We all know hook, line and sinker, but how do you tie all together? There are two basic single-hook rigs that work with worms and minnows. Both are simple to tie and effective in any sort of water.

When fishing near the surface for bass and bluegills in lakes and ponds, a hook and a bobber are all you need. A bobber, the best strike indicator, keeps your bait off the bottom and out of the weeds. Tie on a hook first — either a No. 6 or No. 8 (the bigger the number, the smaller the hook) — using a clinch knot (see figure). Next, attach your bobber 12 to 18 inches above your hook, depending on the desired depth.

For shallow, fast-running rivers attach a couple of small sinkers to the line to allow your bait to gently tick along the bottom. A pair of split-shot pinched 12 inches or so above your hook should suffice. If your bait drifts downstream too fast, simply add more or bigger split shot or remove some weight if you find it hanging up on the bottom.

Bob Butz writes from Lake Ann. His recent book, Beast of Never, Cat of God, about a possible remnant cougar population in Michigan, is available in bookstores and on the Web. bobbutz.com