A slip-weight rig is primarily a drifting set-up, but can also be used for still fishing or cast and retrieve, such as the Carolina Rig. Typically, these rigs are for drift fishing natural bait and the set-up requires a slip sinker of some type, a bead, a barrel swivel and a bait hook. However, artificial plastic baits and even lures can also be used.
There are numerous variations in the way this rig can be assembled, but the principle always remains the same. The weight is not fixed to the line so the line is free to move through the weight with little resistance when a fish strikes. This is more natural for the fish and will result in more hook-ups. The downside is that there is an increased risk the fish will swallow the hook and not survive.
Basic assembly of a slip-weight rig. The main line (1) coming from the rod. A weight (2) and plastic bead (3) are threaded on to the main line. The bead protects the knot and also prevents it from lodging into the weight thread hole. The tag end is then tied onto a barrel swivel, or a clamp weight or bobber stop is added (4) to create a fixed stopping point for the slip weight. A 12" to 48" piece of leader line is then tied on to the barrel swivel (if used) (5). The leader line typically terminates with a bait hook; but a crawler harness, bait spinner or lure can also be used (7). Both natural and artificial plastic bait can be fished with this set up (8). When a bait hook is used, a pill float (6) can be slipped onto the leader line to raise the hook up from the lake bottom.
The most common slip-weight rig is the Lindy rig (see A to F below). This rig uses a walking slip-weight and a bait hook, like an Octopus hook, with a worm, minnow or leech. The walking sinker is designed to move along the lake bottom with less resistance and to reduce getting caught up on rocks or other debris. Often a foam float is added on the line before the hook or a floating jig head to help raise the bait from the lake bottom for better presentation. You can even use a crawler harness or other type of spinner instead of a plain bait hook for added flash.
The length of the leader line (the line between the hook and the barrel swivel or weight stop) is typically anywhere between 18” to 48”; and will depend on your speed, rig set-up (float or not, type of weight) and the bottom structure where you're fishing. You can also make the leader length adjustable by replacing the fixed barrel swivel with a split shot, BB shot or a bobber stop/bead; this known as a Roach Rig. In addition to the standard walking sinker you can also use an egg sinker, a No-Snagg Lindy weight, a pencil weight, a bell sinker attached to a swivel or clip or a chain weight (see I to R below).
You can also increase the distance between the weight and the leader line by using a pencil weight attached to a quick change clevis or a dropper line (see N to R below). This can be done by tying a short piece of line (12” to 24”) to a barrel swivel and attaching either a series of split/BB shot to the dropper line or a bell sinker (see N, O annd P below). The dropper line can also be made adjustable by passing the line through the barrel sinker and fixing either a split/BB shot or a bobber stop to it (see Q and R below). This setup is more akin to a three-way setup, but still incorporates the key features of a slip-weight rig. If you want to fish lures with a slip-weight rig, this is the setup you should be using to help reduce the risk of snagging.
Shown below are several examples of slip-weight rig set ups.
A) A typical Lindy Rig set-up with a nightcralwer. This particular rig uses a walking sinker and bead (which protects the knot and the barrel swivel from passing through the hole in the sinker) passed through the main line which is tied to a barrel swivel. The 18” to 48” leader line is tied to a bait hook, such as an Octopus hook, and the barrel swivel.
B) Similar to A, but a foam float is added onto the leader line. The foam floats slip on the line and are not fixed. The floats come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.
C, D) Similar to B, but using a minnow or a leech as bait. All natural and artificial plastic baits can be used on a slip-weight rig.
E) Similar to B, but instead of a bait hook and float, a floating jig head can be used. Floating jig heads come in a variety of styles with varying shapes and colors.
F) Similar to A, but a crawler harness is used in place of a bait hook. A single or multiple hook harness or spinner, such as a Victor Spoon, can be used with natural or artificial plastic bait.
G) Similar to the Lindy Rig is the Roach Rig. The difference here is that the position in which the slip-weight stops along the main line is adjustable. This basically adjusts the length of the leader line. A bead and a bobber stop along the main line before the barrel swivel creates a new stopping point for the weight.
H) Similar to G, but instead of using a bobber stop and beads, a split shot or BB shot is clamped onto the line to create the stopping point for the slip-weight.
I) Instead of a walking sinker, other types of weights can be used. This shows a pencil weight attached to the main line using a quick-change clevis. This makes the line slide more freely through the weight. The advantage of this setup is that the hook/leader line is now raised 18” above the lake bottom.
J) Similar to B, but an egg sinker is used instead of a walking sinker.
K) Similar to B, but a bell sinker attached to a snap swivel is used in place of the walking sinker.
L) Similar to K, but a specialized line cip is used instead of a snap swivel.
M) Similar to E, but a sliding chain weight is used instead of a walking sinker.
N) Similar to A, but instead of using a walking sinker, a dropper line is used. The dropper line is simply a length of monofilament, ~12” to 24”, that is tied to a barrel swivel, clasp swivel or some other type of sliding weight clamp. A series of split shot, clam shot or BB shot is then attached to the dropper line. The advantage to this is that the dropper line raises the hook/leader line above the lake bottom.
O)Similar to N, but instead of the shot weight a bell sinker is used. This setup works best if you plan on using lures like spoons, spinners and crank baits.
P) Similar to O, but the in-line barrel swivel has been replaced with a bead and bobber stop to make the leader line length adjustable.
Q) Similar to O, but the dropper line is not tied to the barrel swivel. Instead, the end of the dropper line has a bead and bobber stop attached which prevents it from passing through the barrel swivel. This allows the length of the dropper line to become adjustable.
R) Similar to Q, but a split shot weight is used instead of a bead and bobber stop.