The weight of the sinkers used on rivers is a totally dependent of the current speed and type of live bait. The most common used is a casting (bell) type sinker ranging in weight sizes of 1/2-3/4-1 oz. For rivers with extreme current, bank and pyramid sinkers are rigged with weight sizes starting from 1 oz up to 8 ounces. You’re best bet is to check with the local sport shop or a local fishing guide in finding the correct type and weight for the proper set-up.
White Bass/Stripers Walleye size #4-#6 Octopus/Aberdeen Hooks/Floating Jigs size 4
Catfish size 1/0-2/0 Circle/Octopus Hooks
A three way marine brass swivel size 4
The three way rig receives its name from the main swivel used on the rig. It is also recognized as the wolf river rig. Unlike the sliding sinker bottom rig three-ways don’t slip, so you don’t feed line upon a bite, they are a fixed bottom rig mainly used on river systems to place the bait at a set distance off the bottom. The three way is used from a stationary position, anchored in a boat or from a shoreline. The bite indicator is your rod tip the key to sense a strike is to have no excess line between the three-way and the rod. River currents creates drag on the line which reduces sensitivity and control. In other words you do not want to have a bow in your line from the rod to the rig. Tighten up the line as much as possible to have a direct line from the rod to the rig. When you see a bite the tip of the rod will twitch, simply drop the rod tip towards the rig allowing it to collapse the rig back to the fish, as the slack of the line tightens, its time to set the hook using the upward sweeping motion of the rod.
- White Bass/Stripers & Walleye: 6’-6″ to 7’0″ Medium/Fast Action Spinning Rod and Reel with 10lb monofilament test line.
- Catfish: 6’-6″ to 7’-0″ Medium/Fast Action Baitcasting with 20lb to 30lb monofilament test line.
With the depth control of the three way rig some innovative anglers use this rig for a trolling presentation. Floating crank baits are a superb way to use the three way rig on rivers. They wiggle and wobble in the current, troll upstream they vibrate madly go downstream move along slightly faster than the current to make the lure wiggle, experiment to find what the fish prefer. The set-up for this is simple, instead of the hook add a snap or tie directly on a floating crank bait, free spool the line over the side of the boat until the sinker reaches the bottom, release as much for the desired length from the boat, engage your reel keeping your finger on the line. As the sinker bounces along the bottom the crank bait will ride about 20 inches above. This set-up is excellent for river walleyes and white bass.
How to Rig
- Tie the main line to one eye of the three way swivel,
- Add and tie the drop lines. One at 12 to 18 inches and the other at 24 to 36 inches to the other two eyes on the swivel.
- Tie the hook to the longer drop line (24/36″) and the sinker to the other at (12/18″)
For all knots use the Improved Clinch Knot.
If you fish in area’s with a lot of snags, reduce the drop line pound test for the sinker than the main line or hook line, this way if the sinker gets hung up, the lighter dropper line with the sinker breaks with out loosing the entire rig.