Basic fishing rigs

Welcome to our guide to basic rigs.
The fishing rigs in this section are aimed at the novice angler, although due to their simplicity they are still used by the more experienced angler.

We have included a basic ledger rig along with a waggler float rig. They are easy and quick to implement meaning you can get that bait into the water more or less as soon as you arrive at the bank.

The basic running ledger rig.

This basic running ledger rig is ideal for both river and stillwater fishing. The fact that the ledger can slide up the line means that when a fish takes the bait the bite indication will be more prominent and the fish will feel less resistance during the take.

First pass the fishing line through the eye of the ledger leaving an excess of line of about 2ft (60cm).

Next tie on the hook of choice (see our guide) and trim the excess line close to the eye of the hook.

The last step is to fasten the split shot to the line between the ledger and the hook.

The amount of line you leave between the split shot and the hook will dictate the distance the bait is from the ledger.

Ideally you want between 18 inches and 3 foot, depending on the depth of water and the type of bait used. Light baits will float above the ledger, whereas heavy baits will sit on the bottom.

If you are using a light bait but you want it to sit on the bottom of the river or stillwater, then simply attach a small split shot to the line around 2 inches from the hook.

Additional benefits of using a split shot instead of tying the ledger directly to the line include the fact that the line is not weakened by a knot and also that the distance between the ledger and hook can be easily adjusted during your fishing session.

Variations of the running ledger rig.

There are several variations of the running ledger rig using slightly different tackle.

For example, a ledger stop can be used instead of the split shot (fig 1.2) to stop the ledger sliding into the hook. Ledger stops will be available at your local tackle shop and from many online fishing stores.

Also, instead of threading the line through the eye of the ledger, a snap swivel can be used (fig 1.3) which will allow the ledger to be changed in seconds.

This can be very useful if you want to change to a swimfeeder during your fishing session, or switch to a heavier or lighter lead weight with ease.

Additionally, a standard swivel can be placed between the main line and the hooklength (fig 1.4), this will allow a slightly thinner line to be used for the hooklength to aid bait presentation.

The basic waggler float rig.

This basic waggler float rig is very adaptable and easy to setup. It can be used on both rivers and stillwaters, and be set to varying fishing depths.

First pass the fishing line through the eye of the float leaving an excess of around 3 feet (90cm).

Next tie on the hook (see our guide) and trim the excess line close to the eye of the hook.

Each waggler float will have markings detailing the weight and amount of split shot required for it to sit right in the water.

Position the float the required distance from the hook, this will determine the depth at which the bait hangs under the float. The distance will depend on the depth you intend to fish.
The next step is to attach the split shots to the line, first of all place the split shot we have labeled A in fig 2.1, leaving the required distance between the split shot and the hook. Then place the split shot labeled B so the float is trapped between them as in our diagram.

The amount of smaller split shots will depend on how much weight is required for your particular float. The position of the remaining split shots will depend on how you want to present your bait in the water but, as a general rule, you should group a few smaller split shots roughly halfway between the float and the hook (labeled C in fig 2.1). Also, to sink the bait faster add a few more shots at regular intervals down the line (labeled D and E in fig 2.1).

The best way to discover the perfect setup for the positioning of the split shots is to experiment. Each venue you fish will differ and even each different swim may require a slightly different depth and therefore an adjustment to the setup of the rig.

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