Images Courtesy of Salty's Pompano Rigs shop
When I started exploring surf fishing, I had heard the expression "Pompano Rig" more times in a YouTube video than I could count. A quick Internet search, and I was rewarded with a bunch of content on what this magical rig was, how to tie it, where to buy it, and why it is useful. As a crash course, it was fun drinking from the fire hose of knowledge from these seasoned anglers about them and why they are so important. However, one video changed my view on them that I wasn't expecting, thanks to Tony Faggioni, the creator of FishGum.
I had previously purchased a double drop rig while traveling in the RV with my family when we were in Oregon. I went surf fishing for the first time with a friend & fellow traveler, and I didn't have the foggiest idea of what I needed or what I was doing. So I did what any good newb would do! I went to the local tackle shop and let them sell me what I needed. I was rewarded with this odd contraption filled with metal stoppers, pretty beads, pyramid sinkers, hooks, and Gulp® bait. I was going to catch all of the surfperch at the beach! Yeah, I didn't catch anything while my friend continuously brought them in. What am I doing wrong here? I went back to our RV and put all of my gear away, dejected.
Fast forward to this YouTube video from FishGum (link here), and I had the answer to that question. That rig had so much bling on it I might as well have held up a sign that said, "I WANT TO BRING YOU HOME TO EAT!" I realized that I needed to start tying my rigs or find some quality ones that I could use to fish and catch these fish. After I moved to Navarre, Florida and got acquainted with my local tackle shops, I picked up a couple of different rigs from Broxson Outdoors & Half Hitch along with properly sized hooks (hard to catch a fish with a 4/0 hook when its mouth doesn't open that wide). The rigs did the job, but I heard about some Alabama guy that made some awe-inspiring ones, and he would be coming to the Navarre Fishing Rodeo. I knew I had to meet this Salty's Pompano Rigs guy.
Okay, this part might seem somewhat stalkerish, but I did want to meet him in my defense, and he did say he would hand out some rigs if you stopped by and said hello. So it doesn't count as stalking. Moving on (awkward), I found Salty fishing next to Tony during the tournament and stopped by to meet him. He was extremely friendly and struck up a conversation even though he was fishing with his family. He handed me a couple of rigs, wished me luck in the tournament, and I quickly ran further down the beach to use them immediately.
I did just that when I got to my spot. I pulled off the store-bought rigs, threw a Salty's rig on my 11' runner and my 9' Battle 3, and cast them out, waiting for lightning to strike. It was a slow day for me, but I did hook up on Southern Kingfish (also known as a Whiting and If you read my sinker story, you know how that ended), and the rig held up perfectly. I was super excited now and couldn't wait to get some more fish to jump on this rig. I didn't get anything else for the tournament, but that was expected as I was still very much so still learning everything I could about this sport. It wouldn't be long before I started seeing how good these rigs were.
A couple of weeks went by, and I went out fishing with my friend Jeremiah at Marine Park in Navarre, Fl. I hooked up my Green and Yellow Salty's Pompano Rigs and stacked them on all of my rods. I cast 3 of 4 out when I had my first SNAP incident with a Salty Rig. I loaded up as I had several other times with the same weight on the rigs, and I heard that dreaded sound. I pulled in my rig that went 50 feet while my sinker went for a distance record and found that the swivel at the bottom that held the sinker on had snapped free. I felt sad but more so confused. Come to find out, after using a rig so many times and catching fish on it, you might want to inspect it from time to time. My rig broke because I failed to check my gear (there is a lesson here).
That same day, my rod did its happy dance that screamed "Big fish on!," and I sprung into action. I started to reel and felt plenty of head shakes and lots of weight. Jeremiah was at the waters edge coaching and cheering me on as I pulled in my first Red Drum on this rig. The fight was a lot of fun (as all Red Drum seem to be), lots of weight on the line and fighting until the very end where I pulled it up on shore. I was pumped when it came in and texted him with a thank you for this magical rig that helped me bring in this sweet 26" morsel. It was the only fish I caught that day, but I was on cloud nine.
I have used several different color schemes and each one has hit. In 2020 (I hate putting that number now), it was my primary rig that brough in several other Red's, many Whiting, and even my very first Pompano! These rigs were proving to be strong, and these fish loved them! It didn't matter the color either, as they all hooked up on fish.
Like all good rigs, they eventually break down and die. It's sad, especially after you have brought in so many different fish with them. But after this happens, you get to appreciate the craftsmanship of the rig. Let me explain, as I'm sure you're thinking; it's floats and hooks, man, what gives? Salty personally ties each rig and paints his hooks to match the floats, making an effective camouflage of the hook. That is one thing that I believe makes it a step above many other rigs on the market. With so many fish being sight feeders, the right color we know is good, but hiding the hook is a task we aim to master. His paint does that.
After a line breaks with his rig (all lines eventually do), I usually recycle it onto my double drop rigs until the hooks are no longer painted or usable. Then, I happily go and purchase another one from Half Hitch and continue the cycle. In full disclosure, I have had a couple fail on me. The truth of it is, though, those failures are entirely my doing. I forget to inspect my leader after catching a fish or after a long day of casting & reeling back in way too often. Each failure has been after extensive use and me not doing my job to inspect my gear. If I do remember (which does happen a little more often now), I put it aside and replace the leader material when I get home if it is about to fail. Then it is good to go again.
I am a massive fan of these rigs, and I know I will continue to be. Yes, I use other rigs (they too will get their review), but you never forget your first! Thank you, Salty McCrory, for bringing us an excellent product that truly does help the angler get an advantage. You can find his rigs online at SaltyMcCroryFishing, and you might be lucky enough to start seeing them in your local tackle shop! Added bonus, Salty is also doing "Goofy Jigs"!
Thank you for stopping by to read another review. Please let me know if there is a product out there you'd like to hear about, and I will try to get my hands on it to do so. Until next time, go forth and do good things!