How to

Multi Hook Rigs

ADDING an extra hook or rig to your line can dramatically increase your hook up rates and chances of success. In deep water, multi hook rigs when bait fishing not only increases your chances of catching multiple fish simultaneously but also provide an insurance policy giving a second or third chance if pickers gnaw away at one or two of the baits. Stinger hooks are another addition that can yield dividends when using long lures or dealing with timid fish that short strike and sheepishly pick at the tail end of your lure. Adding extra hooks strategically to any bait or lure rig increases your hook coverage and greater hook coverage generally means more fish being hooked!

Multi hook snell and ganged hooks

Once baits become significantly larger than the hook, using a multi hook rig makes sense to ensure the bait has adequate hook exposure. Adding multiple hooks can be accomplished in several ways with the most effective being the use of ganged hooks or snelling two or three hooks together. Ganged hooks come with the eye partially opened or are easily opened with side cutters allowing two or more hooks to be linked together; they are most often fished with whole pilchard baits. The tip with gangs is to ensure the top hook goes through the eye of the pilchard but more importantly that the gangs lie straight. When fishing larger dead baits or live baits, a twin hook rig comes to the fore and the most effective is a snell. I generally store my snell rigs in a zip lock bag with the leader tied to the bottom rig and the second hook plus swivel left untied. The reason for this is that I tie each rig to suit the size of bait that I am using; once out on the water and having collected all my bait for the day, I then take out the rig and snell on the second hook so that both hooks lie at the top and bottom of the bait with minimal slack leaver between.

Dropper rigs and variants

Another multi-hook rig is the ubiquitous paternoster which involves multiple hooks attached to your leader using a dropper loop knot with the sinker tied to the bottom. This rig is a classic offshore bottom fishing rig which allows the sinker to bounce along the bottom to minimise snagging. A variant of the paternoster is a dropper rig used by fly fishers with a small weight crimped to the bottom of the leader and a couple of flies above tied using a dropper loop; another variant in fly fishing involves the use of a dry fly up top and wet fly trailing below. Bream fishermen also use drop shot rigs in deep water with a straight shank hook connected to the leader using a palomar knot and a sinker tied to the bottom but rather than a sinker, I like to use another heavier jig head with a slightly larger plastic which will often pick up a better quality bream or stray flathead. When fishing extreme depths offshore, longline clips can be used to attach droppers to a heavy mainline. Longline clips provide an added benefit of being able to quickly detach a rig to hoist in each individual fish which helps avoid tangling whilst also allowing for new rigs to be quickly clipped on and redeployed if a fish chaffs the leader of if bitten off by sharks.

Stinger hooks

Stinger hooks are hooks added to a rig to increase hook coverage and prevent missing short strikes. In soft plastics, you can use wither a single or treble hook as a stinger with the hook either tied to the bend of the jig head once the plastic has been threaded onto the jig head or by tying it directly to the eyelet of the jig head if large enough. Trebles are generally easier to use as you can easily set one of the barbs into the plastic leaving two barbs exposed. Spinner baits are another lure that benefit from the use of a stinger as fish will often hit the end of the skirt and miss the hook buried within. The easiest way to add a stinger to a spinnerbait is with short 2cm length of clear tubing. Slide the tube over the stinger hook, past the eye to leave half of the tube protruding. You then take the spinnerbait hook, thread it into the tube then through the eye of the stinger and punch it through the tube. What you end up with is the tube threaded onto both the shank of the spinner bait hook and stinger with the stinger relatively stiffly rigged. A treble hook stinger is also dynamite when slow trolling baits for toothy critters like mackerel that love to snip the tail of a live bait and then double back and pick off the rest!

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