Bait Rigging Small Fish - To Catch Larger Ones!
First,?having decided on the leader material, select a large hook, about one third the length of the bait. Use the sharp end to mark the point, exactly on the centreline of the baitfish's belly, at which the hook will emerge.
Then attach it to a baiting needle as shown, and insert the baiting needle at the point you've just marked before pushing it through and out of the mouth of the baitfish.
Next, pull the hook into the sardine?s mouth and detach the needle.
Now?remove the needle, and push the leader through the path taken by the needle, including of course through the eye of the hook.
Finally, with the bait rigging process complete, eyeball the sardine head-on. The hook and the loop must all be on the centreline in the vertical plane, or it will spin.
Hold the leader and let the bait hang down.
Check!?Is the hook pulling on the belly? If so, carefully cut a longitudinal slot at the point of entry with a sharp knife so that the hook can move freely.
If you've done the bait rigging properly, the sardine will be towed by the head loop and won?t spin. Try it, and if it does, tweak the rig until it doesn'?t - or start again.
As a final embellishment you could slide a lure - such as sea witch, trolling feather, straight runner, clone, jethead or simply an octopus skirt - down the leader so that it locates against the nose of the baitfish.
But What if Your Baitfish is a Flyingfish?
When Mary and I crossed the Atlantic on our sailboat?Alacazam, one of the first tasks at daybreak was to scour the decks for any flyingfish that had 'flown' aboard overnight.
If there were a couple of decent sized ones, then they were breakfast. Any others were destined for the trolling line.
Incidentally, flying fish can't be said to 'fly' as they don't flap their wings - but they do glide considerable distances to outmanouver their pursuers.
And to be strictly correct they don't have wings either - they're just extended pectoral fins. But we'll call them wings.
Rigging a Flyingfish for Trolling
Of course you could just cut of its wings - the pectoral fins - and rig as for a standard baitfish as described above. Alternaitively you could try this final embellishment...
- Extend its wings and hold them in position with soft rigging wire.
- Poke one end through the leading edge of a wing, secure it with a haywire twist.
- Run the wire through the head via the eye sockets and attach to the other wing in the same way.
Trolled astern, this bait will behave very much like the real thing ? sometimes submerged, at other times skipping along the surface and even taking short flights.
You shouldn?'t have long to wait ...
The Bait Rigging Tools You'll Need...
Clearly, the rig must be properly made up, so here are some tips on using your bait rigging kit. Follow these carefully and you'll soon be an expert!