Outdoors: Effective ways to rig your line for stripers

Courtesy Photo/Mary Gayle SartwellDave Sartwell, along with grandson Declan and son Steele, dig for worms to use for fishing.

There are any number of ways to rig your line for stripers, but here are a few that have worked well for me over time. Try these, if you will, but don’t be afraid to make your own adjustments or modifications based on the conditions and your own experience.

If you are fishing from the shoreline or boat try the hi/low option. The basic concept of this set up is to get two baits at different levels into the feeding lane. One bait you want next to the bottom and the second at least a foot and maybe more above that. 

Take a 6 to 8 foot leader line and attach a barrel swivel to the end. Tie that swivel to the end of the line leading to your rod. This will allow the rig to rotate in the water without twisting your line. At the other end put a snap swivel. This will be the end on which you attach your sinker. The clip just makes it easier to change sinkers based on the strength of the tide or current. It also allows the sinker to roll without twisting the leader. 

About a foot up from the swivel put a loop in the line and attach a 1/0 hook. About 12 to 18 inches above that make another loop and add a hook as well. Now you have a leader with two hooks and a snap for your sinker. For fishing from shore I like to use a pyramid sinker. If I am in a boat I will use a barrel.

I like a simple clinch knot to tie on all of the lines. Tying it is easy. Push the free end of the line through the hole, turn it back on itself and wrap it around six times. Now take the free end and slide it through the loop in the line next to the swivel. Pull it tight and you have a great knot. 

If you are fishing from shore using sand spikes for your poles, try casting one outfit out quite a ways and the second one in closer. Try to find those lanes where the fish are feeding. Once you catch one or two you will be able to tell how far out you should cast. Experiment until you find the right combination.

A second rigging option is to use an inline sinker for drift fishing from a boat. These sinkers have a swivel at both ends. Often there is a one unit swivel, chain, sinker, chain, swivel combination you can buy. The third sinker you could use is an egg sinker slid on the line just above the swivel. Tie the swivel to the end of your line. To the end of that tie on about 3 feet of leader and to that a 1/0 hook. This inline sinker will create less drag and be easier to troll because it will decrease the twisting of the line.

The third way is to use a three-way swivel. Attach one end to the line. To another attach your 1/0 hook and to the third attach your sinker using a sinker snap attached to the swivel. 

I like to use braided line. It is a bit more expensive and can be hard to untangle if you get a rats nest, but it creates less drag in the water, doesn’t stretch when you set the hook, and , because it is thinner, more line can be wound on the reel. 

When using the two hook rig I find it is more effective if I use two different baits until I find out what  is working best. I use sea clams a lot for the bottom hook. This bait is easy to dig around here on the full moon, so it is cheap to use. It freezes well. So I dig a bucket, cut them to chunks and freeze them in small packets, ready to use when I head out. The other bottom bait that works well is seaworms. The big stripers will scour the bottom, especially where it is muddy, and gobble up any worms that are working their way along the bottom.  On the higher hook I like to use either chunk bait or a mackerel. 

When fishing clams, I like to start fishing really close to shore. The clams get broken up with the action of the waves and the fish will look there for the soft parks to eat. So start right in on the shoreline and then work out a bit. Huge striper will be in closer than you might think. This is especially true at night.

As I stated earlier, experiment. Try different combinations of bait, distance from shore and hook arrangements until you find success. See ya out there!

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