Whenever game fish are in deep water—40, 50, or even 60 feet below the surface—you’ll need a fair amount of weight to reach them. But sometimes those fish are feeding on relatively small baitfish and in order to match the hatch, you need to present a small lure that’s too light to put into the strike zone. The answer: tie up a tandem rig. These double-lure rigs allow you to combine a heavy lure with a light one on the very same rig, so you can jig them both down deep. Here’s the low-down on how to tie your own tandem rigs.


Just in case you watched this video and you’re wondering how to get to those knot videos we mentioned, here are some links for you:

Now that you have your tandem rig all set up, how will you fish it? For suspended deep-water fish, this rig is commonly jigged with big upward sweeps of the rod. Let the rig fall back down naturally, but lower your rod tip slowly enough that you can maintain tension on the line or you won’t feel it when a fish strikes. When you do feel that bump (or the rig mysteriously stops falling) set the hook immediately.

In some areas of the nation smaller, lighter versions of tandem rigs are also used for cast-and-retrieve fishing. Inshore anglers casting in the Carolinas, for example, often use tandem rigs tied with small bucktails. There’s not a huge difference in how they’re made, but the leader lengths are usually cut down by about one third.

Yellow-fin Sea Trout Tip: Sometimes this species reacts better to a more mellow style of jigging. At times “dead-sticking” the rig (holding your rod steady or even putting it in a rodholder and allowing the rocking motion of the boat to impart all the action to the lures) works best. 

Written by: Lenny Rudow
With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to publications including YachtWorld, boats.com, Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and he has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.