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Thread: Bank Rigs for River Sturgeon?

  1. #1
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    Question Bank Rigs for River Sturgeon?

    So I am gearing up for bank fishing for sturgeon. I have fished for them most of my fishing life and I know exactly how to get them from boats. I am wondering though what the variations of bank rigs there are. I saw a guy one time fishing with the hook attached about 10 inches above the lead on just a loop so the bait was essentially near the main line above the lead.. It worked for him pretty good.. I am going to try that and the basic boat rigs but does anyone else know of any alternate rigs or has anyone tried that mainline bait method I mentioned above??
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  2. #2
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    I use that "short leader" rig close to the mainline. The lead dropper length varies depending on where I'm fishing. I'll see if I can put some pictures together.
    -Ken

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  3. #3
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    Thank you Ken! Any info I would appreciate
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  4. #4
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    Fishing in the rocks, I've always done well using a 3-way swivel - short dropper (6-10" at best) with a teardrop sinker 4-10oz depending on the current, and then 12-24" dacron leader. The Brad's pre-tied sturgeon leaders haven't given me any problems and they come with factory barbless hooks.

    Keeping it close to the weight is critical since they will be looking for the bait close or on the bottom.

    On a flat bottom with sand or mud, I like using a slider with no dropper, and a pyramid or bank sinker, 24" leader.

    The mainline bait rig mentioned above sounds verrrry similar to the worm plunking rigs that I used to fish with as a kid... very easy to tie and very effective for panfish & trout. Have caught sturgeon on this method as well.

    Tie a weight at the bottom of your mainline, make a couple overhand loops spaced anywhere from 6-12" apart. I used to make 3 loops about a foot apart, then attach a baitholder hook with a pretied loop to each mainline loop.
    NOTE: Fishing for sturgeon you can only legally use 1 single point barbless hook. The sturgeon I caught on the 3-hook rig were bycatch plunking worms for panfish...

    Sounds like the only difference is he's forgoing the baitholder hook and simply attaching the hook directly to the loop. I'd imagine that probably works well. I personally like a dacron leader since the sturgeon's scutes are very sharp and can easily fray line pretty bad. In the spring time when we fish for sturgeon on slow springer days, I bring a roll of 40# UG and tie up a few quick leaders on the water, and they thrash 40# pretty easily.
    Last edited by Twise95; 10-25-2016 at 11:00 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Your sand rig is my standard boat rig, no dropper, but a slider.... I think ill go buy some dacron and some Gama big river bait hooks and a few circle hooks and make up a few rigs...

    Anyone have anything to say on circle hooks? How about ,, what to do when you get hit in a rod holder from the bank with a circle hook? How should the rod be setup? open bail with clicker? or locked down drag open? or drag locked so circle hook can hook the fish?
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  6. #6
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    IMO -Don't bother with circles for this, go with 9/0 or larger octopus hooks and you'll have better hookup ratios. If you want to experiment with them for fun, the trick is NEVER DO ANYTHING except allow the fish to develop tension, you have to let the fish engulf the bait and slowly swim off - to allow a nice slow loading of the rod - pulling the hook into an edge of the mouth to purchase with the point which then uses line tension to rotate. It takes the fish turning completely or most of the way away from you after taking the bait to have a successful hookup and often times sturgeon stay oriented with the current and this doesn't happen.

    The BRB hooks are crazy expensive and extremely heavy in 9/0 (I use those for Halibut), VMC barbless are a tiny fraction of the price and work very well.

    Dacron is great with a less crazy bottom, some spots in the Willamette I use #50 mono instead as the hooks will find bedrock occasionally.

    With your bite alarms you could probably experiment with open bail or very loose drags, with how tiny the oscillations of the rod are without an alarm - normally need a closed bail and average fighting drag tension to view the bites (that rod tip will bounce 1/4 of an inch is all sometimes, and sometimes they hit it like a salmon). Those tiny little bites would be missed without an alarm with an open bail I think.
    "Chuck Norris talks in the fourth person"

  7. #7
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    Not running a bite alarm, that is plastic and would break.. just the home made sand spike I am getting a new ABU Garcia 7000 "Catfish" though this week for the rod im using. That reel would ofc have the built in "nasty sounding" bite alarm...

    thanks for the info in the circle hooks.. sounds difficult.. So you are saying that even from the bank, the 9/o Octopus is ok for bank use?
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  8. #8
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    That's what I use, but you don't have to go that big if you don't want to. 5/0 hooks leftover from bobber fishing with the barb pinched work great.
    "Chuck Norris talks in the fourth person"

  9. #9
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    well I actually read something on a forum the other day where a guy said he was using 5/0 and he felt it was costing him a lot of bites.. then moved to an 8/0 and had a much higher hookup rate.. he was using octopus and big rivers, but I think your on to something about the larger hooks. Just wanted to clarify with you. I have some 9/0s here already.. so good to go?

    Yes I looked and I have 8/0 and 9/0 so thats good!,, lol.. robbed my old sturgeon boat box ...
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    One t0 MaNy cArp's 0n tHe braIn "2017"~<)))><


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    Fighting over the fish will only serve to divert us from our common goal ><,>

    "The more I see the less I know" Anthony Bourdain

  10. #10
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    I think it comes down to remaining hook gap after the bait is on, and sometimes I'll use pretty fat chunks of bait so I've stayed with huge hooks. Using a 5/0 and a 8" squid isn't going to leave much hook available unless you rig it so the hook is completely below the bait or something.
    "Chuck Norris talks in the fourth person"

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