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Important Lesson Learned for the Mortician Rig

So many snoods

If you haven't seen the video from Chip "The Sinker Guy" on the Morticians rig, I highly recommend checking it out (click here to watch). The rig is extremely versatile in that you can make several drops on it with the added safety of knowing that you can throw it with some extra oompf since you're using a heavier pound leader. Let us talk about the rig first, though.

When I first heard about this rig, I was skeptical, only for the reason that I had fallen in love with tying my double drop Pompano rigs or using rigs from several local makers (Salty's Pompano Rigs, SnJ Pompano Rigs, A1A Surf & Jetty). The part that picked my interest, though, was the thought of not having to hear that SNAP sound on a cast (you know what I'm talking about, and if you don't go back to the Sinker Story and it will make a lot more sense) when I was throwing a heavier weight. I learned quickly that a 20-pound line does not like it when I throw 5 oz weights. It BARELY likes it when I throw 4 ounces. But this line incorporates that with an added part of stealth in the snoods.

The snoods are attached to the mainline of the mortician, but they are a lighter pound test. I have heard of some people using 8 lbs fluorocarbon for theirs! That's too light for me, and I will say, if it works for you and you're bringing in fish, keep it right up! I am using 30 lbs fluorocarbon made by Palomar. It is a thin diameter, so it is different than your typical 30 lbs one. I also have 15 lbs fluorocarbon that I've tried, and it works well. The point being, the lighter test is less visible in the water (by accounts of those that have fished longer than I have), so you're still fishing smartly.

Things that I like about the snoods are that if I hook up on a ray (which happens more often than I'd like here in the Panhandle), It will break the snood before it breaks my line (fear not, the hook will come out and the ray will be OK). The other reason is that the snood can spin about the mainline freely in a circle without tangling up. The fish is free to move as it wishes while the rest of the line is spun around on the retrieve. Finally, if I break a snood, I just put a new one on and continue fishing. This happened to me yesterday while fishing. I was back in action in less than 3 minutes, and I caught a Pompano within five minutes after casting.

Now, let's talk about what I've learned after having one of the best days of fishing in my life (catching 30+ Pompano and throwing back keeper size in search of a 3 lbs slab for a tournament!). I was hooking up on every cast, but I noticed that I was breaking off at the snood several times. At first, I was attributing it to a toothy creature, and that was just the nature of doing business, and then I saw several Pompano get off right at the shore. Something was not right about this setup! I was getting mad that my perfectly tied snells were not doing their job, and I lost fish.

After the day was done, I talked with several friends, and they all had some excellent input about possible causes. One is that the snell was getting cut off on the hook's eye since there is a small opening at the bottom. This seemed very reasonable as I was thinking it was cutting off. Then, I called Chip "The Sinker Guy" about this, and he said he could see that as a possibility but thought that it could be something else as he uses the same hooks and hasn't had that issue. So back to the drawing board, and that's when I saw it. The failure was from me cutting my tag end right up to be flush, and the line was slipping through.

When I was snelling the hook, I would take one end and run it through the hook side of the eye. Then, I would take the other end and wrap it around the first end 8-9 times before running that end back through the eye and cinching it down, which created the "knotless" knot. I would have a tag end still, so I cut it like I would any other knot and right up at the end of the loop. When I was holding the rig in my hand, I happened to push off some tension from the line and noticed it was loosening up. When I pulled it back tight again, the tag end had moved up three loops. That shouldn't happen! I did the same action several more times with the same effect happening of the tag end approaching the eye. Sure enough, after about 8-10 tries, it finally passed through the eye, and the hook came free from the line.

Here is a live explanation of the mistake

At first, this action didn't make sense because this was me manually manipulating it. Then I started thinking about how our bait is when it is in the water. A video I watched from FishGum on his Go Fish Camera came back into my mind as I saw the bait flowing with the water. The hook was constantly flowing, and that was the push and pulling needed to loosen it up. The error was entirely on how I tied my rig!

I have now found a different way of tying my snoods to prevent this from happening again. I use a combination of knots now to see which one is going to break or hold up. My primary tie is a Palomar Knot. This has become one of my favorite knots to tie and is now a muscle memory for me. It has held up on each hook-up and has not shown signs of wear. My other method is a snell but using a knot instead of the knotless. It, too, has held up very well with no signs of failure or wear. So, in the end, I learned a critical lesson about my knots that I hope you won't have to. If you're going to use the knotless version, I recommend leaving a little more end available on the tag side. It will be in line with the hook, so it shouldn't be a warning to fish when they come eating.

Do you tie snells? What is your method of choice? Please leave a comment so we can all learn from each other. Thanks for coming by and reading today! If you'd like to request something to be investigated or written about, please send me an email to, and I will get on it. Thanks again, now go forth and do good things!

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