How to: Slip Sinker Rig

by Paul Argodale
Slip sinker rig handiwork on a platter.

Slip sinker rig handiwork on a platter.

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Bottom feeding is the exclusive feeding behavior of catfish and carp, though other species engage in it according to season or spawning routine. In all cases, a slip sinker rig is an excellent means of presenting live bait to a bottom-feeding fish. Combining simplicity and effectiveness, the slip sinker rig is an elegant, easy-to-assemble piece of equipment that deserves a place in every fisherman's arsenal.

Items you will need

  • Hook
  • Leader line
  • Swivel
  • Plastic bead
  • Sinker
Step 1

Tie your hook to the leader using a slipknot. Tie the leader to one end of the swivel. Thread the main fishing line through the eye of the sinker, then tie it to the free end of the swivel. Insert a glass bead above the sinker to prevent its eye from rubbing and possibly weakening your knot.

Step 2

Bait your hook with the appropriate bait for the species you are after. Nightcrawlers are best for catfish; dough balls are best for carp; minnows are best for walleye. Cast your baited slip sinker rig into relatively deep water, 8 feet or more. Allow the sinker to reach the bottom. Raise the sinker from the bottom and lower it again with a gentle back-and-forth movement of the rod.

Step 3

When you feel a strike, allow the fish to run with your bait. When the run stops, count to five and set the hook.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose heavier leaders and sinkers and larger hooks for catfish. Fishing for walleyes with a slip sinker rig is especially popular in the spring, though this species requires much lighter equipment.
  • Avoid snags by keeping your rig moving with gentle back-and-forth movements of the rod.

About the Author

Paul Argodale has written for the "Village Voice" in New York City, as well as several specialized academic journals. He holds a Master of Arts in applied linguistics and a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics and philosophy.

Photo Credits

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