Tying it all together
Now that you have your rod, reel, braided line and leader material it's time to put it all together. This involves terminal tackle:swivels, snaps, weights (sinkers) and hooks, as well as spooling the reel.
There are many approaches to terminal tackle configuration. Several different knot types can be used. Finally, there are options in how everything is assembled.
Over the years I have settled on three types of knots and a configuration that allows me to change weights and hooks on the fly. The approach also allows storage of the rig parts easily and conveintly Let's see what is involved.
Swivels are used to tie two lines together. Knots can also be used to accomplish this but swivels have an advantage in some situations. Snap swivels have an additional feature allowing them to be opened and closed. Ball bearing swivels (like the snap swivel shown here) cost quite a bit more. They are not necessary unless you will be trolling.
Purchase swivels that are salt water rated and have a breaking strength in the 90-125lb range.
Getting the bait to where the fish are requires adding weight. The amount of weight is dictated by several factors including water depth, type and size of the bait and the amount of drift. It is necessary to have a range of weights available. I carry egg sinkersranging from 3-16 oz.
Regulations for bottom fishing dictate the use of circle hooks. Circle hooks are designed to lodge in the corner of the jaw as opposed to gut-hooking a fish. They are a definite boon to conservation. There are two types of circle hooks. The non-offset circle hook complies with both federal and state regulations so get those to be safe.
For large grouper, use size 7-0 to 9-0 circle hooks. Get size 1-0 or 2-0 for catching bait fish.
Braid is slippery and needs a monofilament backing for spooling. Here is a step-by-step process resulting in a full spool of braid backed by mono.
The result is a reel backed by mono and filled to the max with braid. You can also guess how much mono is needed for backing and do everything in one step. If you are good you will get the same result.
Then, tie a length of leader 1 to 2x the length of the rod to the end of the braid using another double uni knot.
Finally, we will tie the snap swivel to the end of the leader, make up some interchangeable weight connections and tie some hooks to separate sections of leader.
SNAP SWIVEL CONNECTION: Here is the second knot to learn. The improved clinch knot is simple and very dependable. Use this knot to tie the leader to the snap swivel.
SINKER ATTACHEMENTS: I find it convenient to be able to switch out weights while fishing without having to retie anything. To accomplish this, thread a sinker on to a 6" section of leader and tie a regular swivel on one end and a snap swivel on the other end using an improved clinch knot.
HOOK ATTACHMENTS: The hook will be attached to a section of leader material using knot three, the snell knot.Tie this knot so that the line is going through the hook eye in the direction of the point (the opposite of the demo link). This is important when using circle hooks. It is described as "closing the loop" and enhances the hook-up ratio.
On the other end of the leader attach a regular swivel with an improved cinch knot.
When it's time to fish, first choose the appropriate weight.
Attach the pre-rigged sinker to the end of the line attached to the rod by connecting the snap swivel from the rod to the regular swivel on the sinker attachment.
Then attach the pre-rigged hook section to the other end of the sinker via the snap swivel to regular swivel.
Looking at the video should clarify the process (click arrow to start video).
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