How To Tie A Dropper Rig (The Quick & Easy Way)

how to tie a dropper rig

In this video, I’m going to show you how to tie a dropper rig so you can catch more sheepshead and mangrove snapper (plus a ton of other species).

One of the best ways to catch these fish is by fishing with live bait, like shrimp or fiddler crabs, on the bottom, and one of my favorite ways to rig them is with a dropper rig.

However, many people tie this rig the wrong way, which leads to them getting easily broken off by big fish.

Watch the video below to see step-by-step instructions on how to tie this rig the quick and easy way.

Enjoy!

How To Tie The Dropper Rig [VIDEO]

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Here’s how to tie the dropper rig step by step:

Step 1: Form a loop about 2 feet long

dropper rig loop

Step 2: Pinch the line about 2/3 of the way to the end of the loop

dropper rig step by step

Step 3: Tie 3 or 4 overhand knots at the pinch

dropper rig tutorial

Step 4: Cut one side of the loop so that it’s no longer a loop

dropper rig for sheepshead

Step 5: Tie a loop on the tag end for the weight

dropper rig for mangrove snapper

Note: be sure to tie this loop on the end that’s not inline with the mainline. That is the stronger part of the rig and is where you tie the hook.

Step 6: Attach a weight to the loop by putting the loop through the eye of the weight and looping it around the weight

inshore dropper rig

Step 7: Tie the hook onto the rig

dropper rig step by step

Note: make sure that the hook is above the weight like in the picture above.

Conclusion

sheepshead

Using shrimp, fiddler crabs, or sand fleas is a great way to catch sheepshead, snapper, or other game fish that hang out near structure.

There are many ways to rig them, but the dropper rig is one of my favorites.

What’s your favorite rig for fishing live bait near structure?

Have any questions about using the dropper rig?

Let me know in the comments below.

And if you know someone who needs to learn how to tie this rig, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Norm Oleson
Norm Oleson
4 months ago

Your video is a real gem. Both the presentation and technique are excellent. Those new to tying dropper loop rigs should kiss your ring as this is the simplest method I have found in years of searching. For non believers check the internet. It is littered with dozens of DIY videos that require the dexterity of a surgeon plus the patience few anglers posses or surrender to the use of the ultimate insult . . the peg board.

RICHARD FIORENTINO
RICHARD FIORENTINO
5 months ago

If you put the weight on before you cut the loop, you can’t confuse the two lines.

Greg Prevatt
Greg Prevatt
6 months ago

What a simple way to tie a dropper rig. I always thought it looked like such a complicated setup.
I could see this working well in deeper offshore waters for Lane Snapper, Triggers, Mangrove, etc as well.

Richard Shepherd
Richard Shepherd
6 months ago

Great demo Tony,
I would add at the beginning of the knot tying when you lay the lines side by side take a highlighter or sharpie ,rub it on the main line so when you cut the end for the hook you know witch end is not relying on a knot.
I’m hope this was ok.

Russell Lacoste
Russell Lacoste
6 months ago

Good video on the dropper rig, do you add a second dropper? Showing the rod with the heavy cord is a wonderful idea for us guys with less than perfect eyesight.

Michael Van Laanen
Michael Van Laanen
6 months ago

What do you use for bait on this rig when going after bait fish??

Michael Van Laanen
Michael Van Laanen
6 months ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Thanks Tony.

Robert Cirulnick
Robert Cirulnick
6 months ago

Hi Tony,
Great meeting you at the Meetup, and thanks for another great video!

I have very spotty results when in most cases the crabs are getting robbed. I am trying to set the hook when I feel a bite or nibble but I’m not having much success. I am using a 2oz triangle weight. Any ideas???

Thanks again,
Bob

Adam Collier
Adam Collier
6 months ago

I like my variation a little better and it works great for live croaker to catch trout

Adam Collier
Adam Collier
6 months ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

It starts with a 3-4’ leader. Fold in half. Tie a overhand loop knot. On one end tie another overhand loop knot for the sinker. On the other side I use a Palomar knot to tie a croaker hook on with it 4-6” shorter than my sinker to keep him off the bottom and above grass etc. the top loop knot gets a swivel slipped on. I have pictures of it all that I can send if you tell me where.

John Martin
John Martin
6 months ago

Hi Tony ,John Here, thanks tons for this drop shot video, just here for the winter. I am a bait fishermen . and this method is so simple.Do you still use Braid as your main line or just mono ?

Nick Caldarelli
Nick Caldarelli
6 months ago

Hi Tony. Is there a variation of this technique to add two hooks?

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 months ago

I’d like to know the answer to this also

Harvey
Harvey
6 months ago

Silly question, can this set up be scaled up for big grouper? Big hook, super heavy weight, 100lb mono? or is it best served for bait fish or smaller game fish?

Harvey
Harvey
6 months ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

Tony,
Thanks for the info. ill check out a big swivel.

Benedict Castellano
Benedict Castellano
6 months ago

I often use this type of rig often with two hooks off the main line. I have learned that when dropping deep the weight will often spin on the way down and this causes the hook lines to twist around the main line. A swivel on the weight helps eliminate this issue.

Anonymous
Anonymous
6 months ago

I also use a swivel, easy weight on and off!

Adam Austin
Adam Austin
6 months ago

Ahh, so you’re just tying overhand knot loops. You’re not tying an actual drop loop knot that stands out sideways from the line. This one is certainly less complicated. Not sure what the difference is in performance between the two.

Joe Bartolone
Joe Bartolone
6 months ago

I have had some success using a traditional drop shot rig for sheepshead. I have tried two different methods of attaching the hook. The first is to attach the hook directly to the line and the second is to have the hook hang about 2-3″ off the line. The direct connect method seems to give me a better feel for the light sheepshead bites. I have been using a #1 or #4 Gamakatsu or Owner octopus hook. I also use a pencil style drop shot weight with the line clip feature which minimizes snags and allows for easy changes to match current speed.

Thanks for all your tips.

Joe Bartolone
Joe Bartolone
6 months ago
Reply to  Tony Acevedo

No, actually by using the smaller hooks (#1 or #4) results in most of the fish being hooked in the soft tissue around the outer edge of the sheepshead’s mouth. It’s hard to pull the hook out with a pliers. The technique I’ve been using is to hold on to the line as the bait descends so I can detect any quick bite. Once I feel the initial tap, I wait a few seconds and make sure there is no slack in the line. Once I feel the fish pulling away, I set the hook.

Raleigh Thomas
Raleigh Thomas
6 months ago

Good tip to minimize hardware like 3-way swivels.
I do mine a little different, using a figure-8 loop coming off the side, a couple inches long, and use a piece of leader varying from 6” to a few feet, with a loop on one end and the hook on the other. Using a loop to loop connection, the mainline loop helps hold the hook leader away from the line, and you can change hook leader sections easy if it gets chafed up or broken off. Great forum!

Anthony Scot McGallicher
Anthony Scot McGallicher
6 months ago

Great video Tony!

David Yarber
David Yarber
6 months ago

I’ll definitely check this out. I’ve been using a triple swivel set up and this looks like a superior method. Thanks guys.

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