fall. The falling speed can be controlled by slowing down the reel manually.

Use attractive rig elements. Bright beads and firefly lures will appeal to deep-sea predators. A piece of fillet on the hook can also increase the rig efficiency.


Ordinary jigging rig with a bait or a fillet

The principle is the same as with a freshwater jigging rig. You do the classic lift and drop retrieve: by rotating the reel you make the bait rise from the bottom and fall back. When fishing from a drifting boat, it is enough to lift the bait from the bottom by raising the rod, without rotating the reel. This rig is ideal for casting at shallows in the fjord.


Giant jig

The giant jig is designed for trophy fishing. You must have patience, as catches on a giant jig will be rare, but significant. The rig is presented in two versions: with a silicone lure and with dead fish. The principle of fishing for both options is the same: the rig sinks to the bottom, then it is lifted 2 or 3 meters higher and is held, periodically twitching with rod jerks of varying strength. After some time, the rig is lifted 2 or 3 meters higher again and the previous actions are repeated. You may continue lifting the rig up to the pelagic and even the upper water layer.

Use this rig for fishing from a drifting boat. Motion is necessary for the proper lure action.


Classic marine bottom rig

The principle of fishing with this rig is nothing complicated: the rig is simply pulled along the bottom in anticipation of a bite. The main condition is drifting, which sets rig in constant motion.

An attractive lure can significantly increase the likelihood of a bite.

When fishing at depth, use colorful, appealing rig elements and weights coated with luminous paint.

Leader length depends on the drifting speed. The higher the speed, the longer the lead can be.


Bottom rig with a rattling weight

This rig differs slightly from the classic bottom rig. Still, the principle of fishing for both bottom rigs is the same. The rig with a rattling weight is intended primarily for catching wolffish that aggressively react to the sound produced by a special weight of tapping stones.

Since wolffish is caught at great depths, a weight coated with luminous paint will not be out of place.

Marine paternoster rig

There are no strict requirements for paternoster rig retrieval. You can move the rig along the bottom or in the water column. The main condition is that the rig must be in motion, either due to boat drift or being retrieved.

Thanks to the large number of hooks, the paternoster rig can be very efficient when fishing shoaling fish such as mackerel or red fish. When fishing at great depths, use luminous tubes as attracting elements.


Dead fish bottom rig

The principle of fishing is similar to that for the giant jig rig: the rig is lifted from the bottom 1 or 3 meters higher and held with slight rod shakes. Then it is lifted another 2 or 3 meters higher and the same steps are repeated. Lifting continues up to the pelagic water layers. Alternatively, you can simply pull the weight along the bottom.

Leader length depends on the drifting speed. If the boat drifts fast, you can use leaders up to 2 or 2.5 meters long.

Use 5/0-6/0 hooks for hooking small dead fish. For a big bait, the hook size can be increased to 12/0 or 16/0.

Choose the size of the dead fish according to the size of the predator you intend to catch. There is a rule at sea, saying the bigger the bait, the bigger the catch. When fishing with a big bait, be patient, as bites will be rare. But the rarity of bites will be compensated by the catch size.


Flying collar rig

You may use this rig both on the bottom or in the water column. The fishing principle is the same as for the paternoster rig: move the rig and wait for a bite.

Leader length depends on drifting speed, the higher the speed, the longer the leader.

Use saltwater fishing hooks with a long shank (Aberdeen). Such hooks enable the best silicone worm lure action and ensure a good hookset.



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