Master the High Low Rig for Surf Fishing

Looking for how to make and use the High Low Rig most effectively?

Well, you’ve landed on the right page…

The High Low Rig is a versatile and popular multi-hook fishing rig among anglers, especially when targeting saltwater species.

Known for its effectiveness and ease of use, it’s not hard to see why it has become a favorite.

In this article, we’ll guide you on:

  • How to make your own High Low Rig
  • The appropriate tackle to use
  • Best fishing techniques
  • Which species to target
  • And the pros and cons of using this rig

Let’s get into it!

The high Low rig for surf fishing

Check out more of the best surf rigs here.

The High Low Rig for Surf Fishing – How to Make It

To make a High Low Rig, first grab two circle hooks, some leader line, three-way swivels (or T-knots), and a large sinker, and let’s get started.

Step 1: Begin by cutting a 2-feet long leader line. Now, form a small loop at one end of the leader line. Then wrap the loop around the leader line to create another loop, and do some overhand knots inside of the loop you just formed. 5 times is enough. Pull and tighten

tying the high Low rig for surf fishing

Step 2: With a loop formed now, hold the loop in your left hand. Take the tag end and place over the mainline so that they run parallel to each other and you have another loop formed.

Knots for using the High Low rig

Step 3: Then twist the lines over each other 5 times, and take the loop you created in step 1 through the two lines. Pull together slowly to form the T-knot.

Step 4: Repeat these steps to create the second loop about 6 inches away from the first loop. If you’re using three-way swivels, just tie separate pieces of mainline onto the top and bottom of the swivel to simulate a T-knot.

Step 5: Tie two circle hooks to each of the snells coming off the T-knot or 3-way swivel with a click or Palomar knot.

Step 6: Finally, create a loop at the bottom end of the mainline using an overhand knot to create a loop for the sinker. This loop allows you to switch up the sinker if needed easily.

Now, your High Low Rig is ready for action!

Remember, you can adjust the length and spacing of the hooks depending on the target depth and current of the water you’re fishing in.

The High Low Rig for Surf Fishing– Essential Tackle Required

When it comes to setting up a high-low rig, having the right tackle is crucial. Let’s go over the essential tackle you’ll need for a successful experience with the high-low rig.

  • Hooks: Depending on the target species, you’ll need to choose the appropriate hook sizes and types. For fish like fluke, black sea bass, or scup, a size 1/0 to 4/0 hook should work well. Circle or J hooks are popular choices, offering a better chance of successful hookups.
  • Leader Material: The leader material plays a critical role in ensuring your rig is both strong and invisible to fish. Monofilament and fluorocarbon are the most commonly used materials. Fluorocarbon is a popular choice due to its lower visibility in the water and enhanced abrasion resistance. A 20-30 lb test strength is generally suitable for most applications.
  • Sinker Weight: Selecting the right weight and shape for the sinker is essential. Bank sinkers are popular for their ability to stay put on various bottom conditions. Pyramid sinkers are another option for use on sandy or muddy bottoms. The weight should be determined by factors such as current, depth, and target fish. Start with a 2-4 oz sinker and adjust as needed.
  • Swivels: Barrel swivels help reduce line twists and improve the overall performance of the rig. You could use a size 4 or 6 barrel swivel for connecting the main line and leader line on your high-low rig.
  • Dropper Loops or 3-Way Swivels: Incorporate dropper loops to attach your two hooks at different levels on the leader line, thus creating the hi-lo rig setup. This will help present your bait at various depths, increasing your chances of hooking fish. You can replace the dropper loop knots with 3-way swivels too.
  • Bait: Lastly, choose the right bait for your target fish. Live or cut bait, such as squid, minnows, or strips of fish, can be quite effective.

With these essential tackle components in hand, you’re all set to conquer the high low rig technique and enjoy a fruitful fishing adventure. Don’t forget to adjust and experiment with your gear to find the perfect balance for your individual needs. Happy fishing!

Effective Strategies using the High-Low Rig when Surf Fishing

When it comes to saltwater fishing, using a high low rig can yield excellent results, especially when targeting species like sheepshead, snapper, or striped bass. Let’s dive into some effective techniques for using this rig to maximize your catch.

Choosing the Right Bait: One of the crucial aspects of high low rig fishing is selecting appropriate bait. Experiment with different baits to see which ones attract your target species best. Live or cut bait like shrimp, squid, or small fish can be highly effective for surf fishing or casting from a pier.

Casting and Setting the Hook: Once you have your bait on the hooks, make sure to cast with enough force to minimize tangles while keeping some resistance on the line.

