Grouper Knocker Rig

Maria Johnson
• Monday, 14 December, 2020
• 7 min read

Trying to catch fish that swim at the bottom is a science as well as an art. That’s because many of the bottom-feeding species prefer to hide in tight cover on reefs and other submerged structures to protect themselves from predators and to ambush their prey. The Knocker is great for getting your live bait near the bottom.

rig knocker grouper snapper amberjack
(Source: www.walmart.com)


It’s a great alternative to a Dropper Rig to give the bait more freedom to swim around. The most manageable bottom rig to set up requires a circle hook, an egg sinker, and an abrasion-resistant leader material.

Knocker rigs are outfitted with sliding egg sinkers since these can drag along mud, sand, and gravel bottoms and stir up debris to attract the fish’s attention to the bait. One place in which a lighter sinker is better if you are trying to catch a species that is suspended in or right next to high-profile debris like oil rigs or kelp gardens.

In this environment, the setup will be just heavy enough to keep the fish below the surface and in the zone where the predators are. This includes a bank sinker, especially if you are fishing around rocky bottoms.

Similarly, you can also use pyramid sinkers to target bottom fish in rough surf. These have sharp tips that keep the setup at the bottom of the sand in the water column.

Bottom fish are usually aggressive, which can work against them if you have this hook on your setup. That’s because these are designed specifically to snag in the jaw hinge, ensuring a higher percentage of hookups.

rig knocker florida 9k
(Source: forums.floridasportsman.com)

It provides a straight line pull when the hook is set, which makes it ideal for this rig setup. To tie it first, run the tag end through the hook eye from the point and then create a small loop knot before bringing the tag end behind the hook shank.

However, as a severe angler and if you are angling for large fish, use live bait for this setup. That’s because it has a slim enough profile to get into isolated spots where fish like to hide from predators.

Shore fishing around pylons, bridges, piers, and rocky banks. Fishing in freshwater around piers, pylons, drop-offs and rocky formations.

Rush Malta of Odyssey Key West Sport fishing and Co-Host of the Local Knowledge fishing show is sharing his basic bottom fishing rig for grouper and snapper in his home waters as well as many of the places they travel. “It's really a simple rig, but it will catch bottom fish everywhere I go,” said Rush.

Or the anglers’ battle trying to pull the grouper up before it gets to the structure puts more pressure on the line than the weakest point can handle (typically the very top not), leaving the anglers with just a bare end of the main line and the grouper with an entire leader stuck to them… And since grouper are structure oriented, the odds of them getting stuck to the bottom due to the weight getting snagged are high which will make them easy targets to the next shark that cruises by.

grouper rigs baits fishing boat
(Source: www.thehulltruth.com)

Knowing that grouper and most other bottom fish seek comfort in structure when the feel threatened, we need to account for the fact that there will be break-offs in our decision for how we make our leader assemblies. When targeting strong fish that live in and around heavy cover, the likelihood of getting snagged on the bottom is high.

Loop not at the final connection from the leader to the hook (it allows for maximum action of bait in the water while being slightly weaker than the top snug knots like the Uni, Cinch, Palomar, etc.) It is the strongest knot that we’ve tested for this connection, and it happens to also be the thinnest which is great because it allows for the weight to slide over it to save a fish if it happens to somehow break off above the leader.

There are several ways to tie the FG knot, and the one shown in this video is the quickest and easiest that I’ve been able to find so far: The Orris knot is my preferred choice to tie to the Perfection loop because it’s extremely fast to tie and is very strong (not quite as strong as the Palomar, but it’s stronger than any Loop knot I’ve tested so it’ll not be the weakest link).

I think the weight messes with the fish on a knocker rig. I also want the fish to have a second to eat the bait without feeling the weight, a fish finder rig allows for this.

Rig up a double hook rig with smaller hooks, with just a light weight as a knocker rig (maybe 1/2-1oz of weight) A small bighead works too. Flip the bait out and let it fall on a slack line.

rig grouper
(Source: www.youtube.com)

Open the bail and raise the rod quickly and lower it quickly so it causes slack, do that about 6-7 times, then grab the slack with your free hand and feel the bait as it falls. As you hold the line, you'll feel the fish start to tap it, reel in the slack and set the hook.

It takes forever for the bait to reach bottom sometimes, but its definitely worth a try. A Spanish sardine with a snipped tail is always a good bait, or a small butterflied grunt.

Three generations go fishing The Stevens clan, including grandfather Dick of Holmes Beach, son Sean and grandsons Chase and Fischer, left, visiting from Connecticut, enjoyed several days of great fly-fishing around Anna Maria Island in December. Frequent cold fronts rolling across Florida and consistently windy conditions create some challenges for anglers around Anna Maria Island.

Casting live shrimp on a knocker rig in these areas can yield good action on catch-and-release redfish, as well as black drum, mangrove snapper and flounder for the cooler. Soft plastics on a jig head are resulting in catch-and-release spotted sea trout in these areas, as well as lady fish, jack crevasse and even pompano.

While in the Gulf of Mexico, anglers are being rewarded with many species, including mangrove snapper, dogfish, Key West grunts and sleepyhead. Lastly, fishing channel edges where rocks exist is resulting in some black sea bass and a sprinkling of mangrove snapper.

grouper question knocker rig oz fishing heavier weight current
(Source: www.thehulltruth.com)

Aaron Bowman is working ledges and hard bottom in the Gulf of Mexico at depths of 40-60 feet of water with good results for his anglers. Baiting live shrimp attracts many species, including dogfish, mangrove snapper, sleepyhead and Key West grunts.

Bowman also is finding catch-and-release spotted sea trout and lady fish around channel edges where deep grass is present. Casting live pinkish over wrecks and hard bottom areas is resulting in multiple hookups with these strong-fighting fish.

Switching to bottom fishing is yielding numerous mangrove snapper and good results on red and gag grouper. Lastly, as pure entertainment and a good workout, Stock introduces his clients to Goliath grouper.

Pier fishers using live shrimp on a bottom rig are experiencing success with targeting the finicky sleepyhead. Live crabs as bait also are working, and while the target is sleepyhead, pier anglers are hooking into some black drum and a few redfish.

Casting jigs away from the pier is yielding a mixed bag of jack crevasse, blue runners and some pompano. Fishing residential docks for catch-and-release redfish is resulting in good action for White’s sport anglers.

rig grouper snapper knocker fishing
(Source: www.youtube.com)

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1 kwkitchen.com - http://kwkitchen.com/theres-more-than-one-way-to-fry-a-fish/
2 castandspear.com - https://castandspear.com/grouper-cheeks/
3 onthegas.org - https://onthegas.org/food/grouper-cheeks
4 recipeforperfection.com - https://recipeforperfection.com/seared-grouper-cheeks-recipe/
5 www.starchefs.com - https://www.starchefs.com/cook/recipe/james-petrakis/country-fried-grouper-cheeks-sea-island-red-peas-ham-hock-charred-pearl-onions
6 www.keyingredient.com - https://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/3100365032/grouper-cheeks/
7 www.bullbuster.net - https://www.bullbuster.net/community/articles/how-to/best-recipes-on-the-web-for-cooking-black-grouper
8 www.bigoven.com - https://www.bigoven.com/recipe/mamas-grouper-cakes/248160
9 www.sizzlefish.com - https://www.sizzlefish.com/blogs/recipes-to-try/grouper-fish-tacos-recipe
10 highheelstohotwheels.com - https://highheelstohotwheels.com/2015/03/pan-seared-grouper-with-lemon-white-wine-butter-sauce/