I spend hours in the shed mucking around with all our gear, trying to come up with different/better ways to catch fish. The “Alive Rig" is one of my favourite little creations and it has proven to work (a lot haven't ha ha).
It's a really fun way to fish! It's very very simple, you can make it at home before you head out on the water.
NOTE.... I believe the main reason why the Alive Rig catches fish, is because you are fishing the pilchard down the entire length of the water column, not just sending your bait plummeting to the bottom of the ocean.
Even though snappers are known as a bottom fish, I often catch snapper mid water and even higher, and these catches seem to be the bigger fish too. At the end of the day, snapper are a predator fish! So when it comes to choosing a suitable weight to make your "Alive Rig", the longer it takes to swim your pilchard to the bottom (with out being silly) the better.
Start off with a small length of braid and tie it to a suitable sinker. Then tie a 3 turn uni knot, this makes the loop you put over the hook. Then tie a couple of granny knots in the braid. The uni knot will slip a bit of line and the granny knot will stop it slipping right off.
Then leave 30mm or so and tie a bunch of knots (little handle) to make it easy to loosen the uni knot to get the rig off the hook.
When snapper fishing we use Mustard Penetrator 9/0 and Mustard Demon Circle 8/0 hooks, or bigger! No point catching undersize fish and potentially killing our future stocks.