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Jetty Fishing Rigs and Tips

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When jetty fishing off the Oregon coast, there's the potential to catch a variety of species. Here are three options for how you can prepare your rig.

When jetty fishing off the Oregon coast, there's the potential to catch a variety of species. Here are three options for how you can prepare your rig.

Jetty Fishing in Oregon

Fishing from the rock jetties is a surefire way to have a good time and catch some fish without having to launch a boat. These jetties and rock outcroppings extend into the ocean and are home to countless species, including rock bass, kelp greenling, lingcod, and cabezon.

Jetty fishing can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. The most important thing to remember is to be safe and to fish the incoming tide to just after the high tide for the highest probability of catching a decent fish or two. Fish can be caught at all times of the day during all tides, but the most consistent catches will come about an hour and a half before the high slack tide and an hour and a half after the top of the tide.

Many anglers use bait such as shrimp, clams, mussels, cut bait like sardines or herring, and other creepy crawlers like sand worms that can be found during the low tides.

Jetty fishing lures. This is a 1.5 oz jig with a 4" Gulp Grub.

Jetty fishing lures. This is a 1.5 oz jig with a 4" Gulp Grub.

Standard Jetty Fishing Rigs

The following are a few of the most popular methods for jetty fishing; depending on how you like to fish will help determine the setup that you should choose.

These three methods are how most bait fishermen will rig up and go fishing in the saltwater from shore. They can be very effective and allow an angler to use their preferred bait of choice.

Depending on the current in the areas you are fishing in, you may need a lead sinker that ways anywhere from one to six ounces; if the current is really strong, you may need a heavier weight. Two to three ounces of lead in whatever style you prefer is generally the best place to start, and I go with a pyramid sinker when I have a choice just cause I like them in the areas I fish, but other styles may hang up less depending on the bottom of the jetty you are on is made up of.

Slip Sinker / Carolina Rig

Thread the sinker on your main line and use a swivel with a line protector when using heavy weights to avoid wear on the line. Add a swivel and a few feet of line.

I like to add a corky about a foot away from the hook to give the bait a little buoyancy to float up off the bottom. A three foot leader is a good place to start, and 1/0 hook will work for most baits.


Rig this up simply with a hook or two up the mainline and a sinker on the bottom. I like to use this rig and cast it out and then slowly work it back to the boat. This allows the rig to bounce around the rocks and present your cut bait to a larger area versus the slip sinker plunking style.

Bobber Rig

Use a large salmon bobber that will work with an ounce or two of lead, and set the distance to be around 15 feet to start. I then just slowly add a little more depth on each consecutive cast until I know my bait is dancing in the water below the bobber, near the bottom but not dragging in the rocks.

This is a great technique when fishing for larger inshore saltwater fish and when using live bait like a sardine. Using whole sardines can give the fish the meal they are looking for, and the bobber is, in my opinion, the best method for presenting a large bait option just above the bottom.

Regardless of which style you choose to use, I highly recommend tying your weight from the swivel with a line that is rated at half of your main fishing line so that if it gets hung, you can easily break it off and get back to fishing quickly.

I pre-rig my weights with a short leader and loop knot so when I break one off, I can quickly put the loop through the swivel eye, wrap the sinker back into the loop whole and pull tight and get back to casting.

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Using Lures for Jetty Fishing

There are many different lures that can be thrown around the rocks, but at the end of the day, the best choice for the lure fisherman is a jig lead head with anywhere from half ounce to a three ounce weight. Rig your favorite soft plastic lure to the jig and toss it out. I usually use a single tail grub or a small swimbait with a paddle tail.

The plastics should be between three and seven inches depending on the fish you are targeting. I prefer white or black, however, chartreuse and red also are big performers. The Berkeley Gulp lures that are designed for saltwater are made extra tough for salty fishing and have the scents embedded that makes fish bite more frequently, and they will hold onto the lure longer, giving the opportunity to set the hook.

With lure color choice, I don't think it makes as much of a difference as the other factors, such as fishing at the right tide and the rate of fall that elicits the strike from a fish.

Toss the jig out, and once it hits the bottom, slowly lift the rod and drop it to make an up and down motion with the jig. You'll make it rise up into the water column and fall back to the bottom, all while slowly reeling in. Just keep repeating and hold on because sooner or later, you will put your bait in front of a fish, and they will chew it.

Bring lots of jigs as a jetty can be a place that just eats tackle, especially as you are learning how to retrieve a heavy lure through this area. Lure fishing can be much more productive at times than bait fishing and allows you to spend more time fishing versus retying broken-off rigs; tying a new jig only takes a few seconds.

Make sure to move down the rocks if you are not getting any bites after about 20 minutes or so; try to cover as much water as you can with your lures. If you feel you are in the right spot but not getting any hits, change up the style of plastic lure or try a smaller or bigger offering. Just keep mixing it up to find what they are willing to strike.

Be safe and have a great time fishing your local coastal waterways from shore for big fish and good eats!

A jetty off the coast of Bandon, Oregon.

A jetty off the coast of Bandon, Oregon.

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CZCZCZ (author) from Oregon on April 10, 2012:

Thanks for the comment and the vote

William Benner from Savannah GA. on April 09, 2012:

Great article on a type of fishing I have not done for way to long! Voted up and I will link it to some of my own!

CZCZCZ (author) from Oregon on April 08, 2012:

It sure is fun, huh, lots of great fishing can happen from the jetties.

geokhris from Stanislaus County on April 07, 2012:

Love jetty fishing!

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