July 22, 2014

Learn How To Tie This Simple But Effective Speckled Trout Rig

This speckled trout rig is great for general purpose use. In this guide you'll learn what is needed to make one, how to tie it and how to properly fish it.


Go to any tackle store and you'll see the endless selection of tackle to create every speckled trout rig imaginable. 

There's so much to choose from! How can you possibly know what's best?

Making a good decision can be daunting, especially when you consider that most tackle for sale ends up "catching more fishermen than fish".

Fortunately you're here and – if you keep reading – I'll reveal to you the exact tackle I've used as a fishing guide to put clients on limits of specks and reds.

limit of specks caught with speckled trout rig

Fill the cooler up with specks when you fish the Inshore Rig.

What is the best speckled trout rig for the money?

I want to share with you an all-purpose rig great for targeting speckled trout and redfish: The Inshore Rig.

Fishermen love it because it does the job of two rods, enabling you to fish shallow and deep.

Plus, it is easy to mass produce to store in plastic bags for future use.

This guide goes in-depth, so be sure to bookmark this page for future reference! Also, you can use this menu to quickly navigate across this guide:

What You Need To Tie The Inshore Rig

Start off with the following items:

  • clip-on cork
  • three feet of 20-30lb test monofilament
  • 1/4 oz egg sinker 
  • size 5 barrel swivel
  • 1/0 kahle hook
Speckled Trout Rig Components

Where To Buy

Take this list to a local tackle store and they will be able to get you squared away.

However, these items are available on Amazon:

How to Build The Inshore Rig

In case it's not obvious, let's detail the step by step process to tie all the above items together to create this versatile rig.

Step One

Thread the main line coming off the spool of your spinning reel and thread it through the egg sinker.

If the end is frayed it won't thread well, so cut it or lick it to get it to fit.

Once you do, set it aside and make sure the egg sinker doesn't roll away.

thread main line through egg sinker

Step Two

Now tie the hook to one end of the leader and the barrel swivel to the other end.

I use an improved clinch knot for both and doing so has worked for years.

saltwater carolina rig
Quick Note About Knot Tying For This Speckled Trout Rig

People love debating knots, especially their strength, often critiquing the preference of others.

That's great if it suits them.

But, I tie knots to catch fish and – while others are nitpicking knot tying – I'm focusing on finding biting trout and casting this speckled trout rig to them.

You should, too.

Step Three

Clip the cork above the egg sinker on the main line and you are ready to go fishing!

building a speckled trout rig

See how easy this speckled trout rig is? It's not rocket science.

You are using simple fishing tackle components to create a simple rig that's basically a saltwater carolina rig with a removable popping cork.

How To Attach Clip-On Corks

Clip-on corks (also called "floats" in some areas) can be a little tricky if you've never used one before, so here's how to easily attach them:

First, Identify Both Clips

There are two clips, one on the top and another on the bottom of the cork.

clip on egg cork

They contain non-pointy wire hooks that recess into the plastic stem of the clip-on cork. Your main line attaches to both.

Expose The Bottom Clip

Pushing down on the top of the stem extends the bottom clip from the body of the cork stem.

speckled trout rig clip on egg cork
Wrap The Main Line Around The Bottom Clip

Just a few times will work, there's no need to get crazy with it.

This way it won't slide up and down the main line, causing chafes and tangles.

how to use a clip on cork for saltwater fishing
Secure Main Line To Top Clip

Bring the main line up and do the same on the top clip. This speckled trout rig is ready for action!

attach clip on cork to saltwater carolina rig

How To Fish The Inshore Rig

As mentioned earlier, this speckled trout rig is fantastic for fishing both deep and shallow water without having to retie or grab another rod.

Leave the cork on when fishing shallow water – two to eight feet over oyster reefs is a great example – or take it off when fishing deeper water, a good example being six to twelve feet (and deeper) in deep holes.

speckled trout rig for fishing shallow and deep water

Of course, there are scenarios you will want to fish the surface of deep water, like when you happen upon diving birds.

In that case, just leave the cork on and cast away!

Speckled Trout Rig FAQ

Have questions? You can comment below, or view these commonly asked questions:

Can I use a different hook?

