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Flounder rigs and sinkers...

“What kind of rigs should we use for flounder?”

Even though flounder dart off the bottom to grab their baits,
they lie on the bottom floor until they see something that interests them.
Since they depend on “sight” more than “smell” you must present your bait
close to the bottom so the flounder can see it. The most important part of
your rig is your sinker. If your sinker is not heavy enough to keep you on
the bottom during a rushing tide, you won’t catch flounder!

“How much weight should I use?”

A good flounder fisherman has an array of weights. If you are
fishing out of a boat, you can have anywhere from ¾ of an ounce up to 5
ounces of weight. When you are fishing in relatively shallow waters of three
to six feet in the upper reaches of the bay, carry ¾ ounce, one-ounce, one
and a half ounce, and two-ounce bass cast type sinkers. (These are the
teardrops shaped sinkers with a swivel eye at the top.) With these type
sinkers you can drift over mud flats and grassy bottom without snagging plus
the swivel eye helps eliminate line twist.

If you are drifting in a boat through deep swift water such as
the center of the Thorofore, the deep east channel near the Route 50 Bridge,
or the Inlet, you need more weight. When the tide is slacking you can get
away with a one and a half or a two-ounce sinker, but when the tide is
running hard you may need a three, four, or even five ounce weight. If you
need more than that it is probably not a good time to be fishing those

If you are fishing from the shore, you can buy the bass cast or
the bank type sinkers. (Never use pyramid sinkers in the bay!) When you are
fishing from the shore, you are not moving with the water like drifting in a
boat, so you will need more weight at times. Start with one and a half ounce
sinkers and also take two, three, and four ounce sinkers. If you are casting
out into a current and want it to stay put, the bank type sinker will work
better than the bass cast type. The bass cast sinker tends to roll.

“So what kind of rigs should I buy?”

Anglers use three types of rigs to fish for flounder. A basic
high/low rig, which is a top and bottom, rig with two hooks attached. Some
anglers like a single leadered flounder rig which includes flounder
pounders, squid rigs, Spin N’ Glow rigs, Fluke Killers, and etc… Then some
anglers fishing from the Route 50 Bridge or a boat like a spreader rig which
puts both hooks right on the bottom.

First of all, we’ll talk about the high/low rigs. Many anglers
like to use a wire top and bottom rig (we call this a 1040 rig- some anglers
that are familiar with fresh water fishing call it a crappie rig). It is
made out of steelon and has two twisted wire stand offs to attach two
12-inch leadered hooks. (Never try to put long leadered hooks on a small top
and bottom rig or you’ll have a tangled mess!) There is a sinker clip on
the bottom of the rig where you can attach your sinker. Many tackle stores
have these already made up “ready-to-fish” but it is less expensive to buy
the top and bottom rigs and a couple packs of hooks and put them together
yourself as you need them.

There are all kinds of top and bottom rigs you can buy and they
all basically work the same. It’s sort of like Forest Gump and all the
different ways you can cook shrimp. There are monofilament top and bottom
rigs, tennis cord top and bottom rigs, clear ones, colored ones, top and
bottom rigs with white stand offs and red beads, longer ones (1040HD), and
even little gizmos you can put out on your line and make your own top and
bottom rigs (Bear Paw Line Connectors.) But they all work the same. The
sinker is on the bottom and two leadered hooks are attached to two stand
offs of some kind. One hook falls below the sinker. The second hook hangs
above the first hook. When you fish this rig for flounder, you don’t want
to fish it straight up and down. Let your line out enough so that the top
hook dangles a few inches over the bottom floor so the flounder can see it!

Some monofilament type top and bottom rigs come pre-made with
white or colored bucktailed skirts in the package. These are often called
“Pop’s Rigs” or “Pop-Johnson” rigs. These are excellent for flounder
fishing. There are no sinker clips for the sinker, just a dropper loop.
Simply loop your sinker through the loop. These are made this way on purpose
because some anglers like little or no hardware on their rig.

There is a patented rig on the market called an Aqua-Clear
Tangleless Rig that many flounder anglers love. It is all made out of clear
plastic material and are available in plain hooks, bucktailed hooks, and
hooks with pearl blades. There is a big dropper loop to insert your sinker.
The rigs promise not to tangle and most of time they don’t! If you buy the
rigs made with the stainless hooks you can use them over and over again.
Just wash them off with fresh water when you come in. Pat them dry with a
paper towel, and repackage them.

One of our favorite top and bottom flounder rigs we like to make
up ourselves is to attach two chartreuse colored spinner blade hooks on a
monofilament top and bottom rig. When you make rigs up yourself, pull the
top and bottom rig taunt and look at it carefully to make sure your top and
bottom hooks are not touching each other. If they are, shorten up the top
one so it doesn’t tangle while in the water!

Many anglers like a simple one-hook rig made with a 30-inch long
leadered hook attached to a 3-way swivel and a snap for the sinker. (Be
sure to use a snap swivel at the end of your line to eliminate line twist.)
I like to use a plastic fish finder rig with my long leadered hook rather
than a 3-way swivel and snap as a fish finder rig totally eliminates line
twist. The inexpensive fish finder rigs are great to use in snaggy areas
like the main channel near First Street or the inlet, because if the sinker
gets snagged, the sinker clip will break off and you’ll lose your sinker but
not your whole rig!

Some anglers who fish with a conventional type rod and reel do
well with an egg sinker rig. We also call this rig a “drop-back rig,”
because it works well when “dropping back” to a flounder. To make one of
these flounder rigs, take a piece of leader material 20 to 30 pound test and
about 12-inches long. Slide an egg sinker in the middle of the leader and
tie a barrel swivel to each end. Then attach your long leadered hook or
single long leadered flounder rig to one of the barrel swivels. Attach the
other barrel swivel to the end of your fishing line. (The fish finder rig
and the egg sinker rig also work for live eels.)

The third rig is a spreader rig or “coat hanger” rig. It is
made out of tennis cord or wire. Anglers on the Route 50 Bridge or anglers
drifting in a boat use these rigs. One puts the sinker on the clip in the
center of the rig and attaches two leadered hooks on the loops or clips on
the spreader. Both hooks drag the bottom. On the Bridge, anglers drift out
this rig with a bobber. Personally, I’d leave this rig for the Bridge
fisherman and use the other type of rigs in a boat!

Everyone has a favorite rig, and or a special lucky rig. If it
works for you, that’s the one you want to use!

Good fishing….