The hopper-dropper rig is a very popular technique used across the nation to catch trout, but it is usually for the freshwater version swimming in the fast-flowing streams in the mountains.
One Georgetown guide has adopted the hopper-dropper for saltwater trout, with excellent successes.
Jeff Lattig of Living Water Guide Service specializes in saltwater fly fishing for speckled trout, redfish and flounder. He has spent hours in mountain streams and figured the hopper-dropper would work very well for his saltwater opponents. It involves a tandem rig — one lure floating and one sinking.
“I rig up a Bob’s Banger or gurgler followed by a dropper like you would trout fishing in freshwater,” Lattig said. “While it seems kind of unusual technique for saltwater fishing, bottom line, it works.”
Lattig’s rig consists of a gurgler or popper fly followed by 12 to 18 inches of leader and a small Clouser minnow or shrimp imitation fly with little weight.
For anglers who shy away from fly-casting in saltwater, Lattig will rig a hopper-dropper rig on spinning gear, with a small artificial shrimp like a D.O.A., Billy Bay or Vudu under a topwater chugger. The chugger will work just like a popping cork with the shrimp trailing behind. Also, a small baitfish imitation or grub could be tied under a topwater plug to get good results.
On days when trout are striking short on top or when the bite is slow, the dropper rig may be just too much to ignore. Lattig allows anglers to fish both topwater and a sinking or suspending lure at the same time, providing added sound and an extra set of hooks in the water. If anglers are lucky, they may end up with a fish on both the surface lure and the submersible at the same time.