Continuing on with the series on sea fishing tackle this section will deal with what are termed rigs or end tackle, the business end containing the hook or hooks and different ways of attaching them and why.
We make almost all of our own rigs so that we can customise them for specific venues / target species and, when you make you own end tackle you can be sure of the quality of the knots, hooks, swivels etc. For most of this section I will refer to the website of a company called Gemini who make the majority of bits and pieces we use and although we make our own end tackle they supply completed rigs ready to use as well as the bits needed to make them.
Where distance isn’t an issue the rigs most used are either what is called a 1 up, 1 down flapper or a 2 up flapper – see here on the Gemini website. This notation comes about from the position of the hooks in relation to the sinker or lead when the rig is anchored to the sea bed. The hooks we use are usually size 2, 1, or 1/0 in an aberdeen long shank pattern baited with worm. The smaller size 2 for flat fish such as Flounder or Dab and the large 1/0 for anything else such as dogfish, whiting, codling or even bass.
Once it becomes necessary to get more than one bait that little bit further out the ‘rigs’ need to be streamlined. For this we use 2 hook clip down rigs using the same size hooks as above. This is undoubtedly the main rig that we use in most of our fishing – especially from the beaches in the north west of the UK, North Wales and Anglesey. The rig releases the hooks on contact with the sea at which point it operates in the same way as a normal flapper rig.
For the 2 hook rigs the main ‘body’ line is 60lb breaking strain and the hook lengths are usually 15 – 25lb.
Sometimes it is necessary to get that one large bait out as far a possible and for this I use a pulley rig. The hooks sits behind the lead durng the cast but releases, as above, when the sinker hits the sea. This system is designed to lift the lead clear of snags on retrieving a fish and hence minimising tackle loss in snaggy areas but it works just as well on flat beaches as well as more demanding rocky venues.
Another variant of the this rig is the up and over pulley rig which enables a very long trace or snood (the part of the rig that holds the hook) to be used. This is especially useful where the fish (such as rays) tend to ‘sit’ on the bait before moving away as it minimises the chances of the fish being spooked by the rest of the rig. Also – as it utilises a long flowing trace, it is very effective for predatory fish that need a bit more movement in the bait before they strike.
Both the above rigs are usually armed with strong size 2/0, 3/0 or even 4/0 hooks which as well as being very strong can carry quite a large bait such as a full calamari squid.
Pulley rig bodies are usually made from 80lb line due to the line being bent over where it connects with the main ‘reel’ line. The hooks lengths are anything from 30 – 60lb depending on species being targeted.
Once the rigs are built they are individually stored and labeled in re-sealable bags (so that only those being used get wet from the sea spray) and tied with a food tie so that they don’t get tangled. We also make more than one of every type of rig we use so that once we’ve found the right rig for the venue and conditions we can have another baited up ready to go when we retrieve the one in use and a few spare for those inevitable tackle losses caused by ‘snagging’.
Next time hooks – aberdeen, semi-circle, long shank, what does it all mean!