While some inshore anglers favor treble hooks, a 1/0 kahle hook is actually best because it won't tangle as much and, most important, unhooking fish is quick and easy.

When speckled trout are biting, they are biting, and the fastest way to keep catching them is to do exactly that: keep catching them!

So, the more time you spend fussing with a treble hook is more time you don't have your line in the water, ultimately equating to less time you're getting bit.

A school of speckled trout will move on if they don't see anything to feed on, so keep feeding them!

Why aren't you using a stem cork for your speckled trout rig?

The Inshore Rig would cease being an Inshore Rig if you were to use a stem cork, because it is not removable and – once they are tied on – there is no taking it off to fish the bottom.

wire stem popping cork for speckled trout fishing

This flimsy wire stem was easily bent by what amounted to be a 3lb speckled trout. That's not a big fish, and this speckled trout rig was rendered virtually useless because of its inability to hold up to abuse.

An egg cork is good because it can clip on or off. Sometimes I like to use a weighted egg cork to make it easier to cast into heavy wind.

egg cork with weight for speckled trout rig

Weighted egg corks like this one help me cast farther. Be warned, too much weight may not work with the lure rating of your rod.

Can I use braid for a leader line?

You can, very much in the same way you can use a hammer to drive a screw into a piece of wood: it will work, but using a screwdriver is a better choice.

You want to use monofilament fishing line because it is cheap and, most important, doesn't tangle as easily as braided line.

Remember that braided line doesn't stretch, making it a poor shock leader for any speckled trour rig.

But monofilament does and for that reason you really want to use monofilament for your leader line.

However, braid makes for an excellent main line and I recommend using PowerPro for that purpose.

Is The Inshore Rig For Everyone?

Look, I'm going to be honest with you: this is a great speckled trout rig, but I have caught way more fish on other kinds of fishing tackle.

Like how many more fish? Try 152 speckled trout in one day. Yeah, that's a lot.

This isn't because the Inshore Rig is bad fishing tackle, but because it can't perform as well as other kinds of tackle that require a higher degree of skill to use, like casting a jig.

So, if you are new to inshore fishing and have no idea what a baitcaster is, then the Inshore Rig is a great way to get started.

But, if you know how to throw artificial lures on casting tackle (perhaps you come from a bass fishing background) then you may want to consider reading this guide to jigging speckled trout.

There's More To Catching Speckled Trout Than Selecting Good Tackle

Tying on any kind of speckled trout rig is not enough to succeed on your fishing trips. There's a lot more to consider, like what to do when you get to your first fishing spot.

Here are some examples:

  • proper boat positioning
  • which egg sinker is the best weight
  • where to cast
  • and more

I cover these techniques in detail in my free fishing course, The Elements of Effective Fishing. 

...or sign up for my newsletter if you'd like to be notified when more articles like this one publish.

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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  • I miss your videos, they were informative, entertaining and funny!

  • Did I miss where y’all talked about bait choice on this rig? I got the khale hook part but are y’all using live shrimp, pin fish, ect? Could this be used with an artificial lure?

  • Hey Jules, thanks for commenting.

    I don’t like snap swivels. I think they’re clunky and unnecessary and don’t save as much time as most would think.

    In my opinion, any angler is better off being proficient at knot tying and that there are other ways to be more efficient in order to cover more water and catch more fish.

    For example, on my last trip I fished over 30 different fishing spots. Snap swivels had nothing to do with that.

    If swapping out leaders without retying is that important to you then I’d suggest using a loop knot that can be attached/removed by threading it through the eye of whatever you’re tying to and running it through itself.

    Hope that helps.

  • Devin, your thoughts about using a snap/swivel from the main line to either a leader or cork would be appreciated. I like to prepare a number of leaders with of course a hook and then swivel or snap swivel on the other end. If I break off or need to change, it is fast and easy to just snap it on. However, I have other fishing folks that say it should be directly tied on and most do not show or recommend using a swivel. Your thoughts. Thanks.

  • Great suggestions. I only get to marsh fish 4-5 times a year now and suggestions such as these help save time.

  • excellent presentation…
    been here before..
    you know how to present what we all are looking for..
    like the way you lay it out on the table.
    Even our Great Grand Son can understand..

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