How to Set Up a Fishing Rod – Beginner Tips for Fishing in Australia

How to Guides

You don't have to be a pro to enjoy fishing but you do need to have the right equipment. When buying your first rod we recommend purchasing from a retailer that employs experienced anglers. They will be able to help you select the best rod for you and the type of fishing you will be doing. If you are a little more serious about fishing heading out on a charter boat is a great way to try out different rods. You can get a better understanding of which rod you need and how it should perform.

If you already have your new fishing rod, it's now time to set it up. But there are few things you need to consider before its ready to be christened.

If it seems confusing at first, remember: setting up a fishing line is a bit like riding a bike. Once you learn, you never forget how to do it and you get better with practice.

In this beginners’ fishing article we give you practical tips on how to set up your fishing rod for the first time.


Learn How to Tie a Fishing Knot

Learning how to tie a hook and sinker is one of your first lessons. You don’t want to cast then see your hook and sinker fly away unattached to the line!

There’s no need to learn a dozen or more knots, these three knots are suitable for tying almost any shape and size of hook or sinker. 

Pick one of these knots then practice doing the same knot a dozen times, so you memorise how to do it. You can follow the videos below for a step-by-step tutorial for each knot type. 


Clinch Knot

This simple-to-tie but strong holding knot is suitable for securing fishing line to a lure, swivel or clip. The Improved Clinch Knot is one of the most popular fishing knots amongst anglers. 


  1. Go through the eye of the hook
  2. Wrap 5-6 times around the line
  3. Put tag end through the loop just above the eye of the hook
  4. Hold the tag end and pull on the standing line
  5. Pull the knot tight

Uni Knot

This is a very versatile knot suitable for almost any fishing situation. It can be used for for attaching the line to the hook or lure, as well as attaching two fishing lines together.

  1. Make a loop
  2. Pass the tag end around the standing line and through the loop you created 4-5 times.
  3. Moisten the knot and pull the tag end to tighten


Blood Knot

This knot is ideal for joining two similar lines together, particularly for adding more line on the reel.

  1. Make an X with the two lines
  2. Pinch at the X
  3. Turn the tag end around the standing line 4-5 times
  4. Put the tag through the X
  5. Pinch 
  6. Turn tag end 4-5 times around
  7. Put tag end through gap the opposite way as the other tag end
  8. Moisten, tighten and trim excess

Choosing the Right Fishing Rig

A rig is the combination of your hook, sinker and swivel.

Choosing the right rig depends on where you are fishing (freshwater or the ocean) and the type of fish you want to catch.

Now you know how to tie a solid fishing knot, you’re ready to work on your rig.

Three of the most popular rigs are the running sinker rig, quill float and bob rig and paternoster rigs.  


Running Sinker Rig

A running sinker rig is popular because it can be used in fresh and ocean fishing. It’s commonly used because it can catch a wide range of fish including trout, golden perch, cod, snapper, bream and flathead.  

To make a running sinker rig, place a sinker on the main line and a swivel leaving a length of trace line around 40-50 cm long before the hook at the end. The sinker should be quite small (such as a ball sinker). The swivel is used for joining the trace to the mainline and to stop the sinker from sliding down the line to the hook. The hook should be big enough to hold the bait and the type of fish you are going after. 

Quill Float and Bob Rig

When you are attempting to catch fish near the water’s surface rather than deep water, a float is needed to keep the line high in the water. A red and white bob float is one of the most popular types. The line is threaded through clips at the top of the float. The quill float uses plastic bands or an eyelet at the bottom to attach to the line. To ensure the hook hangs down away from the float, use small split shot sinkers. This type of rig is popular for freshwater fishing.   


Paternoster Rig

Saltwater fishing is more likely to use a paternoster rig which uses a three-way swivel. With this rig, the bait sits higher than the sinker which is most likely a star or bomb sinker. The heavy sinker allows the line to be cast further so is popular with beach fishers. This rig is also used in bays and estuaries.


Which Sinker to Use?

Sinkers come in all shapes and sizes, but the shape is important because it determines how the sinker behaves.

Pyramid sinkers – sink to the bottom fast and dig into the sand

Egg & diamond sinkers – designed to bounce over rocks better than most

Split shot sinkers – quick to add on to the line when a little more weight is required

Walking sinkers – designed to ‘walk’ your live bait along the floor

Rubber core sinkers won’t damage your fishing line and are easier to swap out when not required. Split shot sinkers aren’t reusable once they are fused onto the line.

Sliding sinkers are designed to move along the line and are used for drift fishing and slow trawling from the boat.

Try to use the lightest possible sinker when setting up your rod. The more current there is, the heavier the sinker needs to be.


Finding the Right Fishing Line Setup

Now you have your fishing rod set up basics sorted, it’s time to master your craft. Practice your knots and rigs by changing your setup often in search of different species of fish until you find one that works. Talk to local fishermen to find out what’s biting and what types of rigs work for the fish in your area.

If you need any assistance with gear for fishing from your boat, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Boat Accessories Australia on 1300 308 161 or
contact us online. We stock everything from rod holders to swivel seats so we’re sure to have what you need.

Category: How to Guides

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