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Mid Atlantic Surf Rig


About the Rig Creator

Cove Classic

Cove Classics are the time tested standards for the fish, technique, style and season of choice. We've laid out the details and stocked the components. You can spend less time figuring out which swivel works right with a particular rig - and more time fishing. 

About the Rig

Mid Atlantic Surf Rig - Stripers

The illustration to the right represents a time tested set up for chasing the large Stripers during the Spring and Fall from the surf of the Mid Atlantic. The hook can either be baited with fresh cut bait, fresh whole bait or live bait.

Similar to live lining in the Bay, live Spot are a great choice if you can find them. Whole or cut bunker or mullet will also work well.

The set up utilizes a fish finder (sliding sinker) rig which allows the bait to move freely for a more natural motion. Additionally, the Striper is able to grab the bait without feeling immediate tension.

We used a ball bearing coast lock swivel and a barrel swivel. This set up allows the option of pre-rigging multiple bait rigs (barrel swivel, leader line, hook), so that you can exchange bait rigs with ease while fishing. The bait rigs can be set up with a range of hook sizes and leader lengths.


The Stripers are often not too far from the beach. A 9’ to 11’ pole will usually provide plenty of casting distance.

Two recommendations….

The Penn Surf Stick – PSS 1530S10

The Ugly Stick Custom Graphite – USCSSP 1110-2M

Both are 10 foot, 2 piece rods with recommended lure weights of 1-5 ounces.


The Shimano Bait Runner BTR4500B is the perfect reel for this application. These reels include the secondary drag system which allows baits to move freely with the bail closed.

The Shimano Spheros SP6000FB or the Penn Spinfisher 650SSm are alternatives as dependable, versatile salt water reels.


Braid versus mono is really a matter of personal preference. Braid will provide greater sensitivity and the thinner diameter allows for spooling greater lengths of line. Mono will provide better shock absorption throughout the length of the line and is generally easier to work with. Sufix has a product on the market that we like for this application, a copolymer they call Tritanium. It handles and feels like a mono, but has less stretch than traditional mono and casts extremely well.

We recommend either of the following….

Sufix Tritanium Copolymer – 20 Pound Test

Power Pro Spectra – 50 Pound Test

Terminal Tackle

As we mentioned above, we like to use a ball bearing coast lock snap swivel at the end of the main line. Ball bearing swivels are a bit more expensive but they will allow better uninhibited motion of the bait. Above the coast lock swivel, we slide on the fish finder (sliding sinker) and a small bead to prevent the fish finder from binding up with swivel.

The bait rigs include the barrel swivel, the leader line and the circle hook. A 60 pound test mono leader will work fine here. Length of leader can vary anywhere from 6 inches to 24 inches. Shorter leader allows for easier casting but limits the natural range and motion of bait. A 12” to 18” leader should work well in most situations. We recommend a hook size range from 5/0 to 7/0 and swivel sizes of 150 pounds +.

Hook and Bait

The circle hooks can be tied to the leader with a palomar knot or snelled. Check out "Animated Knots by Grog" within theLinks and Fishing Resources page for a slick, animated how-to on knots including snelled hooks and the palomar knot.

Whenever you are using circle hooks, it is important to remember to allow the fish time to grab the bait and begin moving before you attempt to set the hook. As the fish is swimming to the side or away from the angler, the circle hook will catch the side of the fishes mouth as the tension increases on the baitfish. Any attempt to set the hook too quickly could just slide the bait and hook out of the fish's mouth.