Using weights to keep your fishing bait on or near the bottom is a good tactic for getting in the strike zone, but sometimes it just aids in getting your rig hung up in debris. A number of solutions are out there, and although it’s impossible to avoid getting hung up 100% of the time, using the proper type of weight can certainly reduce it.
Santee Cooper catfish and striper guides began making their own weights years ago to lessen their chances of getting snagged in all the debris that litters Lakes Marion and Moultrie, and they are so prominent there, that anglers across the southeast know them as Santee Rigs. Some folks call them slinky weights
Instead of one hunk of lead, fishing guides like Capt. Linwood Thornhill use weights made up of buckshot that is sewn into a soft fabric like the outer coating of parachute cord or nylon rope material. The weights can vary from 2- to 5-inches long, and typically weigh anywhere from an ounce on up to 4-ounces. The buckshot is pushed into the fabric in a straight line, then the ends are sewn, glued, or burned shut with an eyelet or swivel threaded through one end.
Long and thin, these weights are usually added onto the mainline above the swivel in the same manner that egg sinkers are added to Carolina rigs. With no hard edges and such a slim profile, they are far less prone to snagging, even when the angler is drifting or trolling. Adding a crappie float between the sinker and hook also helps.
“They slide through that stuff like a worm,” said Thornhill (843-351-4238), who said typical Carolina rigs with egg sinkers get hung up far more often than you would think.
For saltwater angling, Capt. Rick Percy of Reel Chance Charters in Beaufort, S.C. has pretty well given up on the Carolina rig too. He now relies on what is known as a knocker rig, which is basically a Carolina rig with the swivel removed. It’s similar to what bass anglers call a Texas rig.
“You don’t use a swivel. You just put a bead between the hook and the egg sinker, so the sinker and bead can slide all the way to the hook. If you get hung up, you just pop your rod hard and make the sinker knock into the hook. It frees from the snag more often than not,” said Percy (803-535-6166).