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How to make sea fishing rigs & traces

Updated April 26, 2019

Sea fishing rigs and traces allow anglers to fish with multiple hooks. The traces are small floats that maintain a spread between the hooks and keep the hooks above the bottom. The rigs can be used in a variety of different ways and they are very effective for stationary fishing on the bottom. The rigs can be purchased as assembled leader systems with clips or anglers can build their own. Building the traces allow maximum control over the depth and the number of hooks used.

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Making rigs and traces for sea fishing

  1. Tie a swivel to the end of the line using a Trilene knot. To do this, pass the tag end of the line through the eye of the hook two times. Do not pull the wraps tight. Wrap the tag end around the main stem of the line three to five times. Pass the tag end through the loop at the eye of the hook. Pull the knot tight.

  2. Use the Trilene knot to connect one foot (30 cm) of 27.2kg. (60 lb) monofilament line to the opposite end of the swivel. Slide a crimp and a trace bead on the line. Use the Trilene knot to attach a swivel to the end of the line.

  3. Use a Trilene knot to attach a two-foot (60 cms) section of monofilament to the bottom end of the swivel. Slide a trace bead and a crimp on the monofilament fishing line. Push the bead to the bottom of the swivel. Use the crimp to secure the bead and use pliers to secure the crimp to the line. Also secure the bead and crimp on the top of the swivel. Repeat the process until you have three swivels with a bead on the top and bottom of each.

  4. Attach two feet (60 cms) of 27.2kg. (60 lbs) monofilament line to the bottom the final swivel. Attach the end of the line to a lead sinker. The sinker will hit the bottom, and the trace beads will float the swivels.

  5. Use a Trilene knot to attach a one foot (30 cms) section of 13.6kg. (30 lb) monofilament line to each swivel. Attach the end of each line to a 2/0 hook. The hooks will move freely at different depths without snagging on each other.

  6. Tip

    Use the rig to fish at different depths before reaching the bottom. Work it down in small increments to intercept shallow-feeding fish.


    Do not attempt to cast the rig. Simply drop it straight down into the water. Casting will cause the sinker and the three hooks to tangle.

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Things You'll Need

  • 27.2kg. (60 lb) monofilament fishing line
  • Swivels
  • Trace beads
  • Crimps
  • Pliers
  • Lead sinker
  • 13.6kg. (30 lb) monofilament fishing line
  • 2/0 hook

About the Author

Zach Lazzari

Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can follow his work at bustedoarlock.com.

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