Here I’m going to show you how to make a simple double hook dropshot rig. This is one of the most useful rigs I know and I use it very often. In fact, when I first arrive at a fishing location, the first thing I usually do is put a couple of lines in the water using this rig. In saltwater, I fish mostly with either live or cut bait and this rig excels at catching small bait fish. I typically pack a little bit of squid with me and this is what I use to bait this rig.
Selecting your sinker
The idea is to use the smallest sinker that would work for you location. Some things to keep in mind for sinker selection are:
- Smaller sinkers will let you feel the bite better
- Bigger sinkers will cast further
- The stronger the current, the bigger the sinker needs to be
- Bigger sinkers will tend to get caught up on rocks and other structure more often than smaller ones.
This is essentially a bottom fishing rig, which means the weight or sinker will sit on the bottom. The stronger the current at your location, the bigger the sinker needs to be in order to stay put on the bottom. If there is no or very little current and I’m fishing straight down or relatively close, like when I’m fishing from a pier or dock, I will use 1/4 – 1/2 oz sinker. However, if I’m fishing where there is moderate current I will use a 1 – 2 oz sinker. In strong current locations, I’ve used up to 6 oz of lead, but most bottom fish will not hangout and eat where there is lots of current.
Selecting your hook
Hook selection depends on bait size and bait size depends on the type and size of fish you are after. As I mentioned before, I use this rig to obtain bait and relatively small fish like snappers, but it is extremely effective for catfish as well. Here are a few suggestions of hook sizes:
- use #4 (small hook) for small bait fish like pinfish, pigfish, grunts, croakers, whiting (weakfish), small porgy or small filefish.
- use #1 (medium hook) for snappers, trout, flounder, sole, whiting, sheepshead, small snook, blues, stingray, etc.
- use #4 (large hook) for catfish, snook, tarpon and other larger species.
This rig does not use a steel leader, so it is not well suited for very toothy fish, like barracuda, sharks, kings and other predator species, they simply will cut the line once you they are hooked. You can create this rig using heavy mono (say 50 lbs or greater), but there comes a point where steel leader is the only real logical choice. As far as bait size is concern, you want the bait to be big enough to attract fish, put a good scent in the water and make the effort worthwhile for the fish, but small enough to fit entirely in their mouth. If you are casting and continuously losing your bait, it is because the fish are too small for the bait you’re using, go ahead and switch to smaller bait and perhaps a smaller hook.
Deciding where to place the hooks
The decision on hook placement, depends on the configuration of the bottom. In areas where there is grass, set the first hook so it is just above the grass when the sinker is on the bottom. The second hook should go 12-18 inches above the first. If you are fishing in a sandy area, setting the first hook where it nearly touches the bottom works great for flounder and some of the other bottom predators. I sometimes mix it up and put a small hook on the bottom and a larger hook with a bigger piece of bait on the second higher hook location, this is a reasonable approach when are not sure what is biting. I do find the old saying “A small hook can catch a big fish, but a large hook cannot catch a small fish” to be accurate, so when in doubt, just go smaller, I have personally caught 10 lbs fish on this rig with the small hooks.