By Wade Bourne
Anchors and line are the main ingredients in any decoy-rigging recipe. But hunters can use these components in almost endless combinations to suit their specific needs and preferences. To rig effectively, a hunter must consider type of line, style and weight of anchors, water depth, bottom content, exposure to wind and currents, and whether decoys will be picked up after each hunt or left out indefinitely.
After 45 years of waterfowl hunting in a wide range of settings, I have some definite rigging preferences based on simplicity and dependability.
For instance, I like to hunt freelance style and follow birds as they move around on their wintering grounds. I hunt backwaters during wet periods and large rivers and lakes when it’s dry or when shallow waters are frozen. As a result, my decoy spreads must be portable—carried in mesh bags and gathered up at the end of each hunt.
I keep two separate spreads of 36 decoys bagged and ready to go: one rigged for shallow waters and another for deeper rivers and lakes. All are rigged straight-line; that is, each decoy has its own line and weight.
Shallow-water hunts typically occur in soft-bottom areas where there is little wind or current. Thus, I can get by rigging with shorter lines and lighter weights.