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Why I Switched To The Mortician Surf Fishing Rig

My new favorite rig is the Mortician Rig. I first learned about this surf fishing rig from another surf angler. He calls himself the Mortician on a forum I frequent and he came up with this rig he calls the Mortician Rig.

My regular surf rigs are usually made with 60# fluorocarbon leader. The reason I use the heavier leader material is so I can use up to 6 ounce sinkers if needed for bigger surf conditions. Since you never know what the surf will be like until you see it, I like to have a leader that’s strong enough to handle anything from 3 ounce up to 6 ounce sinker.

In a previous post I explained that I spool my reels with 65# braid so I don’t require a separate shock leader. I never liked the way it feels when the shock leader knot goes through the last eye on the tip of my rod. The  65# braid serves as my shock leader and main line with no knot to worry about.

The problem with a 60# dropper loop rig is that you can’t down size the hooks for those surf fish that have smaller mouths. The Mortician Ring solves that problem because it will accept any size hook without sacrificing the strength of the leader.

As you’ll see in the video above it’s very easy to have a variety of hooks made up in advance on short leaders which can be swapped in or out as needed.

The smallest hook I can fit on a 60# dropper loop rig is the 2/0 Eagle Claw L197F Circle Hook. The eye on the 208412 Gamakatsu 2/0 circle hooks are just too small to get on a 60# dropper loop rig.

Sometimes when I’ve gotten several strikes but can’t seem to hook anything I like downsize my hooks to accommodate those fish with a smaller mouth. In those situations I will switch to the 1/0 Mustad 39940NP-BN Ultra Point 1X strong circle hook. The Mortician Rig makes this very easy to do and that’s why I like it so much.

The main concept of the Mortician Rig is the two figure eight knots which keep your choice of hook size in position on the leader. The only thing I do different is at each end of the Leader I tie a figure eight loop knot.

If you make the loop knot big enough at the bottom there’s no need for a snap swivel to hold the sinker. You eliminate one more piece of terminal tackle and save the cost if you should loose the rig for any reason. As you’ll see in the video it’s very simple to change sinkers by cinching the loop through the eye of your sinker.

Although it’s not necessary I like to keep my 60# fluorocarbon leaders stretched on a section of PVC pipe. They stay nice and straight for me that way and I like it better than keeping them coiled up when not in use.

My dropper loop rigs always have hooks on them because it takes time to squeeze the loops down tight enough to slip through the eye of the hook.

With the Mortician Rigs I don’t need to set them up with hooks until I’m ready to use them. I especially like the flexibility of using two different size hooks with two types of bait just to see what’s working best on that day.

I might put a piece of clam on one of hooks and some cut bait on the other hook that’s bigger. You just never know what’s out there or what you’ll attract. By using two rods each with two hook rigs it’s easy to try different baits and be able to swap hook sizes out to accommodate them.

9 Responses to Why I Switched To The Mortician Surf Fishing Rig

  • Thanks Randy, Looks good, will have to give it a go.

  • Randy it looks good have to give it a try. Thanks. Al


  • Hi
    thanks Randy great idea and simple method to tie a figure 8
    kind regards

  • Thanks Randy. I’m glad you gave good detail on tying
    those knots. I will try this rig.

  • I will try this out, great idea.

    Thanks Randy

  • A figure 8, really? I have never found this knot to hold well. My line frequently breaks at the top of the knot. I have taken to tying a bowline instead. I know it sounds ghetto, but whenever I can’t tie a Palomar knot and need a loop, I will tie a bowline. Is there some other knot you can suggest?
    Also, I always use a snap swivel to prevent line twist with the current. I can’t cast all that far, so that may be why I am getting more line twist than you, but the snap swivel is a small price to pay rather than losing my terminal tackle- especially the expensive weight.
    I am using a spinning reel rather than a bait caster. Is that why I get more line twist? I am also fishing the Pacific Ocean where it appears that you are fishing the Atlantic. 
    What do you think?

    • Huntnlady I haven’t had a problem with the figure 8 knots. The loop at the top is for a swivel. The figure 8 is easy to tie and remember but a bowline is fine. I only fish with spinning reels as well. The only thing I can add about line twist is never try to reel if a fish is taking drag. I hope this helps