How to tie fishing rigs
Tying droppers in monofilament fishing line to form a sprat, surfcasting, or boat fishing rig is an important skill for any angler to learn. Just follow a few easy steps and with a bit of practice you’ll be proficient in no time flat.
Your first consideration is the thickness of monofilament line used to make your rig. This will be decided based on the intended species you are targeting. The bigger and tougher the target fish the heavier the monofilament. If in doubt it is best to use heavier mono.
When it comes to tying the dropper loop your mono weight will affect the number of times you need to wrap the line when forming the knot. For light lines 10 – 30 lb it is best to form five turns on either side of the dropper. Lines 40 – 200 lb you only need three turns either side. For very heavy mono 300 lb plus only one turn either side is necessary. Indeed it would be almost impossible to make more than a single turn in say 400 lb monofilament.
The job of tying droppers is made easier if you clamp an upturned screwdriver in a bench top vice. This then acts as a fixed point – similar to a “third hand” – over which you can hook the mono to hold it while tying the knot. I would find this knot very difficult without this aid. Over the years I have seen many anglers use their teeth as a third hand though I don’t recommend this practice!
The tricky part is deciding how long to make your droppers. When tying the dropper loop you will get a certain amount of slip in the knot when making turns and pulling the knot up tight. Sometimes you can start with a big loop that you expect will stand-out say 250mm from the backbone. But for some reason when you pull the knot tight you end up with a funny looking dropper only 100mm long! It takes a bit of practice to get this right.
There are two ways of going about this. You can begin by cutting a length of mono from a spool. But if you are making a three hook rig and get you your loops slightly too long, or too far apart, you will run out of line before you have finished. For this reason I prefer to tie the whole rig before cutting it from the spool.
Another tip is to place marks on your bench with a felt tip pen and use these to measure your droppers as you go.
Don’t make your droppers too long or it will touch the ground and so be difficult to cast. For a surf rig you don’t want it more than 1.2 metres overall including the sinker. You also don’t want the hooks to touch and tangle one another.
For a boat rig overall length shouldn’t exceed rod length.
Always moisten your knots with saliva. Pull evenly on all three ends. This is where the screw driver in a vice comes into it’s own particularly when working with very heavy mono. Use pliers to pull the knot tight but don’t over do it especially with lighter line or you will seriously weaken the knot.
I find the job is easier and quicker if I get a little production line going and make up a dozen or so rigs at once.
Finally store you complete rigs in plastic zip-lock bags onto which you can write details of the contents with a felt tip pen. In this way no time will be lost changing rigs at the beach, river or while at sea.
It takes practice to get your droppers the correct length. Note the single turn of mono either side of the dropper. This is 400 1b monofilament, a length of lumo tube, and a heavy duty powerbaiter groper hook. The droppers should be about 250mm long.
Begin by making a simple loop slightly bigger than required for the dropper.
Pass the longer end of your mono in and out of the loop. After turns on one side, I place my finger in position shown, then make turns on other side. I then push my thumb in beside by finger and pull the dropper through!
The job is easier to perform if the dropper is hooked over a fixed point i.e. screw driver held in a vice.