March 16, 2024

How To Tie & Fish A Double Rig For Speckled Trout

If you’re on the speckled trout hot and heavy, then without a doubt the best tackle to catch a limit is the Double Rig.

But how do you know when to tie one on and where to throw it? Are there other advantages to fishing this rig that aren’t so obvious?

In this guide you’ll discover the answers to those questions as well as the easiest way to tie one. To get started, we’ll take a look at what a Double Rig is.

shad rig speckled trout

What Is A Double Rig For Speckled Trout?

The Double Rig — also known as a tandem rig or shad rig — is a single leader line with two ends, sporting two lures that catch fish two at a time.

shad rig diagram

It really is that simple, but there are other oft-overlooked advantages to this rig that most inshore anglers don’t readily recognize.

Stick with me, and I’ll reveal those to you. But, for now, let’s look at the parts needed to tie the Double Rig in the first place:

Parts You Need To Tie The Double Rig

tandem rig tackle list

Use whatever line strength works best for your scenario. Jighead weight will be determined by water movement, but 1/4 oz is a standard weight to use. Choose two different colors, one dark and one light for color experimentation.

The fishing tackle required to tie a tandem rig is pretty simple:

  • 20lb monofilament leader line
  • two ¼ oz jigheads
  • two soft plastics of your choice

Let's detail why each of the above are selected and in your best interest to utilize:

20lb Monofilament Leader Line

In this case we are using monofilament fishing line because it is cheap and durable.

Another advantage is that it stretches, which is key to keeping fish pinned, especially when there are two yanking on each other.

Fluorocarbon is largely unnecessary. Yes, it is more invisible in the water, but the Double Rig is not a finesse rig like the drop shot.

It’s meant to be really good at one thing: slinging hungry speckled trout into the boat as fast as possible.

These are fish you usually find in a feeding frenzy. Monofilament fishing line will not spook them.

After that, you really don’t want to use braid. It’s flimsy and tangles easily.

Plus, it doesn’t give at all, which makes it easier for fish to throw the hook, especially when there are two of them pulling against each other.

Two ¼ Oz Jigheads

Now, I say “¼ oz” but you can go heavier or lighter depending on your needs. It’s just generally accepted that a generic Double Rig sports two ¼ oz jigheads.

That’s because the Double Rig is used to fish shallower water or the upper part of the water column.

You really wouldn’t use it to fish deeper water. A Heavy Drop Shot could be better for that, but if you keep watching I will cover deep water applications for the Double Rig.

Lastly, using jigheads with ribs that are better at holding a soft plastic on is helpful.

When you are fishing a Double Rig you can count on catching a bunch of fish and you want your soft plastics to stay secured.

Time wasted re-adjusting torn lures is time spent not catching fish!

Two Of Your Favorite Soft Plastics

You can use whatever you want on these jigheads. There’s a million different lure manufacturers today and everybody has their vibe.

I recommend using sparkle beetles, and that’s because I really don’t feel that using specialized soft plastics like Matrix Shad is going to get you anymore bites, and that’s because you are most likely deploying this rig when you’ve already found a red-hot bite, not when fish are being finicky.

For that same reason, live bait is not necessary.

And that’s it, you can throw extra stuff like swivels and snaps in there, but I personally feel that’s unnecessary and creates more problems than it solves.

Next, let’s look at how to use these parts to tie the Double Rig:

How To Tie The Double Rig

Cut about three feet of 20lb monofilament leader line, more or less, doesn’t have to be exact.

Next, tie a figure eight on a bight somewhere in the middle of your leader line. Not dead center, but just off to either side, you want your resulting pigtails to be uneven.

figure eight on a bight for shad rig
tandem rig figure eight knot

Be certain to double check that your leader line is still longer on one side than the other. If not, then it's okay to trim to length.

Then, tie on your jigheads. Use a Palomar knot, Improved Clinch knot or whatever makes you happy.

how to tie a tandem rig

If both jigheads are the same weight, then it doesn’t matter which pigtail they are tied to.

But, if one jighead weighs more than the other one, then put that heavier one on the longer leader line.

The reason why is to minimize tangling on the cast. Heavier weight tends to lead through the air, and having that weight on the longer leader line will keep it from folding back and tangling on the main line.

And that’s it!

Now you have a Double Rig ready to rock and roll. But, before you hit the water, let me share some tips and tricks to give you confidence with this piece of tackle.

