Gulf Coast Fisherman Magazine VOL 40 No 2 SPRING 2016 - Page 9

by Patrick Lemire Rod & Reelin’ T TRY THE SLIP-KNOT RIG he Slip-Knot Rig; what is it and where did it come from? It’s a simple but effective alternate baitfish rigging method that I came up with and started using over 19 years ago. Like most ideas, this rigging method is probably out there by someone else, but I’ve never seen or heard of it. It’s just a simple loop/slip-knot in your mono leader or main line at the tail end of a head hooked baitfish. The knot around your soft-bodied baitfish’s tail cuts through the baitfish and comes untied as the line comes tight at the hookset. The loop around the tail doesn’t always cut through the baitfish. Not perfect, but OK. If the complete slip knot is tied as described, it will not cut into itself causing a problem. While short strikers might come back to get the head half of your baitfish, why not get a hookset at the first bite! This rigging will get you there. Hook first at the bite, puts the hook farther into the fish’s mouth which obviously helps when a bait’s being “mouthed”, as opposed to engulfing it, also a shortstrikers nightmare. Short strikers and “mouthers” are, in fact, what led me to come up with the slip knot rig those many years ago. Besides working with soft tailed baitfish such as sardines, croakers, sandtrout or piggies, it also works well with a whole squid. Just hook ‘em through the eyes and slip-knot the pointed end of the squid’s body. Baitfish such as cigar minnows and bluerunners have a sort of armored row of scutes which are an enlarged and hardened row of scales or ridges at the base of their tails. This could present a problem with cutoffs when the line comes tight using mono of 40 lbs or less. I say “could” because I haven’t had problems with 40 lb. A problem could arise with high drag settings. My primary mono leader use is with 80, 100, or 130 lb, which is definitely a plus in this area. Mono size also comes into play as additional stiffness goes up a bit with size, naturally this makes 40 to 80 lb easier to work with, as opposed to 100 or 130 lb. For added clarity when tying this rig, refer to the illustration. The first step is to tie your mono leader or mainline, to the hook of your choice. My circle hook preference is a Daiichi D84Z in size 7/0, or a Mustad 39951BLN, size 10/0. If you think these hooks are too big, think again. I’ve caught numerous undersize red snapper and other similar size reef fish on them over the years. Mustad 10829BLN, size 8/0-10/0 does the job when using a “J” hook. Next, run the hook thru the baitfish’s gill opening and out its mouth as illustrated. You can also place the hook into the body with the bend and point exposed, still with the point toward the baitfish’s tail. Now, make a loose overhand knot in the mono as in the lower piece of the illustration. The mono loop has been pulled thru the overhand knot and goes over the baitfish’s tail as marked by the “X”. The arrow at “A” indicates the where and direction of pull to tighten the overhand knot at the baitfish’s tail. Remember to leave a little slack in the mono between the tightened overhand knot and the hook. The final tightening is now done where and in the direction indicated at “B”. This pull tightens the loop around the base of the baitfish’s tail. This will give you a baitfish that isn’t bent or curled, lying straight and natural in the water while on the sink. Speaking of “on the sink”, whether freelined or Carolina rigged, this rigging’s slow fall going head first is the natural look of a dead, sinking food item to a predator. That head first sink, due to the weight of the hook and the hook being an early entry into the predator’s mouth, is the key to success. The slip-knot’s hold on a relatively soft baitfish also keeps you baited up in the strike zone longer. While on the sink or at a depth, do a stop and twitch every thirty seconds, or so, to give the look of an injured and vulnerable baitfish doing a near-death twitch ; next comes the strike. Whatever it is in our Gulf waters, and the bays, too, for that matter, that eats baitfish or squid and doesn’t have a mouth full of teeth, this rigging will be a plus to your success. With attention to the details and just a little practice, you will be surprised at how easy the Slip-Knot Rig is formed, and then experience how well it GCF works! APRIL • MAY • JUNE 2 0 1 6 9