My shallow-water decoys are tied with 4-foot lines and 5-ounce lead strap weights. I use heavy tarred (black) nylon line (size 48 or 60), which is very strong and will not rot. I use slipknots to tie line to decoy keels and weights. (To keep the line from unraveling and to prevent the knot from slipping, tie a simple overhand knot in both ends of the line before tying the slipknots.) I wrap the line across the decoy’s back, under the tail, and around the neck in a crisscross pattern, and then wrap the strap weight around the decoy’s neck. I prefer this system because it’s simple, and I can set out and pick up decoys in a hurry.
Though I stick with this old-school rigging system, I also like the newer combination of PVC line with a length of rubber tubing and an L-shaped lead anchor on the end. With this system, line is wrapped around the decoy’s keel, and then the rubber section is stretched until the L-shaped weight can be hooked around the keel. This system is also very quick to use and eliminates wear on the decoy’s paint.
When freelancing on rivers and lakes, I never know how deep the water will be where I want to set up, so anchor lines must be adjustable for depth. Again, I rig with heavy tarred nylon line, tying a 20-foot length to each decoy’s keel and then attaching a 12-ounce neck-ring anchor. I wrap the line around the keel and drop the anchor around the decoy’s head for transport.
When I pick a hunting spot, I check the water depth and then unwind line from the keel until I have about two feet more line than the water depth. (I unwind even more line if the wind or current is strong.) Then I twist the line to form a loop, hang the loop over the front of the decoy’s keel, and pull the line snug, taking out any slack around the keel. Now I’m ready to set the decoy.
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