Double Rig Tips & Tricks To Help You Fish It Confidently

Most anglers look at the Double Rig and think, “Oh, that’s how you catch two fish with one cast.”

Yes, this is true. It can help you catch two at a time, but there’s a little more to it than that, so let me explain:

Taking Advantage Of A Short Bite

Sometimes it happens that you get on the fish, and the action is good, but it does not last.

We have all been there: the fishing is fast and furious and then suddenly quits.

Now, this can happen for a multitude of reasons, and we just cannot cover all of them here in this guide.

But what I can tell you is that the Double Rig allows you to take advantage of these shorter feeding windows, because you are literally catching one additional fish on each cast.

Or maybe you really do just get on a great bite that lasts all morning, in which case the Double Rig helps you catch your limit of speckled trout faster.

Which is awesome because I love running around the marsh knowing I caught my limit as I scout additional fishing spots or even try my hand at some redfish.

How To Work The Double Rig

For the most part, the double rig (or shad rig, tandem rig, whatever you like to call it) is what we hardcore artificial-only guys refer to as an "idiot bait".

That means there's no special technique to using it, you simply cast and retrieve it. 

A lot.

Not too fast, not too slow, just a steady retrieve.

Weed Through Throwbacks

The Double Rig is also good for those days when you just can’t get away from undersized fish.

This was especially the case in the wake of the Freshening.

So, on those days, throwing a Double Rig helped catch that keeper when a throwback bit first.

The Trick To Catching Two Specks At The Same Time

When you hook a speckled trout, let him “sit” in the spot. Don’t start reeling in right away!

Keep him and the double rig in the “strike zone”, where you were initially bit.

In no time at all, a second trout should be hitching a ride on the other hook, and you'll know for sure when you feel the line become noticeably heavier.

Cover More Water

Sometimes you don’t immediately find a bunch of biting fish, and that’s when you should pull out the Double Rig anyway.

It can make for a really good search bait, considering that it has twice the weight to cast longer distances.

fishing breton island with shad rig for speckled trout

Breton Island 2011. Wading around with a Double Rig was my favorite way to catch speckled trout. Today I wear more clothes and stay in the boat :)

For example, years ago I really enjoyed wade fishing the islands of Breton Sound, and I’d use a Double Rig to cover more water to find where speckled trout were holding.

It was as simple as casting and retrieving on a fan cast, while slowly wading down the beach.

Think about it:

If you can cast 10 yards farther with a double rig and make 200 casts a day, then you are covering an additional 2,000 yards of water.

If you could pick up 2,000 yards of water and pour it into a giant bucket, how many trout do you think would be inside that bucket?

Color Experimentation

Another advantage of the Double Rig is being able to easily experiment with colors.

While I personally feel that spending all day swapping out colors is usually a wasted effort, it certainly doesn’t hurt to try it on a Double Rig.

two specks caught on double rig

If fish bite one color more than the other, then you have your big obvious answer: put the winning color on the other jighead. Immediately.

This kind of color experimentation works when you are searching for fish and maybe even when you’re in the midst of a white hot bite.

light and dark colors on double rig

With that said, I recommend experimenting with two kinds of lure color: one light and one dark.

When To Use The Double Rig

I will tie on a Double Rig when I see following fish, meaning I catch one fish then see another follow it to the boat.

Or I will have one tied on already if I plan on getting into fish thick and heavy. A good example would be fishing speckled trout that are eating shrimp under diving birds.

But it's not just shrimp!

Experience has shown me that smaller "finger mullet" reside within schools of larger mullet that are normally "too big" for school trout to comfortably eat.

Casting across and retrieving through rafts of mullet with a double rig is a great way to catch speckled trout, especially during the summer.

My crew won the 2011 Wounded War Heroes Fishing Rodeo by doing this (back in the day when I used to do guided trips).

rafting mullet

Rafting mullet like these can be a good time and place to throw a tandem rig to catch speckled trout.

How To Secure The Double Rig & Look Like A Pro

A great way to look like you know what you’re doing is to secure your Double Rig properly.

You wouldn’t want to secure one jighead to a hook keeper (or, Heaven forbid, the insert of a rod guide) and leave the other one flapping about.

how to secure a tandem rig

Instead, run the jighead on the long leader under the stem of your spinning reel, bring it back up to the short leader and hook the hooks together.

