Bait Basics – Estuary Running Sinker Rig
  |  First Published: July 2008

Over the next twelve months QFM will take readers through some of the bait fishing basics for estuaries, rivers and lakes. This month we are going to look at a basic running sinker estuary rig and discuss some of the places you can use this rig and what you’re likely to catch.


The Running Sinker Rig is the most used bait fishing rig in estuaries and for good reason. The way the rig is set up means a fish can attack a bait, run away with it without feeling much resistance and allow the angler time to organise themselves before hooking the fish.

The rig consists of three pieces of terminal tackle and is very simple to organise. All you’ll need to get is an appropriate hook, swivel and sinker for the target species and the areas being fished.

To make a running sinker rig, firstly cut off about 60cm of your main line and put it aside as you will need it later. Then grab your sinker and thread it onto the main line. Next, grab the swivel and tie the end on to the main line so the sinker is stopped. The sinker is now running up and down the main line to the swivel.

To the other end of the swivel attach the 60cm of line you cut off when we started. This makes your leader. And to the end of the leader tie on your hook. Add some bait and you’re ready to fish.

Where to Use It

The running sinker rig is ideal for fishing in estuaries. You can fish the sand flats, in the channels, along the drop-offs or near rocks and reefs – that’s how versatile the running sinker rig is in estuaries.

The idea with the running sinker rig, regardless of where you use it, is to use just enough sinker weight to hold bottom. As the tides rise and fall, good anglers will change their sinker weight to suit the run of the tide and the running sinker rig allows you to do this easily. Simply cut off the swivel from the main line, change the sinker and re-tie the swivel to the main line. You do not need to change your leader or the hook if your target species is the same.


The running sinker rig is easy to assemble and easy to use. It is one of the most popular rigs in fishing because you can use it anywhere from the fresh water rivers and lakes, right out into the deep blue. You only need to know one knot (I use a universal knot) for the three knots you tie with it, and it’s easy to change sinker weight or hook sizes. – FMG

What to target

WhitingSand FlatsLong shanked size 8-2size 10pea size ball3kgworms, pipi, yabbies
FlatheadDrop OffsLong shanked size 2-4/0size 6thumb size ball6kgpilchard, yabbies, whitebait
MulletFlatsBait holder size 8-2size 10pea size ball3kgworms, pipi, bread
BreamFlats/ChannelsBait holder size 2-1/0size 10pea size ball3kgworms, yabbies, bread

Rig Diagram

Step 1

Cut 60cm of line from the main line

Step 2

Slip the sinker onto the main line and tie on the swivel

Step 3 Attach the leader to the swivel and tie on the hook

Reads: 36079

Matched Content ... powered by Google

Latest Articles

Fishing Monthly Magazines On Instagram

Digital Editions

Read Digital Editions

Current Magazine - Editorial Content

Western Australia Fishing Monthly
Victoria Fishing Monthly
Queensland Fishing Monthly