Making a Flapper Rig

Three hook flapper rig for fishing for dabs

A flapper rig is a type of multi-hook setup commonly used in sea fishing. It typically consists of multiple baited hooks spaced along a line, with each hook attached to a separate leader line. The rig is designed to target various species of fish that live near the seabed.

Flapper rig

Rig Uses

The name “flapper” originates from the way the rig moves in the water, imitating the movement of swimming fish. This setup is particularly effective for catching bottom-feeding fish like cod, plaice, or flatfish. The rig’s design allows for the presentation of multiple baits simultaneously, increasing the likelihood of attracting fish in the vicinity. It is a popular choice among shore and boat anglers due to its versatility and efficiency.


Making a flapper rig body is quite simple and only requires six components to construct one. 50lb monofilament for the rig body, beads, size 2 swivels, and crimps to make the flapper anchors, a size 1/0 swivel as your connection point to your shock leader and a quick link to attach your weight.


I am going to talk through the construction of a flapper rig for fishing from the shore or the pier. Firstly cut yourself a approximately 1.5m of 50lb monofilament. I use a variety of lines but prefer Penn Tuff Stuff or Drennan’s Greased Weasel. To be honest any 50lb line will do.

50lb Shock leader Greased Weasel

Step 1

Tie on your quick change link with a blood knot.  I trim the excess back to around three millimetres and carefully melt the tag end until a small blob if formed.  The blob is there as a back up should for some strange reason the knot wasn’t quite tied tightly.

Quick link tied to fishing line

Step 2

Next slide a crimp followed by a bead then a swivel, another bead an a crimp and slide them until they touch the know of the quick change clip. Then crimp your swivel and beads in place as shown below.

Flapper rig connection

Step 3

Then repeat the same procedure to add the second flapper point approximately 30 – 40cm down the line.  To make a three hook flapper add one more connector point the same distance again.

Close up of a flapper rig hook snood

step 4

Measure approximately 16 inches from you last flapper connector and tie your size 1 swivel using a blood knot.  Once again I would recommend to melt the tag end into a blob for safety.

Swivel tied to 50lb fishing line

Hook traces

The final step is to attach your hook traces. I trust a half or full blood knot to attach my traces.  In 40 years of fishing I have never had a hook part with the line with this knot.

Hook attached to trace hook link

If it dabs then adjust your traces to smaller hooks and a lighter 15lb trace line.  If its whiting, dogfish and codling then a larger size 20lb line and a 1/0 or 2/0 may fit the bill. The world is your oyster when it comes to deciding how you want to fish your rig.

Happy fishing and tight lines!