The third and final installment on making stronger connections with jumbo tautog.
Most hardcore toggers don’t buy pre-tied rigs. That’s because most of us like to tie our rigs exactly the way we want them.
The super fishy group of buddies that I hang out with – and I do not make this claim lightly – are some of the very best fishermen I’ve ever seen. The rigs deployed are specific, and these toggers have the ultimate confidence in their hands, their hooks and leader, their knots, and their own rigging.
Personally, I use Owner Octopus Cutting Point hooks in size 5/0 for most blackfish trips; 4/0 are perfect in the springtime when using clams for bait, and 6/0 if fishing for trophy fish with large, hard crabs for bait, but 5/0 is good middle ground. Tsunami Trophy Pro or YoZuri Pink fluorocarbon leader in 60-pound test is the leader we use most to tie these rigs with, stepping up to an 80-pound top shot for trophy fish.
We tie these rigs around 10 feet long; too long of a leader will spin in the current. On days with very light current, the fish may prefer a slightly longer leader, but this is seldom an issue. Try using a block of foam with rubber bands around it to keep each leader straight when stored.
But just in case we get a last-minute call for a trip, we keep a two-day inventory of pre-tied rigs with us.
The Slider Rig
Snell a hook onto your leader. Slide a second hook down the leader until it touches the snelled hook. Finish the end with a perfection loop. Finished length should be around 10 feet. This rig is perfect for half large or medium crab baits, or single small crab baits.
The Sweet Heart Rig
A variation of the slider rig, except that when putting on the sliding hook you invert it so that it rests point-to-point with the snelled hook. Tied this way, when you cut the claws off of a medium sized crab and insert a hook into each claw hole, the bait will lie in line with the leader. This rig is particularly useful when the crabs are a bit soft. Keep in mind that fishing a whole soft crab is an excellent presentation; cutting an extremely soft crab in half sometimes makes it difficult to retain any of the crab guts on a fast drop to the bottom.
The “V” Rig
An easy to tie variation of the legendary “snafu rig” you start by snelling a hook on each end of a 30-foot or so section of leader. Find the perfect center of the leader material by folding the leader with the hooks perfectly aligned on the end. Loosely tie a double surgeon’s loop at the center fold. Hook the two hooks on the loop and pull tight while making sure that all legs of the rig are the same length. Move down halfway between the hooks and the loop and tie a surgeon’s knot here. Again, put the hooks in the center loop and tighten evenly. The V Rig is excellent when fishing whole crabs.