This is one of my more secret rigs I've designed for catfishing. I've shown several folks how to use and set this up but never put it in print ... this is a little hard to show people how to do this in print but I'm gonna try my best and make it as simple as possible to understand with a few photos and also a few techiques to use this collapsable rig.
What this rig does is allow you to fish 3 Baits at 3 different levels with one fishing pole ... what you start out with is a 50 lb test Big Game Leader ... Plastic Beads and about 2" pieces of insulated copper telephone wire... you can buy this wire at walmart. ... the length of this leader should be about 3 ft to 5 ft longer than the depth you're fishing if you're going to use a float. I'll explain this in a photo diagram for better understanding. The float should be a balloon .. something that can be seen very easily but you can use anything ... I like using balloons because they're easy to work with and don't cost a lot. You can also make them any size you want by just blowing them up to whatever size you want and you can't do this with noodles or jugs. If you're fishing this rig straight down from the boat you can have the leader as long as the top depth you want to fish.
The type of fish you can catch with this rig is mostly bluecat and striper or hybrids while drifting or anchored over structure.
The beads are pretty self explanatory as they are what the wire butt up against ... the wire works as a line gripping device .. the more coils and tighter you tighten the wire around the line the harder it is to pull the beads down ... the wire holds the swivels wherever you set them on the leader ... like if you see baitfish at a range of 8 to 15 ft from bottom and a few scattered on bottom you can set one bait right close to bottom and then slide up the other two swivels to 10 ft and 15 ft and tighten the wires up however tight you want them to be. 8/0 circle hooks seem to be the best hooks for this rig and set the wires to slide with about 3 to 4 lbs pressure. This is mostly just a feel thing so experiment with it all and you can even think up new ways to use these components as well to fit your style of fishing.
When drifting with collapsables I like to have 4 rods set up with collapsables in back of the boat and two on planer boards with one trailing behind the boat on a balloon. This usually produces a lot of fish and is hard work. Requires a lot of fresh bait too especially if you're using live bait rigs ... I'd use live bait more in clearer water conditions and in muddy water use cut bait more. It all just depends on the water clarity during the day ... at night I use more cut bait than live unless the live bait is producing more fish.
All you do to hook up the balloon is put another swivel and beads on top of the rig ... like 5 total instead of just 4 like in the photo above one for the weight on bottom and one for the balloon on top. It's also best to use about a 4ft drop leader attached to the balloon so that if a boat runs between your boat and your balloon rig it won't be able to get it's prop in your line.
The diagram here shows my standard drifting setup on one side of the boat ... there would be two more rods set on the other side as well and if I wanted to cover more water I'd use a planer board also to set an additional rig on both sides of the boat. This is pretty hard to juggle the planer boards but if I'm really serious about catching lots of fish I'll go ahead and use them. The advantage to these collapsable rigs is you will catch a lot more of the fish that your bait drifts underneath with standard drifting setups. Bluecat will often be suspended right in amongst the baitfish feeding so if you're drifting on bottom only you'll be missing a lot of opportunities at the suspended fish. The reason I named them collapsable is pretty simple to figure out as when you get a fish on all you have to do is reel it up and the whole thing will collapse so you can net the fish.
This diagram below shows you a single long distance collapsable balloon rig. The reason for the castnet weight is to hold the line down. This is my "Brute Force" Fishing setup. This is where I use my bait deployment system and can use 14 of these rigs simultaneously with the boat anchored ... if you're going to use the balloon rig drifting back a long ways from your boat you'll have to set it up like this one too because if you don't a boat will come through and wrap it's prop up in your line. This type fishing produces a staggering amount of fish as it's basically the same as juglining except for you're attending the hooks instead of just setting the jugs and coming back the next day ... this requires lots of bait and a couple of dedicated fishermen/fisherwomen to pull off and also requires a bait deployment system (dam boat) to broadcast the rigs. This is also a fair weather fishing technique ... you can't use this when the lake is whitecapping because your BDS will capsize. The size weight I use for Brute Force is 6 to 8 oz and the size I use for drifting is 1 to 2 oz.
These are just some of the ways to use collapsable rigs and I'm sure that with a little thought some of you can come up with different ways to use them. This is my most secret fishing techniques and my own design through trial and error and I hope it helps some of you (my friends) catch more fish. :)Good Fishing!
July 5th, 2002