How to Tie a Knocker Rig Setup for Bottom Fishing

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Written By Donny Karr

Donny Karr is a Tournament Angler with more than 20 years of fishing experience and a writer whose work has been featured in magazines for over a decade. He is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. He enjoys bass and crappie fishing in the lakes around the south-eastern United States. He also fishes for trout in the streams and rivers of the Appalachian mountains. Donny has written for Georgia Outdoor News, Paddling Space, Man Can Outdoors, Alabama Outdoor News, and Bassmaster.


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Knocker rigs are designed for fishing with live bait and keeping them close to the bottom.

There are plenty of different rigs you can use when it comes to saltwater fishing, but one that every angler should know and learn is the knocker rig. This rig is perfect for bottom-fishing around various types of structure where fish sometimes swim into, which risks tangling your line. 

This article will discuss the knocker rig in more detail and provide you with details about how and when you should use it for saltwater fishing. 

What is a Knocker Rig?

A knocker rig is a very simple and straightforward rig that’s often used by saltwater anglers when fishing around rocks, reefs, shipwrecks and other types of structure. It’s a rig that is typically used to catch red and gray snapper, yellowtails, flounder, and a wide variety of other game fish species that are found around coastal regions. 

To produce a knocker rig, you’ll only need a handful of tackle items. This includes a leader of roughly 5 to 10 feet of heavy monofilament line, a barrel swivel, an egg sinker and a straight shank hook. As with most other types of rigs, you can create many different variations of the knocker rig by incorporating different sized sinkers, hooks and other parts so that you might have a lighter or heavier rig. 

Knocker Rig Schematic Illustration
Knocker Rig Schematic Illustration

How to Tie a Knocker Rig? 

To tie a knocker rig, you should first decide on the length of leader you want to use. Most anglers who fish around shallow waters with the knocker rig will opt for a shorter leader that is usually about 5 feet in length, but a longer leader is better for fishing in deeper waters. Tie your barrel swivel on one end and slip your egg sinker over the other end to begin. 

Once you have the egg sinker on the line, you’ll then tie the hook on using a snell knot. The rig derives its name from the fact that the egg sinker ‘knocks’ against the hook, which produces a tapping sound as the lead sinker contacts the metal hook. 

This rig is great for fishing in virtually any type of environment when it comes to going after saltwater species. The knocker rig is also capable of adjusting to different types of current very easily as you only need to swap out the egg sinker for a heavier one when fishing in stronger current. 

How to Fish the Knocker Rig

The knocker rig is mostly designed to target fish that are close to, or at the sea floor. This rig is often used by anglers who are bottom fishing around heavy cover or down into reefs where monster grouper and snapper are known to reside. 

The knocker rig is not only used for saltwater fishing, but is sometimes used to catch various freshwater fish species like perch and crappie. The reason the knocker rig is so effective is that it manages to keep the rig’s bait on the bottom without any excess line or unnecessary parts. 

Knocker rigs are great for using with any type of live bait and the overall design of the rig manages to keep the lure very close to the bottom while your bait floats just a few inches above the bottom. It allows you to fish into the small nooks and crannies of reefs, shipwrecks and other types of structure where fish tend to hide. 


The knocker rig is ideal for beginner anglers and kids as it is very easy to learn and use. It’s a rig that helps young and novice anglers understand the importance of keeping the bait near the bottom to target fish on the seafloor or lake bottom. Experienced anglers should also incorporate the knocker rig into their fishing strategy as it is one of the best fishing rigs anyone can use with live or natural bait. 

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