The Number one rule to building rigs is as follows: If your main line is 10lbs and your leader line is 18lbs your Hook link line must not exceed your main lines Poundage! In the Diagram below we have a standard Sliding baby shoes Rig/ Strop. This Rig I would use at dams that have water grass or if fishing a area that is known to have snags.
What are the components to a Rig?
The swivel will be your link between your leader line and Rig.
Beads are used as Knot protectors. With the Lead sliding up and down it can damage the Knot. So the bead acts like a Shock absorber and covers the knot so the Lead doesn’t slam against it.
3. Lead line.
The Lead line is usually the same poundage as your Leader line +- 18lbs. It needs to be tough in order to sling the weight out.
Different weight sinkers can be used depending on the distance you require to get. This one is a Mushroom sinker Named due to its Mushroom shape. The design is to allow you to Put Meilie Bomb around it.
Tri- Swivel is a 3 way swivel that will allow you to make a junction in your rig. In the case of this Baby shoe Sliding rig it allows the hook link to slid through it. The one hook will be in the fishes mouth and the other will slide up to under the lead. This will eliminate what we call the trailing hook. A trailing Hook can always either go into the fishes body or fins, or get snagged on underwater structure. Eliminating the trailing Hook Prevents both of these things from happening.
6. Gummy stop.
In this rigs case the Gummy stop Prevents the Hook link from sliding to freely.
7. Hook Link.
The hook Link is the line which your Hooks are attached to. Your Hook link Poundage should be under your Main Line poundage. So with a 10lbs main Line the Hook Link Line should be around 7lbs.
Now I want you to understand why we Build rigs this way. With a 7lbs Hook Link line, if you have any failure what so ever the fish still swims away with only a Hook in its mouth. The fish will be able to eject the hook within a couple of days. The fish will still be able to Feed. This is just one of the Tricks we use to ensure the Fish does not suffer and die.
Imagine for a moment that you have a leader knot failure. The fish now swims with the whole rig and 24ft of leader line trailing along. The sinker pulling its head down the whole time. Then as it is struggling to eject the hook the leader line snags around structure. The fish swims frantically to try and get free but is now like a Dog on a chain that is tied to a pole. As he struggles the more the leader wraps around the structure. Now the Fish is stuck. Unable to move far and unable to get free. He will eventually die.
So by making the Hook link line of a lower Poundage, we are actually giving the fish a chance of escape. Now a smaller fish would not stand a chance of breaking your mainline to leader knot. But he might just be able to break the Hook link line and still manage to live.
If a Crab pinches your line and a failure occurs, then the fish is in trouble. What we as anglers try to do is give the fish a fighting chance. All we can do has been done to ensure the safety of fish but sometimes it is out of our hands. The old saying Prevention is better than the cure is true to the T in this case.
Baby Shoes Safety Rig:
When we talk about a trailing hook we are referring to the hook that is not in the Fishes Mouth. The Baby Shoes Safety Rig is designed to eliminate the Trailing Hook. If you look at the diagram you will see that it shows the one hook pulling up to the Tri Swivel , tucking in underneath the Lead/Sinker.
Now this hook is far away from the Fish and the chances for it to hook into structure or onto the fish is Greatly reduced.
This particular Rig is the one I use most. Purely due to the fact that it is the safest rig when it comes to not harming the fish.
The Rietvlei Rig has been around for a very long time. I’m not sure when they adapted the rig into the Sliding version but this was a game changer for most competitive Anglers back in the day. You will note that the Swivel slides up and down on the Lead line above the Lead/Sinker.
The Fixed Rietvlei Rig is still one of the most popular Rigs and is used by Many anglers.
Barbel / Catfish Rig:
Barbel Rigs are designed to hold a Fish head. Now due to the feeding habits of Barbel it is recommended that you use 2 Hooks. The hooks are obviously much larger than the Carp rig Hooks. Barbel are very powerful Fish and put up a good fight. The rig design in this diagram is but one of many but very effective.
Ok – you now have the basics on the rigs/stroppies. In the beginning you can also Buy ready-made Rigs from your local Tackle shop. Building rigs is a fine art and if you are only good at tying a shoelace and even then it is doggy then rather purchase the ready-made Rigs. I will run you through some of the basic knots in case you decide to Build them yourself anyway. Just for the record and as a personal preference I do not Trust Ready-made Rigs and Build all my own rigs. I’m hardcore that way! Just kidding.
The reason I build my own rigs is purely for the fact that I require some Choice in my tackle box. As I explained earlier that one might need a heavier sinker to get more distance but also longer Hook Links as there is thick mud or silt on the bottom. Then I would like a Pair of Identical rigs already made in my tackle box. Or you might require a very light weight rig for shallow casting.
The nice thing about Fishing is that you learn something new every day. You will learn how to improvise at the water’s edge. Being prepared is key and if you have already made provision for almost any scenario then you will end up going on your fishing trip with something like this.
This is my Conventional angling rig wallet. Notice the different size and shape Leads/Sinkers?. There are also different size hooks and lengths of hook links. All ready to be clipped on and used at my will. Each knot tied by my hand and knot strength checked. If anything goes wrong we have only one person to blame.
Knot tying basics