Secure Double Rig 2


Now your Double Rig is secure and you look like you’ve been doing this for a long time.

How to Secure a Double Rig

Fishing The Double Rig in Deep Water

Earlier I mentioned that you typically fish a Double Rig in shallower water or the upper part of the water column.

This is true, but it is possible to fish deep with it by obnoxiously overweighting it.

In this case, half ounce and one ounce jigheads are your choice.

I’ve used these to fish fast moving water as deep as 45 feet.

Put Extras Into Ziploc Bags

While it’s tempting to tie a Double Rig out on the water, it’s really better to have it already tied onto your rod then have spares tied in Ziploc bags in case you need them in a hurry.

bagged up shad rigs

Easily Adapts To Corks

The Double Rig can be looped onto the bottom of most popping corks.

I did something similar to this when fishing birds in this fishing trip from my other channel, where I caught an easy limit of speckled trout, some of which were caught two at a time.

Recommended Rod, Reel & Fishing Line For The Double Rig

Double rigs are best thrown on spinning tackle, due to their size and bulk. 

Sure, you can use a casting rod, but you're better off using a single jig in that case.

While I do have a guide for picking the best rod (and recommend you know by heart the information detailed there), I will like to keep this simple and recommend the following:

  • 7ft medium power, moderate fast or fast action spinning rod
  • 2500-3500 sized spinning reel
  • 20-30lb braided fishing line

If you are looking for an exact make and model, then I can recommend these to you:

Note: The above list links to Amazon, where you can check for availability and pricing. These are indeed affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission to help operate this site.

Otherwise, that exact setup can be found a few times over in my boat, because that's what I fish with.

What Matters The Most On Your Next Fishing Trip

I have fished with a Double Rig for years across Louisiana’s coast, from Slidell to Venice to Vermillion Bay to Big Lake.

And I can tell you that what matters most is not the tackle itself but finding biting fish in the first place.

Yet Louisiana’s coast is a big place! Not all of it holds biting fish. So where do you look? That’s what I teach anglers inside my flagship course, Inshore Fishing 101, which is only available inside LAFB Elite.

Sign up for Devin's LAFB Elite and he will show you how to safely navigate the waters using Google Earth. He has tons of courses, webinars, etc. to teach you everything you need to know about inshore fishing. It's a wealth of knowledge for very little money!

Jason Blanchard

Avid Inshore Angler

If you guys have not enrolled in LAFB Elite then you are selling yourself short. I have been fishing all of my life but the information contained within has taken my fishing to a whole new level in a very short time. Devin will teach you the "how and why" so you can find your own spots depending on the conditions.

Not just "hey I caught fish in this or that spot before, lets try it" with no real thought about how the current conditions might impact things. I have caught 70 trout in the last four trips using the information inside LAFB Elite, which is at least double what I was catching before.

Brent Boudreaux

Military Veteran

Got your Inshore Fishing 101 program and had my first ever 2 man limit of trout by following your teachings.

Can’t wait for IF201 to be finished. In the mean time I’m going to listen to the podcast. Thanks again!!!

Richard Mackenzie

See How I Fish A Shad Rig In These YouTube Videos

Sometimes I get on a really good bite, and end up whaling on the specks with a double rig, like on these fishing trips:

Over To You

Thanks for taking time to visit my website and learn what I have to say about the Double Rig. It's a great piece of tackle that has served me well over the years!

But what do you think?

Is there a better way to tie it?

Do you have any questions or simply something to add?

If so, then please use the comments section below. 

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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  • Devin, I have found that double rigs have a tendency to tangle over the years. I still make a double rig but on a single leader – I do use fluorocarbon 20 # with the figure 8 knot up top. Then I tie ( Palomar knot) a drop shot hook mid way ( no weight) and a 1/4 to 3/8 jig head on the bottom ( app 4 foot of total leader length) . Haven’t had a tangle problem with corks. I also think that once I am in a double hook up that I am pulling both fish in a straighter line to the reel. They are not fighting one another, by reducing their leverage point on the hook set. No real statistics, just a gut feeling

  • just bought an 8 foot raft and outfitted with all I should need (45 lb. thrust trolling motor) and all necessary equipment. anxious to step up my game and start fishing the Galveston bays. Your instructions on how to rig and etc. I found extremely helpful. Like the way it was presented. Thanks podna!

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