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October 25, 2001

Grouper Rig

Years of bottom fishing on my charter boat have helped me develop a simple, cheap, convenient and quick terminal rig for grouper.

Years of bottom fishing on my charter boat have helped me develop a simple, cheap, convenient and quick terminal rig for grouper. First, I make a winder out of a 42-inch length of 1- by 4-inch pine board by cutting inch-deep notches in each end to keep line from slipping off, then drill a small hole near one end through which to tie the line. When refilling my reels, I usually strip off and discard the first 100 yards of line, then recycle the underlying monofilament as leader material. Wind used line from the reel onto the board very tightly -- the coils will stretch out in a day or two, leaving straight, 40-inch lengths when you cut the mono at each end of the winder.
Next, make a leader holder from a 33-inch section of 3/4-inch, schedule 20 PVC pipe. I keep three of these homemade holders attached upright to the side of my console and another in the cockpit. Tie your favorite hook (I use size 7 VMC Easy Baiter circle hooks) to a pre-cut leader using a loop knot. I prefer a Homer Rhodes loop with two turns (instead of just one) in the upper knot. Do not tie a swivel to the other end. Tie 10 leaders for each holder, then slip them in, leaving the hooks hanging on the rim of the PVC pipe.
To use a rig, pull a leadered hook from the holder, slide an egg sinker up the main line, and attach the leader with a surgeon's knot. The bulky surgeon's knot stops the sinker as well as any swivel would, and I can replace a rig in 30 seconds.
I start out my charters with 40 pre-rigged leaders and usually have 10 or fewer when I return to the dock. A box of 500 hooks lasts about one month; the VMC circle hooks I use are expensive but worth it. By eliminating a 20-cent swivel from each rig, I save about $100 per month.

Capt. Ken Roy, Crystal River, Florida