Decoy Rigging Part 2
For Part 1, click here Decoy Rigging Part 1
When most people think about decoy rigging, they often picture decoy cords wrapped around decoy keels and attached to an anchor. Some people picture the more modern Texas Rigs, but there are other types of decoy rigging available to waterfowlers. These other types of rigging offer decoy spread layout options not often utilized by many waterfowlers. Maybe one of these options will open up new waterfowling opportunities for you.
If you hunt deeper water or just prefer braided decoy cord, these decoy rigs are fairly simple as well. This rig consists of an anchor, decoy cord, and a large, heavy-duty snap swivel. Again, you must determine the water depth you are hunting and cut the cord to an appropriate length. This set-up offers the advantage of anchoring decoys in a wider range of water depths as the excess cord can be wrapped around the decoy keel. Once you have decided on a cord length, you must choose the style of anchor that best suits the water conditions. For shallow water, egg sinkers, lead straps, or lead J-shaped anchors work great. For heavy current, wind, or tides mini mushroom anchors and lead ingots are top performers. After you have decided on the best anchor, the only thing left is putting it together. Tie one end of the decoy cord to the anchor with a strong, secure knot. Tie the other end of the cord to the snap swivel, and you are done. Snap the swivel onto your decoy, and it is ready to hunt. If you want a more permanent set-up, eliminate the snap swivel and tie the cord directly to the decoy keel. Using a loop knot will give the decoy a greater freedom of movement in wind or current, much like the snap swivel does. When stored, wrap the cord around the keel or Firgure-8 the cord around the neck, back, and tail.
If you want to deploy a large flock of decoys quickly and efficiently on the water, a gang rig is the answer. A gang rig, or long line, consists of a folding anchor, a heavy, braided main line, line clips, short, three feet lengths of decoy cord, and large, heavy-duty snap swivels. The length of the main line should be tailored to the depth of the water. For shallower water, a 100-200 feet main line is recommended. For deeper water, a 200-300 feet long main line works best. The size of your folding anchor can vary with the water depth. A shallow water set-up with calmer conditions works well with a 3-4 pound folding anchor. A deep water set-up with the potential for rougher conditions will benefit from a heavier 6 pound folding anchor. To start, tie one end of the main line cord to the folding anchor. From here there are a couple of ways to build the rig. The first method, and in my opinion the easiest, uses decoy line clips. Take one of the short, 3 feet sections of decoy cord, tie one end to a decoy line clip, and tie the other end to a snap swivel. Next, attach the snap swivel to a decoy. When you are ready to hunt, simply drop the anchor, clamp a decoy line clip onto the main line, drop the decoy into the water, and attach the next decoy in the system. The second set-up uses line crimps and barrel swivels, instead of decoy line clips. After attaching the anchor, slide a line crimp onto the main line and crimp it in place where you want the first decoy to be positioned. Next, slide on a barrel swivel followed by another line crimp. Space the second line crimp about one inch away from the first one and crimp in place. The two line crimps prevent the barrel swivel from sliding up and down the main line. Repeat this process for the number of decoys you want in your gang rig. You can position your decoys as close together or as far apart as you like. A general rule of thumb is to position your decoys from 4-8 feet apart. Next, tie a short, 3 feet section of decoy cord onto each barrel swivel. Then tie the other end of each decoy cord onto a snap swivel. The rig is complete and only needs a decoy attached to each snap swivel, when it is time to hunt. Setting up gang rigs allows you to set out and retrieve a large number of decoys quickly and easily. Instead of handling several yards of line per decoy, you retrieve one short line and unclip each decoy as they are pulled onboard. Gang lines are easily stored in a bucket. This makes deployment quick and easy. The gang line feeds out as each decoy is clipped on and dropped overboard. Once all of the decoys are deployed, simply drop the folding anchor into the water. In some situations, such as precise decoy placement or without regards to wind or current direction, a second folding anchor is attached to the other end of the main line. Also, gang rigs have added benefits in high winds or heavy currents. This system reduces the angle of the main line, which increases the natural look of your decoys. With a steeper line angle, decoy movement is reduced, and decoy bounce and diving increases.
You cannot talk about decoy rigging without talking about jerk rigs, or jerk lines. We all know that natural movement attracts waterfowl, and ripples from a swimming duck are as natural as it gets. To reproduce this movement with decoys, we use a jerk rig. One pull of the cord and you can add motion and realism to an otherwise dead looking decoy spread. A jerk rig consists of a folding anchor, decoy cord, snap swivels, and bungee cord. The length of decoy cord is dictated by your distance from your decoys. A practical starting point is 100 feet of decoy cord. You can wrap the excess cord around a length of dowel rod, or other type of handle or line holder, if you need to shorten this distance, and you can tie on another section of decoy cord, if you need to extend this length. The anchor must hold the rig securely in place when you pull on the cord, and a 3-6 pound folding anchor works extremely well for this. Another anchor option for shallow water is a 4 feet length of steel rod or rebar driven into the bottom. To put it all together, start by tying the bungee cord to the anchor. Then tie one end of the decoy cord to the other end of the bungee cord. Now, you have to determine where you want your decoys positioned and attach the snap swivels. To do this, take the decoy line at each tie-in point, pinch it into a small loop, and push this small loop through the swivel. Take the small loop and pull it over the top of the swivel to the other side. Then pull on both sides of the decoy cord to tighten down the small loop and lock the swivels into place. This is a quick and easy method to add or remove decoy attachment points. You can space the remaining tie-in points wherever you prefer, but a good starting point is spacing every 3-5 feet. Another method for attach decoys to a jerk rig is using line clips and snap swivels. Slide the swivel end onto a line clip, and then you simply clamp the line clip anywhere on the jerk line that you choose. Snap the swivel onto a decoy, drop the anchor, and you are ready to make waves.
Decoy rigging is not a one-size fits all choice. Every hunter has their own preference for the system that works best for them. Since one type rigging does not cover all conditions, hunters can build a couple of different types of decoy rigging systems to fit a variety of needs. By using snap swivels, you can quickly and easily change from one type of rigging system to another. If you only hunt one type of water depth and condition, then one rigging system may be all you ever need, but for the rest of us, there are decoy rigging options to fit any situation.