What this rig is all about:
Deep sea fishing for black sea bass requires a relatively strong rig, uses heavy leader line, and strong hooks. Black sea bass are not tackle shy, and the heavy rig will hold up well against underwater wrecks, structure as well as toothy predator fish. Read on to learn how to make and use essentially a multi-dropper loop rig for landing keeper black sea bass.
Here is a list of materials/items that you will need to make this rig:
Links include pricing info on Amazon and are the suggested products for this rig.
- 50 pound braided main line
- 40-50 pound monofilament for the leader line
- Snap swivel
- 4-12 ounce sinker (depending on water conditions)
- Gamakatsu Octopus Hook 5/0
- SHIMANO Trevala 6’0 H Saltwater Jigging Casting Rod
How and when to use this rig:
When fishing for black sea bass in deeper waters, it is necessary to select a weight that will work for the depth that you’re fishing in. Generally, the deeper the water, the larger the weight you should use. A 4 ounce sinker is generally adequate for 50-75 feet of water. If you get passed 100 ft, you’ll likely need to up that to anywhere from 6 to 12 ounces.
When using this rig, cut bait is the preferred bait. There are a variety of bait that will give you success ranging from squid, cut bluefish, shrimp etc. You may have to experiment with it to find what works on that particular day.
Keep in mind that black sea bass like to inhabit rocky bottoms near pilings, wrecks, and jetties. All of these locations are notorious for snags so you definitely want a leader that can be snapped off in such a scenario. 40-50 pound monofilament for the leader line with at least 50 pound braid for the main line should do the trick.
Having a leader also helps primarily stop the fraying of your braid when dropping on structure. Having fluorocarbon or mono tied to your mainline can help reduce abrasions each drop that would cause you to possibly snap off on a fish.
To anchor or not to anchor? It may be advantageous to not anchor for 2 reasons.
- If you’re fishing a wreck, you cover a lot less of a wreck and many times the fish are holding in one or two spots.
- It’s an inconvenience to anyone else who is also fishing the wreck because they have to work around your anchor rope. What can be done, and this takes practice, is to control the drift with your motor. Put your stern into the wind and hold the boat by bumping it in and out of reverse. You can hold it pretty steady that way almost all of the time once you get the hang of it.
If you’re fishing on a party boat, well, you won’t have to worry about anchoring or not.
With this rig, once you drop the rig down to the location, you don’t need to do much, just wait and feel for the bites. When you think a fish is on, just set the hook and reel up.
- Tie your 50 pound braid main line to the snap swivel You can use any knot that makes a secure attachment but I recommend a palomar knot. This will serve as your connection to the leader line.
- Now, let’s rig up the leader. All the loops on this leader setup are surgeon’s loops and you’re going to tie 5 surgeon’s loops (1 to attach to the snap swivel, 3 for the dropper loops and hooks, and the last one for the sinker weight). You don’t need to cut the leader line ahead of time. You can just tie the leader rig from the spool. Check out this video for tying a surgeon’s loop:
Unravel some leader line from the spool and tie the first loop for the swivel attachment. After that, let out some more line and tie the next loop. When you’re tying the subsequent loops, leave about 12-18 inches between each loop. You can alternate or vary the direction of the loops so the hooks aren’t all in one direction.
On the final loop for the sinker, you want the loop to be extra big as to leave some length for the sinker. See the following picture for a guide.
- At this point, you don’t need to tie anymore knots. Now it’s time to put on the hooks. Feed each surgeon’s loop through the eye of a hook and then wrap the loop around the hook to attach it.
- Finally, attach the sinker the same way you attached the hooks and snap the open loop onto the snap swivel. The finished rig should look like this.
There’s a little bit of setup involved but this rig works very well! You can make a bunch of the leader rigs and put them into ziplock bags for easy access while you’re out fishing. Go out there and test it out! Let me know if this rig is working for you and rate it at the top of this article.