Rigging for speckled trout

Here are diagrams of each of the live bait rigs and how to use them.


Slip cork- This is a cumbersome rig, but it is so effective that it is must when fishing for Speckled trout in water deeper than six feet. It allows for the bait to be suspended off of the bottom, thus allowing you to drift the bait with the current to locate fish. Be sure the bait is suspended in the lower third of the water column. There are a number of “bobber-stoppers” available. I have the best to be the cloth one on the tube and I put two on each rig. Eventually they will start to slip or come untied, and the second one functions as a backup.


Tight line- this is a version of a Carolina rig. The only exception is that I don’t use a leader. The small split shot crimped above the Bullet weight functions to keep the weight up. This allows you to retie and maintain the length between the hook and the weight by only retying one knot.  The purpose of the bullet weight instead of the traditional egg-shaped weight is that it won’t get hung up on the shell bottom as bad. The key to this rig is the “Kahle” or “suicide” hook. It is a self-setting hook, which allows you to fish a cork rig or artificial bait and just leave this rod in the holder. The hook will almost always hook the fish in the side of the mouth.


Popping cork- this is a shallow water- less than 6’- rig. Be sure that the cork you use has a cupped top and some rattles in it. I like to use a short leader with a small black barrel swivel. Sometimes the shrimp will spin when you reel it in and the swivel will prevent line twist. As with the slip cork, be sure to fish this in the lower third of the water column, and make some noise with the cork. that is why is called a “popping” cork.



Knots - Over the years I have been asked about the types of fishing knots that I use. Although there are probably hundreds of knots, I use five to cover almost everything that I do. Here they are as well as how they are applied and variations of each: 

  • Line/leader to terminal tackle- The knot that I use the most is the Palomar knot. It is easy to tie and very strong. It also works with both braid and mono. The only negative is sometimes the eye of the hook/lure is too small to allow the doubled line to pass through. In this case, I run the tag end through and then back through from the opposite direction to create the initial loop.
  • Line/leader to terminal tackle- Probably used more often by the fisherman that I have been with that any other is the Trilene knot. Here again it is easy to tie and very strong. The downside is that it will slip when used with braid.  I like to use this knot when tying terminal tackle to a short leader as it doesn’t use as much line as the Palomar. If the leader is very short, I use only four wraps and tie a small square knot in the tag to prevent it from pulling through.
  • Line to lure- When using lures with no split ring on the eye, such as top water and jerk baits a Non-slip Loop knot is a must. The loop will allow for more lure action resulting in more strikes. Try to end up with 1/8 to ¼ inch of loop. Any more and the knot will become visible; moreover, you’ll change water flow over the lure and disrupt the action.
  • Line to leader- When tying line to leader I like the Double Surgeon’s knot. It is easy and holds very well. Although the illustration shows two wraps, I use three. I guess that my knot is a Triple surgeon’s knot. This knot can only be tied when joining a pre-cut piece of leader as the end of leader has to pass through the loop- in the case of my knot, three times.
  • Line to line/leader- Although a little awkward to tie, the Albright knot is great for tying line to line, line to backing and line to leader. It is used either when there is spool or lure on one end or as in the case of the Surgeon’s knot, only a section of leader.

Knot tying illustrations are provided by Netknots.com. For more information on tying knots of any kind or to purchase waterproof plastic knot cards, click here.

Copyright A-Team Fishing Adventures 2006