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Friday - September 02, 2011 - Live Weather Conditions from the Amelia Island Online Weather Station

Rigs For Amelia Island Fishing

I enjoy making my own fishing rigs instead of buying what's available at the tackle store. I feel that by rolling my own, I get exactly what I want (instead of what the store has to offer), and I can experiment with different rigs that I think may work well. With a few simple parts, you can make about any rig that you can dream up. See the Knots tip to learn how to tie the knots mentioned here.
 

I also don't like wasting my fishing time making rigs; many times I've seen another fisherman spend 10 or 15 minutes rooting around in his tackle box or bucket for parts to make a rig when a leader or line breaks. I prefer making mine at home, bagging up a few extras (zip lock bags are great for keeping things untangled), and then switching to a new rig if I need one - I'll save the broken one and fix it later or reuse the parts.

Making rigs at home vs. when you are fishing has some other advantages too. You don't need to haul a bunch of terminal tackle and tools with you to the beach, and if you're old like me you can use some extra help when you're tying knots - my magnifying light is an important tool that I always use. I use the corner of my computer room as my "rig factory".

It's much easier to make a rig at home on the bench with everything you need right in front of you than it is on the beach, so that's where I do it.
 

Over the years I've invented some of my own rigs for fishing, I've copied some "store bought" rigs I've seen, and I've been shown how to make some by other fisherman I've met. These are the basic rigs I use when fishing around Amelia Island. The line lengths in the illustrations of some of the rigs have been reduced for illustration purposes - use the line lengths mentioned, don't try to duplicate the illustration. Here's a picture of the terminal tackle you'll need to make these rigs.

I feel that it pays to experiment; a three foot leader to the hook may work better at a certain place with certain conditions, and a one foot leader may work best at other times. Fiddle around and see what works best for you. I always like a swivel between the reel and the bait; twisted lines are no fun on spinning reels.


General Rig for the Surf

Illustration - The two hook bottom rig. Some days I go surf fishing and I don't have a clue what I'm going to catch, if anything. So I chunk some bait and see what happens; if a particular type of fish shows up, I may switch to another style rig. Since this rig has two hooks (and two baits) it's not the best choice for long distance casting, but you don't always have to get out a mile to catch fish. I make this rig with 40 lb test mono.

Snell a 12" leader onto a 3/0 Mustad hook (or a 5/0 if you're feeling lucky). Tie a Perfection Loop at the opposite end of the leader from the hook. Repeat this for the second hook. Tie two Dropper Loops in a 3' piece of mono a foot from either end. Tie a Perfection Loop to each end of the mono (leave one big enough to get the sinker through it). You can also use a snap swivel to attach the sinker in place of the bottom Perfection Loop. Attach the hooks to the Dropper Loops.

Attach the rig to a snap swivel on the end of your shock leader and you're ready to go. If the blues start biting, replace the hooks with some with wire leaders. I use 3 to 5 ounces of pyramid on this rig depending on wind and water conditions. Bait it with shrimp, mullet, sand fleas, or a combination to see what's working.


Red Drum Rig for the Surf

Illustration - I use this rig when fishing for reds in the surf, and it's made from 50 lb test mono. The design allows the fish to pick up the bait and run with it without feeling the weight of the sinker. If the blues or small sharks get pesky, I'll replace the mono leader to the hook with 45 lb test wire leader.

Snell a 6/0 Gamakatsu Circle hook to a three foot piece of mono. Tie a swivel to the end of the leader opposite the hook. Slide a nylon slider with a sinker clip over the main line on your rod, followed by a bead. Tie the end of the line to the swivel.

I usually bait this rig with mullet head or a chunk of mullet, and I use a 4 oz or 5 oz pyramid sinker as conditions warrant. When I'm not concerned about casting distance, I'll also use a live mullet (hooked through the back) with this rig.


Whiting Rig for the Surf

Illustration - Another two hook bottom rig. Almost the same as my general surf rig, but on this one I use circle hooks. Whiting are great bait snitchers, and the circle hooks even the odds. I make this rig with 40 lb test mono.

Snell a 12" leader onto a 2/0 circle hook. Tie a Perfection Loop at the opposite end of the leader from the hook. Repeat this for the second hook. Tie two Dropper Loops in a 3' piece of mono a foot from either end. Tie a Perfection Loop to each end of the mono (leave one big enough to get the sinker through it). You can also use a snap swivel to attach the sinker in place of the bottom Perfection Loop. Attach the hooks to the Dropper Loops.

I use shrimp or sand fleas (on a day when I'm not too lazy to find some) for Whiting. With the circle hooks, the Whiting will usually hook themselves, no effort required on your part. When fishing for Whiting in the surf, try different length casts; some days you'll be amazed how close the fish are to the beach.


