Bait fishing: How to make a ledger / dropper rig

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Ledger rig are so versatile!

The ledger, or dropper rig is a really good, versatile rig that can be used in deep or shallow water, from the land or on a boat. In this tutorial we'll show you how to make a ledger / dropper rig from scratch.

It’s particularly useful when you're on a boat and the water is deeper than 30m. At this depth or more it can be difficult to get strayline bait down to the fish. It’s also helpful when the current picks up (faster water flow) and you want to fish near the bottom.

Bottom fishing with a ledger rig is one of the most popular ways us Kiwis enjoy catching fish.

Ledger/dropper rig

Ledger/dropper rig

Squid bait on ledger rig

Squid bait on ledger rig

Tackle list:

To make a ledger/dropper rig you'll need the following bits of tackle:

  • Trace line (25lbs to 60lbs). Can be nylon (monofilament or mono) or fluorocarbon (fluoro). 
  • 2 x Circle or J hooks (size 4/0 up to 8/0)
  • Sinker – teardrop style between 2 – 8oz (or more if needed)
  • Swivel – to attach finished rig to the mainline. Or you can use a knot like a modified albrite).
  • Plastic bead (optional).



How to Make a Ledger Rig


Cut a length of trace (about 1.5 – 2m).

Approximately half way down make a loop the circumference size of a medium-sized plate. Position the loop so it hangs underneath.

Make a ledger / dropper

Make a loop


Hold the loop at the top where the two ends of the line cross over. Hold a side of the loop with each hand.

Using your thumbs and forefingers twist the two pieces of line around each other so that you are winding the loop around itself.

Hold the ends tightly so the twist doesn’t undo. Do this about three or four times.

How to make a ledger / dropper rig

Hold each side of loop and twist - Daiwa fishing New Zealand


Take the bottom of the loop hanging down and poke it through the gap in the middle of the line you’ve just twisted. Use your mouth/teeth/lips to pull the line through and at the same time, pull outwards with each hand (tightening the knots on each end of the loop).

Be careful not to bite into the line as this will weaken it. Lubricate the line with a bit of spit and pull your hands outwards again to further tighten the knot. There’s your first dropper.


How to make a ledger / dropper rig

Bottom of loop through middle of loop


Repeat the process for your second dropper – ensuring there’s enough line between each dropper loop so the hooks don’t catch on each other.

As a guide each dropper can be 8-10cm in length, with a gap of around 15-25cm between each.


How to make a ledger / dropper rig

First dropper loop


You can use either J hooks or circle hooks, but stick to one type for your rig. Pass the dropper through the front of the eye of the hook – the same side as the pointy end of the hook. Bring the loop around the back of the hook and pull it up over the pointy end. The hook will sit nicely and when a fish bites it will pull into the corner of the mouth.


How to make a ledger / dropper rig

Dropper through front of hook eye

How to make a ledger / dropper rig

Hook sitting the right way

Ridgeline -


Attach the sinker by either tying it on directly with a uni knot or a double overhand loop. Thread the line through the sinker, around the back and pull it up.

The double overhand loop is a handy technique to learn. It makes it easy to swap the sinker and change to another weight. Also, because it’s not a particularly strong link, the sinker will break off easily if it gets snagged on the bottom – which they often do.

How to make a ledger / dropper rig

Attach sinker


Your finished rig should be about 1-1.5m long with about 30-40cm between the last loop and the sinker. Attach your swivel with a uni knot and away you go!

This fishing rig can be used to fish from a wharf, or a drifting, or anchored boat.

Ledger/dropper rig

Ledger/dropper rig

Now you know how to make a ledger rig, cast off and catch some fish!


Strayline fishing with bait, squid