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January 25, 2021

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Team Guidesly

Bottom Fishing

Bottom Fishing


Bottom fishing is the simplest method of catching fish where the bait is dropped all the way down to the bottom of the water column to target the fish that inhabit the structure on and near the ground. Bottom fishing is a versatile technique, and it allows you target tons of species at varying depths and in varying locations.  You can bottom fish when offshore fishing, nearshore fishing, shore fishing and even freshwater fishing. 

As evident from the name itself, the target fish inhabit structure on the bottom, like reefs, wrecks and buoys.  This includes predators like Red Snapper, Grouper, Black Sea Bass, and Halibut, among others. However, the type of fish caught may vary depending upon seasonal changes and the water itself (either saltwater or freshwater).  Oftentimes, bottom fishing can yield a mixed catch, or a multi-species day of fishing!

What to Expect When Bottom Fishing

You can bottom fish while drifting, anchored, or keeping your position with a trolling motor.  Especially when you’re drifting, it is possible for your sinker to get caught in the structure on the bottom, whether that’s reef, a wreck, or rock.  For this reason, it can be helpful to gently lift your rig up a few feet every so often.  This movement can also catch the attention of a fish passing by!  You’ll know when you’ve got a fish because you’ll be able to feel the ‘tick’ of the fish nibbling your rig before you set the hook.  A few seconds after you feel the fish take your bite, lift your rod tip and start reeling!  It’s important to note that technique for setting the hook does vary from species to species though.

When talking about expectations, we must cover the basic equipment to carry along. All you really need to go bottom fishing besides your rod and reel is a sinker and a hook, or a bottom fishing rig. Combined with a good quality bait, you’ll be able to reel in the bottom fish you’re looking for. Depending on where you’re located and what fish species you’re targeting, a bucktail jig can do the trick too.  

Fun Facts: Sinkers come in many varieties; 
1) a round Egg Sinker that allows fish to run with the bait, provided that it doesn’t feel the weight, 
2) a bowling pin shaped Bank Sinker to be used in rocky places, 
3) Pyramid sinker which firmly gets hold of the bottom while bottom fishing in a surf.   


Bottom Fishing Tips

  1. The bait you’re thinking to use shall be proportionate to the size of the hook. Most fish at the bottom have small mouths, and can rip larger chunks of bait off of the hook without getting their jaws caught in it.
  2. While standing at a bridge and the like, don’t release your line too much for the hook to fall away from these structures. That’s because the fish you’re looking for through this method usually sticks to such structures.
  3. However, when you don’t have a fixed location to target, cast as far as possible, and then reel in while crawling your rig across the bottom to cover as much area as possible.
  4. You could also try drift fishing while on a boat- i.e. to drift along the currents for the bait to easily pass densely occupied fishing areas.
  5. If your budget allows, try getting fresh bait.