Twice as nice: Tandem rig tips

A clip-on crappie float will help keep your double rigs from sinking below trout, guide Ted DeAgano III said.
A clip-on crappie float will help keep your double rigs from sinking below trout, guide Ted DeAgano III said.

Guide uses clip-on cork to keep both lures in strike zone longer

When using a tandem rig — two jigheads or soft plastic lures attached to the same fishing line — anglers need to keep in mind what that presentation looks like to the fish they are targeting.

Capt. Ted DeAgano III, with Scales-N-Tales Charters out of Hopedale, always rigs up with a lighter jighead and smaller bait in front, and a slightly larger, heavier bait behind to simulate a life-and-death baitfish chase.

“Speckled trout and redfish are aggressive predator fish, so if they see another baitfish chasing  something else, they’re going to go on the instant attack because they just can’t resist it,” he said. “I normally put a Matrix Shad or a Bull Minnow or something of that nature chasing a Sparkle Beetle or even a Vudu shrimp in the front.

“You want it a little lighter so it’s hanging higher, and the other bait appears that it’s coming from underneath to grab the smaller bait — just like the speckled trout or redfish would be doing on the attack.”

Vertically on his line, DeAgano’s lead bait is about 6 inches higher than his second lure. A steady retrieve is also key to a successful tandem rig presentation, he said.

“It’s not a bounce bait,” DeAgano said. “You’re imitating fish on the attack, and fish on the attack don’t sit there and bounce up and down.”

The strike zone

The long-time guide even breaks out a 2-inch clip-on sac-a-lait cork attached just above his tandem rig to help anglers keep both lures in the strike zone longer.

“Your inexperienced fishermen will drop the bait all the way to the bottom and get snagged up,” he said. “You want to keep your bait up a little bit, and the cork actually helps it float.

“If you keep it up, you’ll be in the strike zone a lot longer instead of dropping down below all your speckled trout.”

He typically uses a 40-pound mono leader for his tandem rig setup.

“I prefer monofilament over fluorocarbon because it’s got a different float,”DeAgano said. “It sinks faster and it drifts differently than fluorocarbon. Fluoro is light and will hang a lot higher and not sink as fast.”

Editor’s Note: You can contact Capt. Ted DeAgano III with Scales-N-Tales Charters out of Hopedale at 504-858-9306.

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Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and