1. Trying to figure out if less is better in terms of terminal tackle, etc. and how to rig pre-built leaders with hooks, 2 and 3-way swivels, etc. What terminal tackle and rig would you recommend for flexibility without sacraficing turning off the fish with too much equipment to attach leader/weights/hooks? This would be for: (A.) surf fishing in Indian Rocks Beach/Gulf side (trout, black drum, whiting, ladyfish…whatever bites) and (B.) fishing Tampa Bay from a dock in Ruskin/Apollo Beach area (snapper, snook, small blacktips). 2. Also, I have found myself taking up valuable fishing time w/ my 3 kids b/c I don’t have pre-built leaders, rigs, etc. What would you recommend I do the night before…specifics on what equipment to buy and how to rig (I’m looking for recommendations on: line and leader strength, weights, hook size, and what knots to use as well to bring it all together). This is a detail question. It is the there are too many options/rigs out there…which one should I use / narrow down. 3. I have seen hooks with pre-built leaders with loop at the end. How are you supposed to attach these to main fishing line? –Are these designed for swivel snap combo, where you simply open the snap/fastener, loop on the hook/leaders combo, and close it back up? It seems this setup is designed for flexibility to quickly change hook size, leader, etc. Am I on the right track here? Or do you/can you tie the loop directly to your main line? (I guess if you were only using split shot vs egg weight). And would you recommend always using a swivel to prevent twists in line, or are there any times you tie leader directly to main line? 4. Can you metion how to use swivels with snaps…can/do you ever attach the hook directly to the swivel snap combo, or do you tie leader on the snap or do you have to first tie a loop onto the leader/hook and then put the loop on the snap swivel? Just wasn’t quite sure how to set this up. Novice question I know. Thanks in advance…I am determined to make this a lifestyle but just beginning, something I can do with my kids, as they love it in the little fishing we have done…seen many successes thus far and a couple really slow days off the dock, some slow off surf. Erik

I have limited experience fishing the surf of Florida but I have a great deal of experience fishing the docks of Florida and other shore locations in Florida from Tampa down the coast on the Gulf and all along the Atlantic side all the way to Key West, Florida. In my view you need to keep it simple. I use the following setup. When fishing from any fish except Sharks, Bluefish or Barracuda I use the following. A reel spooled with at least two to three hundred yards of braided line. I use braided line because it simply does not stretch nearly as much as monofilament line does. You need control over fish in these situations and this line gives me that control. Braided line of course is very easy to see in the water so I use a rig. I use a two way swivel and tie the main line to one end of the swivel. To the other end I tie a three foot length of fluorocarbon leader material of appropriate test strength for the size of bait I am using and size of fish I am attempting to catch. I have these sections pre made with various sized hooks and only need to tie them to the swivel quickly. I have fished with my son all throughout his youth and can retie him in a matter of seconds keeping it this simple. For sharks and other toothy fish you of course need to use a stronger leader. I use braided wire. Once you commit to using leader stealth is not an option so use something that does the intended job.

Daniel Eggertsen
Dan Eggertsen is a fellow saltwater fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on saltwater fishing since 2004.

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