Rigs, rigging and baiting for Victoria
  |  First Published: February 2016

For many anglers, fishing is an escape from their day-to-day activities and where the family can get away together sitting by the bank of a river or along the sandy coastline of a beach in hope of catching a fish.

Victoria, like all the other states, is very diverse with the different species that can be caught. Each has its own unique technique and setup and with such a wide range of techniques applicable for each, many anglers often take the universal approach. While this is a safe bet, it can lead to many problems such as using the wrong hook size, leader strength or outfit all together.

Depending on your level of fishing experience, you may opt to tie your own rigs or purchase pre-tied rigs. In recent years, pre-tied rigs have evolved in leaps and bounds with leader and hook sizing more species specific rather than generic. Another advantage of using pre-tied rigs today compared with twenty years ago is the high level of quality control that can leave you with extreme confidence knowing that someone else’s hand-tied rig will stand up to quite brutal species. These are the perfect accessories for those anglers not confident in their own knot tying ability.

If you are confident in your ability, you will require a good collection of terminal tackle. When it comes to the more popular Victorian fish species there are four main rigs that can see you through.


The paternoster rig is one of today’s most widely-use rigs. Its versatility covers a wide range of applications from casting from the shore to drift fishing over a deep reef. There are quite a number of versions available of the paternoster rig, but ultimately they all are fished in the same manner.

Also known as the snapper rig, deep drop rig or double dropper rig, the paternoster rig can be tied with either one or two droppers.

Due to its versatility, a paternoster rig is often fished with the angler keeping the line tight to feel for a bite. This is where this rig is best to have either one or two circle hooks tied onto the droppers to eliminate missing the bite. With all paternoster rigs, the sinker should be placed at the bottom of the rig with the hooks suspended above it.

The paternoster rig can also be tied in another version called the extended paternoster. This is particularly effective on whiting and is rigged with the sinker placed before the hook with the hook (usually a long shank) tied to a long dropper.

Tackle required

For deep water dropping and reef drifting I use fluorocarbon in 20-30lb or nylon 20-80lb leader. For hooks I use Mustad Demon circle 5/0-8/0. Mustad Octopus 5/0-8/0 are another great option. When fishing the surf, fluorocarbon in 15lb or nylon 15-20lb leader. The Mustad Bait Holder in 1/0-/20 is a fantastic option in the surf.

Target species

Whiting, mullet, silver trevally, Australian salmon, snapper and other reef species are all popular gargets with the paternoster rig.

Best baits and cut type

Calamari strips, tuna strips, while bait, blue bait, pipi, mussel and half pilchards all work well on a paternoster rig.


Second to the paternoster rig, a running sinker accounts for a wide range of species, especially those shy to a hook. The running sinker rig allows the fish to take the presented bait without feeling any pressure from the rod or reels drag.

It’s very simple to tie, the running sinker rig uses either an ezy rig sinker clip where the sinker attaches, or if river fishing, the leader runs directly through the sinker via a small hole. This rig is particularly favourable when fishing in fast current locations or in rivers and lakes. It is the rig of choice for many who fish in Western Port or Southern Port Phillip Bay.

Tackle required

Fluorocarbon 8-30lb or Nylon 4-80lb. Hooks that work well for this rig include the Mustad Bloodworm #12-1/0 or the Mustad Octopus Circle 1/0-8/0.

Target species

Gummy shark, elephant fish, snapper, trout, carp, redfin, Murray cod and golden perch will all succumb to a good running sinker rig.

Best baits and cut type

Calamari strips, tuna strips, fish fillets, freshwater yabbies, worms, maggots (gents) are baits that work best on running sinker rig.


Float fishing is a lot of fun, especially for children. Sitting back and watching a float until it dips under the water is a pleasing surprise for all.

Float fishing elevates a bait above the weed, reef and bottom to avoid snags while drifting with the current. This particular rig is the perfect option when fishing for trout in lakes, garfish in the bay or when bait fishing for calamari.

Tackle required

Light leader for river, lake and when targeting garfish. Ideally 4-8lb nylon will suffice. Luderick and bream will require leader in the 8-12lb range, as will calamari. Hooks often used for float fishing are the Mustad Bait Holder #4-8, and Mustad 4540 1/2 #12 for garfish.

Target species

Trout, redfin, bream, luderick, garfish and calamari can all be fished for using float rigs, as they will feed in quite shallow water above nasty structure.

Best baits and cut type

Worms, mudeye, maggots (gents), prawns, dough, pipi, silverfish and silver whiting (for calamari) are great baits to have suspending under a float rig.


Live baiting is an extremely effective fishing method for predatory species. In Victoria, live baiting is mostly used in the summer months when targeting kingfish and snapper.

The live bait rig is very simple in design but very effective with emphasis put on the rigging of the live bait. The rig itself is a length of leader with a swivel at one end ties to the mainline and the hook at the other. This version is ideal for when a bait is being ballooned out along the waters surface or should a downrigger be used to take the bait down to a required depth.

Alternatively, a ball, pyramid or barrel sinker can be threaded onto the mainline to take the live bait down to the required depth while trolling. Keep in mind, when rigging live baits, it is best to bridle rig the bait through the nose to maximise life. Rigging through the back, can penetrate the lateral line or vital muscles having the bait die quickly.

Tackle required

Fluorocarbon 20-30lb or Nylon 60-100lb, depending what you’re targeting.

Target species

Kingfish and snapper are two species often fished for with live bait, as these species are aggressive, often taking large prey.

Best baits

Garfish, calamari, yellow tail scad, slimey mackerel, silver trevally, yellow eye mullet or salmon are regular snapper and kingfish baits.

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