Rig Series: Slip Rig
I have decided to do a short series on a few basic rigs every angler should know how to use and in what situations to use them in. Things are warming up outside which means prime Catfish season so I will start with one of the most basic rigs of them all, the slip rig.
To set up this rig you will need a circle hook, bead, barrel swivel, and either an egg sinker or a no roll sinker. First cut a section of your main line to the desired length of your leader. Now thread through your sinker onto your main line followed by a bead, if you are using a no roll sinker have the pointed end face your reel. Next tie the barrel swivel to your main line, I use the palomar knot here. To the other end of your swivel tie your leader on, I use the improved clinch knot. At the end of your leader tie on your circle hook. Your done.
This rig allows the catfish to take your bait with very little resistance. I like circle hooks in this rig for two reasons. First they almost always hook the fish in the corner of the mouth making it easier to remove and less stress to the fish for catch and release. Secondly the fish sets the hook itself when the fish turns after swallowing your bait, taking the pressure off you to know when the right time is to "set the hook" and reducing lost fish. Length of leader is determined by the current and cover. The longer the leader the more play it will have, especially important if you are fishing live bait. However, it also increases the chances of your hook tangling on cover or wedged in rocks. If you are fishing a with very high flow such as a spillway don't use a leader or barrel swivel. Allow bead and sinker to come right up to the hook. The purpose of the bead is to provide a buffer between the knot and the sliding sinker. Often times we use large sinkers in excess of 3 ounces and the force of the weight slamming into the knot can weaken it or knock your leader straight off.
If you are fishing dough baits you may substitute a circle hook for a treble hook, dip bait hook, or sponge. When fishing this I enable the clicker on my baitcaster to both give me an audible warning on when the fish is on and to also let the fish take out some line with very little resistance. You can also modify this rig by using lighter weights or a roach walker weight for Walleye and Trout fishing.