Setting up a “Slipweight”, or sliding ledger rig.

What is a slipweight rig and how do I set it up?

A “slipweight”, or sliding ledger rig, as it is sometimes called, is a unique weighting method used in stationary fishing situations, to attach weight to the end of the line for casting, while still allowing the “tug” of any action on the bait end to transfer straight to the rod tip, without any resistance from the weight. This method of sinking the line is especially useful for catfish, carp and other bottom dwellers, as their tendancy is to pick up baits that are free-floating, while avoiding anything too suspicious or oddly resistant. With a slipweight, because the bait line never pulls up against the sinker, the fish can’t feel the weight, but you can feel them at the bait…… pretty sneaky, huh?

So, how do we build one of these contraptions? Simple enough: First, you’ll need to find an appropriately-sized hook, and a “bomb” style sinker, the kind with a metal loop at the top of the conical lead weight. Appropriate size, in each case, will depend on factors such as current flow, bait size, and the weight of your line, but an average-sized sinker (#2 or #3) and a standard hook should be fine, to start. You will also need either a split shot weight, or, better yet, an inline swivel, and roughly 18″ to 24″ of additional fishing line, with it. Check that your swivel is a size big enough, that no part of it can slip into or through the metal loop on the top of the sinker.

Once you have assembled these items, you’re good to go. Now, take the sinker, and feed your main fishing line through the loop at the top of it, but don’t tie it in place. Next, if you are using a split shot, clamp it firmly onto your line, below the sliding weight, and with enough free line after it, to let the free (hook) end float freely – again, maybe a couple of feet. Tie your hook onto the free end, using either a Clinch knot or a Palomar knot, ideally, and you’re done.

If you are using a swivel, feed the line through the loop on the weight, as before, and then tie the swivel onto the free end of your line. Then, tie the second piece of line you cut (still about two feet) to the other end of the swivel, and your hook, to the free end of the line. Either the swivel of the split shot will work fine, but the swivel rigging has two advantages – obviously, swivelling, to help avoid line snarls, and also, the swivel cannot change position on the line, whereas a split shot has a tendancy to slip towards the hook, over repeated casts.

When baiting one of these rigs, my experience is that a smaller bait has less chance of tearing itself apart during a cast and landing, as the bait tends to swing in circles around the weight during the cast. I have used a slipweight successfully to catch all sorts of fish, just as long as they are feeding near the bottom.

Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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