02-17-2006 10:31 PM
The Majik Drum Rig
The Majik Drum Rig
by Capt. Owen Lupton
What is the purpose of the short leader drum rig with circle hook? That is a legitimate question some of you may have asked. In an effort to save our big red drum, so the spawning stock can increase, the Division of Marine Fisheries closed the season on taking any red drum over 27” in length a few years ago. Since there was an extensive fishery operating in Pamlico Sound on large fish over 27” it became apparent that status quo of using j-hooks and long leaders would result in killing far too many fish. DMF was also very aware of the probability of this taking place, and was considering a night time closure for drum fishing. DMF biologists reported seeing big drum floating at daylight on several occasions as a result of the use of j-hooks and long leaders. It was then that I decided there must be a better way of catching these fish without causing so much harm.
The short leader rig, or as some call it the Majik Drum Rig was the end result but it took some time to develop. There was much trial and some error in deciding length of leader, type of hook, size of hook, and even the amount of weight to use. I started the rig out with a 12-inch leader and Mustad 14/0 circle hook. We had way too many deep-hooks even using the Mustad. So I began shortening the rig an inch each trip and changed to an Eagle Claw L2022 in 10/0 size. Remember the following points:
- We're trying to reduce as many deep-hooks as possible. Every inch in additional leader length will increase by a few percentage points the number of deephooked fish. The original purpose was to get away from the long leader j hook rig which left many fish with hooks in their bellies.
- The longer the leader, the more movement a drum can have with the bait before throwing it back into the crushers. That increases the chances of deep-hooking. The short leader, and 3 inches is better than 5 inches, seems to do two things simultaneously. The first is that as soon as a drum picks up the bait, the rod will begin to double over, and second the weight, which is stationary or fixed rather than sliding, acts as a sort of stopper keeping the drum from swallowing the bait so far. By the time it gets three inches of leader and bites down on the lead sinker, the hook is in just the right position to pull around into the corner of the jaw without being down in the crushers.
- If the Pamlico Sound fishery was from shore or surf rather than an anchored boat, then leader length might not be so critical. Here we are often fishing with winds pushing the boat all over the place and keeping a tight line is next to impossible.
- In 2003, I took the rig down from 5 inches to 3 inches. The day I had chance to test it was perfect. Wind blowing about 20 knots SE, fishing from a cuddy cabin boat which was swinging on the anchor like a hula dancer made for perfect test conditions. It was impossible to keep the lines tight. We had 31 strikes, hooked and landed 30 fish, and 29 were hooked in the jaw and one hooked in the end of the tongue. It doesn't get any better than that in my book.
- We normally land all our drum in under 5 minutes which means they are pretty green and feisty. If I have some reason to take them in the boat, then I use a big landing net which gives their body equal support all around. Usually I just reach over and grab the weight in a gloved hand and then grab the drum by the lower jaw with the other gloved hand while sliding from the weight down to roll the hook out backwards. With the barbs pinched down, they come out pretty easily.
- I know that some people will think, now why can't I just increase that leader a little bit, and you can, and you'll catch just as many fish, but you will have some deep-hooked too as you go to a longer leader. I just don't want to risk killing these old fish. Some of them are as old as I am, and that's pretty old now (59).
- The rig casts like a bullet too which is an added bonus.
- The next year we switched all leader lengths to 3 inches. We caught 107 fish on this rig in September of that year, and had one deep-hooked, four hooked in the tongue and the remainder were jaw-hooked for easy release.
Please try the rig. It really does work and will save many big red drum.
NOTE from the site administrator: I am so impressed with the efforts of Capt. Owen Lupton to develop a rig that lessens deep-hooking of big red drum and facilitate successful catch and release, that I have added the Capt. Owen Drum Rig as one of the first products in our TackleMonkey.com online store. If you'd like to try them you can purchase online through our secure SSL e-store via PayPal, American Express, Mastercard, Visa or Discover.
- Capt. Owen Lupton
Replies to Article: The Majik Drum Rig
Re: The Majik Drum Rig
The line of Owen Lupton rigs are available in our Tacklemonkey.com store at this new URL:
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot
Re: The Majik Drum Rig
Whats the best way to catch puppy drum in the surf?