When you feel a bite, set the hook by smoothly lifting the rod tip. Remember to follow the fishing conditions and adjust your techniques accordingly.

Placement in the Water Column: The high low rig allows you to present baits at different depths in the water column, increasing your chances of attracting fish.

Adjust the distance between the hooks and sinker to target specific depths, depending on fish behavior and preferences.

T-Knots and the Palomar Knot: To avoid tangles and ensure a strong connection, using a T-knot for attaching the hooks to the mainline is highly recommended.

Also, tie your hooks on with a Palomar knot for increased strength and durability.

Avoiding Snags and Tangles: When fishing around structures like rocks, piers, or reefs, you might encounter snags. To minimize this issue, use a pyramid sinker that is less likely to get lodged in the structure.

Use a rod holder to keep your rod tip elevated and reduce the chances of line tangles.

By following these tips and adapting your techniques based on your target species and fishing scenarios, your high low rig can become an invaluable tool for saltwater fishing.

High Low Rig Target Species

The high low rig is a versatile and effective fishing technique that can help you catch a wide variety of saltwater species. Some popular target species include:

  • Fluke
  • Black sea bass
  • Scup/Porgy
  • Stripers
  • Tautog
  • Sheepshead
  • Snapper
  • Grouper
  • Pompano
  • Trout
  • Redfish
  • Black drum.

Here are some tips on using the High Low Rig to target different species:


When using the high low rig for fluke, remember that they’re more active during warmer months and prefer sandy, muddy bottoms. Live or cut bait like mullet or mackerel, along with plastic worms, can be quite effective for this species.

Black Sea Bass

Black sea bass, meanwhile, are hooked best when you focus on rocky areas and shipwrecks. Try using squid, clam, or crab for bait, as they’re known to be effective.

Scup / porgy

For scup, concentrate your efforts close to structure and along rocky shorelines. Scup are aggressive eaters, making worms and small pieces of clam perfect for bait.


Stripers, or striped bass, generally favor shallower waters at dawn and dusk. Bunker, eels, or soft plastics work well as bait for this predatory species.


When targeting tautog, you’ll want to concentrate on steep, rocky drop-offs. Green crabs and fiddler crabs make great bait for this bottom-dweller.


If you’re after sheepshead, look for them around structures such as piers and bridges. They favor crab, shrimp, or sand fleas as their preferred diet.


Finally, snapper are commonly found near reefs, wrecks, and ledges. Try using cut bait like sardines, shrimp, or squid to draw them in.

Alternative Rigs to test out if fish aren’t biting on the High-Low Rig

While the high low rig is popular among anglers for its versatility, you might also consider the fish-finder rig or the drop shot rig for some species, depending on local conditions and fish behavior.

However, the high low rig remains a reliable and adaptable option for targeting several saltwater species at once.

Check out our guide on the top surf rigs here.

High Low Rig – Pros and Cons

The High Low Rig is a popular and versatile setup used by anglers to boost their chances of catching fish. But, like everything else, it comes with its set of pros and cons.

Let’s dive right in!


  • One of the top benefits of using a High Low Rig is that it increases the chances of catching fish. With two hooks, you can fish at multiple depths, targeting more fish.
  • A High Low Rig allows you to test different baits simultaneously, helping you identify which bait works best for the target species.
  • Have you ever had a hook broken off? With a High Low Rig, you’ll have a backup! If one hook gets damaged or broken off, the other one is still in the water, keeping you in the game.
  • Dealing with strong currents or deep waters? No worries. The High Low Rig is designed to work well in challenging conditions and is versatile enough to use across various species and locations.


  • While the High Low Rig offers numerous benefits, it does have some drawbacks. It takes time and skill to tie correctly, so if you’re in a hurry or lack experience, it can be tricky to set up efficiently.
  • When a fish bites, the rig can cause more resistance, making it harder for you to feel the subtle tugs on your line. That means you’ll need to be quick and attentive as this rig requires a fast reaction to set the hook properly.
  • Finally, the High Low Rig can be prone to tangling and snagging. The multiple hooks and lines can easily intertwine, causing frustrations, especially if you’re in an area with lots of structure or bottom debris.

Best Fishing Gear for the High Low Rig

When you’re setting up your high low rig, selecting the right gear can make a big difference in your fishing experience. Let’s go over some key components you’ll need to optimize your high low rig setup.

Fishing Rod

For a high low rig, a medium-heavy action rod between 7 to 9 feet in length would work well. This allows you to handle larger fish while still being sensitive enough for detecting strikes.

Fishing Reel

Pair this with a reliable spinning reel in the 4000 to 6000 size range to match the power and capacity suitable for this type of rig.

High Low Rig Summary