Long Distance Rig for the Surf

Illustration - This rig uses a bait clip down system which releases when the bait hits the water. The clipdown keeps the bait near the sinker when casting, which makes the bait more aerodynamic, and allows you to cast farther.

To make this rig, you'll need a part called an Impact Shield. These are available on the internet at Breakaway USA.

I make this rig with 30 lb or 40 lb mono. Put a 2' leader on a 5/0 Mustad hook; snell the hook to one end and tie a Perfection loop on the other end. Tie a swivel to the end of a 4' piece of mono. Tie a Dropper Loop about 3" below the swivel. Attach the hook with leader to the Dropper Loop. Slide a bead onto the line and with the line and leader parallel, run the bead up until it's about the middle of the hook. Loop the line up and back thru the bead a second time, in the same direction that you put the line thru the bead the first time. Slide the bait release clip onto the line as shown. Attach your sinker with a Dropper Loop or Clinch Knot, or tie a snap swivel to the line for the sinker.

Clip the hook onto the clip and slide the clip towards the sinker so the leader and line are both tight. Slide the bead so it's about 1/2" higher than the clip. When you cast, with the hook clipped to the release clip, the bait and hook will fly behind the sinker; when your rig hits the water, the clip will slide up the line, hit the bead, and release the hook and bait.

I fish this rig mainly with shrimp, but you can also use cut mullet or other bait. Just remember you want a small piece of bait so that the bait doesn't impede your casting distance. On a nice day, with calm water since I'm fishing way beyond the breakers, I use a trolling sinker. If the water is rough, I use the Breakaway sinker shown in the illustration.

Tip: The breakaway sinker shown has a tremendous amount of holding power; the wires cause it to dig into the sand. When you pull the sinker free, the wires will pop loose and rotate towards the rear of the sinker (you reset them before the next cast). It takes a good hard pull to get this type of sinker to break loose from the bottom; don't use one with a very light main line, as you may break the line instead of getting the sinker free.


Red Drum Rig for the Pier

Illustration - This rig is similar to the Red Drum rig I use in the surf, with the exception of the sinker - instead of using a nylon slider and a pyramid sinker, I use a 3 oz egg sinker, and I make the leader a bit longer. I use this rig for reds and trout from the pier.

Snell a 6/0 Gamakatsu Circle hook to a four foot piece of mono. Tie a swivel to the end of the leader opposite the hook. Slide a 3 oz egg sinker over the main line on your rod, followed by a bead. Tie the end of the line to the swivel.

When pier fishing, I bait this rig with cut or live mullet (hooked through the back). Wait a bit longer with live bait before setting the hook than you would with cut bait.


Live Bait Rig for Piers or Bridges

Illustration - I use this rig for fishing with a live Spot or Pin Fish as bait from the pier; Pin Fish and Spot don't cast too well, so I don't use live ones for bait in the surf. It can also be used with live mullet for bait, but I prefer the "Red Drum pier rig" when using mullet. I use 40 lb test mono to make this rig.

Attach a snap swivel for the sinker to the end of a 24" piece mono. Slide a bead, a nylon slider and then another bead onto the line and then tie a Perfection Loop at the top end of the line. Snell a 5/0 Mustad or 6/0 Gamakatsu circle hook onto the end of another 24" piece of mono. Tie a Perfection Loop at the opposite end of the leader line from the hook, and attach it to the nylon slider. I use a 3 oz or 4 oz pyramid sinker with this rig.

This rig allows the live bait to swim freely around the sinker and from the bottom to about 3 feet above the bottom without tangling the line. Hook the bait through the back at the rear of the dorsal fin. When a fish (hopefully a large trout or red) picks up the bait, wait until he runs with it before setting the hook.


Pin Fish or Spot Rig

Illustration - Just like the general surf rig, but with much smaller hooks; I use a number 6 bait holder hook for these little guys.

Snell a 6" leader onto a number 6 hook. Tie a Perfection Loop at the opposite end of the leader from the hook. Repeat this for the second hook. Tie two Dropper Loops in a 2' piece of mono about six inches from either end. Tie a Perfection Loop to each end of the mono (leave one big enough to get the sinker through it). Attach the hooks to the Dropper Loops.

I bait the hooks with very small pieces of shrimp, and I remove the shells before cutting up the shrimp. I also use a small sinker, 1 oz or less; just enough to keep the bait on the bottom.

 
A bad day of fishing is much better than a good day of cutting the grass.


Friday - September 02, 2011 - Live Weather Conditions from the Amelia Island Online Weather Station
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